Athletic Facilities

Improvements Made to Athletic Facilities

So Sweet A Cat Field and E. Todd Murray Track inside Kessler Stadium received new surfaces for the Field Hockey and Track and Field Programs over the summer of 2018.

According to Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., Vice President and Director of Athletics, the cost of the new field and track were combined. The funds for the projects came from the University capital project plan, which is used for projects throughout the campus.

So Sweet A Cat Field, home to the University Field Hockey team, received upgrades over the summer that were finished in time for their home-opener against Ohio University on Aug. 26. According to Monmouth Athletics, the field is a “new water-based turf.  The Field Turf Hockey Gold Synthetic Turf System, is a tufted polyethylene surface designed for the highest levels of competition.  The player-friendly product is built with a uniquely engineered polyethylene filament to allow it to retain memory and have exceptional durability.”

“[So Sweet A Cat Field] is a showcase field and allows us to attract a high level of university competitors to Monmouth,” said McNeil. “We have scheduled teams such as Villanova, Bucknell and Vermont to Monmouth. That would not have happened with the quality of the field that we have installed. The field also helped in having an invitation extended to Monmouth to compete in the America East conference, which is one of the best in the nation for field hockey. We will begin our tenure with the America East in 2019.”

“I love [the turf] so much and the difference shows,” said senior forward Kelly Hanna. “The old turf had so many bumps and just was getting old. My fellow seniors and I are lucky to play on the new turf for our last year here.”

“The turf works so well with what we want to do for our program,” said Head Coach Carli Figlio. “With our transition to the American East next year and playing big opponents like Villanova and others, the turf allows us to host these teams and it will be a focal point moving forward.”

The university is also looking to upgrade the field’s scoreboard. The project is currently asking for $30,000, which is being raised by fundraising. According to McNeil, $10,000 of the $30,000 is currently raised since the spring of 2018 when the fundraising started. Work on the new scoreboard will begin once the funds are fully raised.

The new navy blue track encircles the football field at Kessler Stadium. The old track, which was installed in 2001, was replaced due to poor condition in “many areas” with “little” of the track in good condition, according to McNeil. It was replaced with Beynon’s Sports BSS-1000 13mm Embedded, International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Certified Blue Polyurethane Synthetic Track surface. The same type of track has been used at colleges like Bucknell, Texas A&M, and Lehigh, according to Beynon’s website.

Senior track and field sprinter Bryan Sosoo, already likes the new track before the season has started. “I love the track. The color scheme that was chosen fits perfectly. I think the new track comes with the whole ‘look good, feel good, do good’ saying and it will show with records that will be broken this year and wins that we will have at various opportunities this year at home. I think my favorite parts are the dual runways as well as the straight-aways that allow us to race either direction depending on wind.”

Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Head Coach Joe Compagni said, “We are very excited about the new outdoor track and runways. The new track gives us a first-class facility that is shock absorbent and provides great energy return with every step. For the track & field team, for all the athletes, and for the Monmouth community overall, this is a great addition to campus.”

“It is a beautiful track that meets the needs of our 150 track and field student-athletes, plus the rest of our 500 student-athletes who use it for much of their conditioning,” McNeil said.  “It is also used by the general student body, the community, and our physical education students.  It has a myriad of users and uses.  The beautiful new navy blue surface really adds to the whole stadium project and is the capstone effort for that part of the athletics facilities upgrades.”

Track and Field will open up their season on the new track on March 29-30 and Monmouth will host the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Championships on May 4-5.

PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Athletics