By Peyton Wright
On Friday, Oct. 4, 11 games into their season, the Colo- rado College women’s soccer team played their first game on the newly refurbished Stewart Field.
Stewart Field has been a part of campus since 1935, after a flood damaged the green space north of Washburn Field. P.B. Stewart, “a mining, utilities and banking magnate in the city and former Yale baseball player, donated money to turn the grounds into a baseball diamond and football practice field,” according to CC Athletics.
This year, both of CC’s athletic fields, including Stewart, were replaced with new turf in the hope of both improving the quality for players and reducing negative environmen- tal effects. The renovations, although exciting, did inter- fere with the soccer team’s season.
“We wanted to start the year off on our home field, Stew- art,” defender Camille Weaver ’21 said, “but since the field hadn’t been completed yet, the team didn’t dwell on it and was ready to start on Washburn.”
Andy Obringer, assistant athletics director for operations, emphasized just how many improvements were made to the field during the renovation. “Stewart field was installed on top of a new drainage system and a shock pad which reduces impact and fosters a safe playing envi- ronment for athletes,” Obringer said, a change which will hopefully limit player injuries.
“This should help us going forward with injuries because of the decreased severity of the hits our team takes when they fall,” goalie Molly Hiniker ’20 said.
The change to the turf will benefit the Tigers, who will be either practicing or playing on Stewart almost every day during the rest of the season.
“Not only is it more sustainable, which all of us appreci- ate, but it is also a lot softer for the players,” Hiniker said. “The impact on our bodies is so much lower than it has been in the past few years. Stewart is softer than Wash- burn because of the pad under the field … Both Washburn and Stewart are really different than the old turf because the filler is the outside part of coconuts, not recycled tires.”
According to Obringer, the turf’s Green Infill System will generate lower average temperatures than a traditional SBR rubber or sand system, which more closely resemble natural grass.
“This enhanced organic turf is designed to both maxi- mize the environmental capability and minimize the syn- thetic footprint of the new playing field,” Obringer said. The new fields are each “a fully recyclable turf system that utilizes nature to provide the comfort of meeting all the most important safety and performance criteria.”
Obringer additionally discussed the versatility of the new fields.
“We anticipate the fields being used to support all of our NCAA programs for training needs as well as club, intramural and recreational opportunities for our community at large,” Obringer said.
The next opportunities to see the new Stewart Field in action are Oct. 25 and 27, when CC men’s soccer faces Schreiner University at 4 p.m. and Trinity University at 1 p.m., respectively.