HILDALE — Student athletes at Water Canyon High School will begin a new era of Wildcats sports when seasons get underway in 2022.
Nearing completion at the school in Hildale are new softball and baseball diamonds, set to host their first game action in the Spring.
Then, in the Fall, one of the largest capacity 1A football stadiums in Utah will have its first game on a new gridiron.
“This community has never had Friday Night Lights,” Water Canyon Athletic Director Launa Williams told St. George News. “And now we’re bringing it to them.”
Water Canyon High School has about 330 students after becoming a high school in 2016.
Previously, the Wildcats fielded teams in boys and girls basketball, volleyball, boys and girls wrestling (although this year it looks like they won’t have a girls wrestling team), cross country and track.
And starting next year, the Wildcats will have a softball, baseball and 11-man football team.
“It’s the first time that we’re able to offer those sports to the students up here at Water Canyon, so we’re really excited about opening up the new facilities,” Water Canyon Principal Steve Showalter said.
The new fields, in their last stages of construction, are located at the intersection of Utah Street and North Carling Street in Hildale, on the corner opposite the high school itself.
Also on the property is a new CTE (career technical education) building, with the new athletic fields behind it.
“The sports complex is part of an overall project by the (Washington County) school district,” Showalter said, adding that the CTE building offers students vocational, skill-related classes in welding, wood work, ceramics and graphic arts.
St. George News took a tour of those facilities, during which Showalter and Williams noted the impressive scenery and views offered from the fields.
The track around the new football field was completed earlier this year and has already set the scene for memories.
“We had the track completed the week we did our cross-country home meet,” Showalter said, “and they got to finish their race on the home track, which was awesome.”
The fields were sodded a month ago, so they are not in use while the new grass takes root. Also growing is the excitement about what the new fields represent.
“The kids and the community as a whole, it’s been pretty amazing to watch both sides of it take off,” Showalter said, recalling when some of the future Wildcats came in to try on football gear last week.
“The kids got to try on helmets and shoulder pads, and the kids got really excited about it,” he said. “It’s a little bit more real than us just telling them it’s going to happen. And now we have the facilities done and ready — it’s pretty incredible.”
Fundraising and growth
The 1st Annual Water Canyon High School Golf Tournament was held last week at Sky Mountain Golf Course in Hurricane.
“I think it’s turning out successful,” Williams said. “We have a full schedule of teams. It’s a good opportunity for our community to get together.”
Showalter said he hopes the golf tournament will be a trendsetter.
“It’s a really good jumping off point for our first major fundraising event we’ve done for the school,” he said. “We’d love to increase it next year and have it be larger with more of the Washington County community.”
Recent growth in the Short Creek area is reflected by growing enrollment at the high school, Showalter said, noting that roughly 40% of the students at Water Canyon live in Arizona.
“I certainly think that the increase in student enrollment helps pave the way for the addition of some of these things, as we’ve grown and continue to grow and will want to continue to grow the community as a whole,” he said. “There is a large cost in adding these things.”
Showalter and Williams said they are looking for ways to acquire used equipment for all their new sports teams. They are also hiring coaches, offering signage for sponsors and putting together schedules.
For more information, visit the school’s website.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.