Westlake’s Max Caldarera Stadium will get an upgrade in time for football season.

First-year Rams head coach John Richardson said work began Friday on replacing the artificial playing surface.

He said the project is expected to be completed within two weeks. The Rams open the season at home against Tioga on Sept. 6.

“They didn’t have to do a lot of the stuff that they had to do when they converted from grass to turf,” Richardson said. “I think it will be nice.

“We are still going to have a grass practice field. (Having artificial turf) is definitely an advantage when you have rainy days, plus the time you have to spend preparing the field cutting and painting it. There is some maintenance to this field, but not as much as a grass field.”

The old surface was installed in 2008, the same year McNeese State’s Cowboy Stadium got its first artificial surface.

Richardson said new surface will feature a new color scheme. The current field alternates between two shades of green every 5 yards, but the new one will be one color with black end zones instead of orange. Also, the Ram head logo at midfield will be changed to a W, similar in style to the one the University of Wisconsin uses.

In 2016, Westlake named the stadium after former head coach Max Caldarera, who died in March of that year. The name “Max Caldarera Stadium” will appear on the turf on the northwest and southwest sidelines.

The field is also used by the band and track, baseball and softball teams as well as the Westlake recreation district youth football league.

l New coaches: St. Louis Catholic recently hired a softball coach while Hamilton Christian added volleyball and baseball coaches.

Adison Giambrone will take over the St. Louis softball program. Giambrone was a setter/defensive specialist for the McNeese State volleyball team (2014-18) and prepped at Foster High School in Richmond, Texas, where she played volleyball and softball.

Giambrone graduated from McNeese in December with a master’s degree in business administration.

Former LaGrange standout Ryant Piper will lead the Hamilton Christian baseball program. Piper played outfield for Alcorn State (2010-13).

Hamilton’s volleyball head coach will be Jennifer Barrett, who previously coached at Calvary Baptist in Shreveport.

l Hot bat: Former Kinder and Louisiana-Lafayette standout Blake Trahan showed off his power hitting last week for the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A affiliate Louisville Bats.

He hit a home run in three consecutive games in a weekend series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He had not hit a home run since Aug. 18 of last season. He’s batting .224 this season with 25 runs scored, eight doubles and 21 RBIs.

He played in 11 games for the Reds last season.

l National Rodeo Finals: Grand Lake breakaway roper Bailey Mudd came within .82 seconds of a national championship last week at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Rock Springs, Wyoming.

Mudd finished third with an aggregate time of 7.93 seconds behind champion Dallie Bastian (Neola, Utah, 7.11) and runner-up Jordi Edens (Gatesville, Texas, 7.91).

Mudd, who won the Louisiana High School Rodeo Association breakaway roping state championship in June, placed 10th in the first-go round (2.66 seconds), 14th in the second-go (2.79) and second in the short-go Saturday (2.48).

Welsh’s Coy Hebert finished 10th in saddle bronc riding with 141 points. Clayson Hutchings (Springville, Utah) won with 212 points. Hebert placed sixth in the first-go (72) and in the short-go (69).

Defending national pole bending champion Brooklyn Gunter of Sulphur finished 17th in her final high school career with an aggregate time of 67.194 seconds over three rounds.

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