George Mason Stadium Earns STMA Soccer Field of the Year Award

Posted: December 8, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

George Mason Stadium, the home of the university’s soccer, lacrosse, and track and field programs, has been selected as the 2003 Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) Soccer Field of the Year in the College/University division. It is the second straight year a George Mason facility has been honored by STMA. Raymond H. “Hap” Spuhler Field was chosen as the 2002 Baseball Field of the Year in the same division.

Michael Sullenberger, sports turf manager at George Mason, will accept the award at the STMA Awards Banquet in San Diego, Calif., on Jan. 23, 2004. The awards banquet will be held in conjunction with the annual conference for STMA, which is a nonprofit international association of more than 2,400 sports turf professionals from schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreation and municipal facilities, and professional stadiums.

The Field of the Year Award, the highest honor STMA bestows upon a facility, is presented annually for top maintenance of natural playing surfaces and support facilities in four major sports areas: baseball, softball, football, and soccer. Entrants must supply information on the design of the facility, the uses of the facility that impact the playing surface, the organization of the maintenance program and innovative solutions used to overcome playing surface problems. Photos of specific areas of the field must be provided to document the playability and appearance of the playing surface. Each of the five judges on the Awards Committee review the entrants independently, grading them on each aspect of the criteria, and the results of their independent input determine the winning field.

According to STMA, the commitment to excellence in overall field quality, safety, playability, and appearance earned the honor for George Mason Stadium, which has been in use since 1982. George Mason Stadium was cited as a facility that produces consistently superior playing conditions despite use annually from March to November by the men’s and women’s soccer, women’s lacrosse, and men’s and women’s track and field teams. This performance held strong even during extended periods of nearly daily rainfall, which delivered record precipitation levels, and despite drainage and irrigation problems.

“The university’s commitment to excellence extends to all aspects of the athletic program, providing our staff with the resources to develop and maintain superior playing fields for our student-athletes,” says Sullenberger, who is in his fifth year as the head of the department. “Our staff’s dedication, perseverance and innovative approach to challenging conditions take our field management program to the next level.”

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