New grass, turf fields ready for fall play

Soccer, Women’s Lacrosse to benefit from new fields

Jordan Missal

Amid all of the construction on campus, two new fields recently opened. One of the two Liberty Hall Fields is a natural grass field, while the other is made of synthetic turf field.

Both will primarily be used by the men’s and women’s Soccer teams in the fall and by the Women’s Lacrosse team in the spring.

“The natural turf field is Bermuda grass and the synthetic turf field is FieldTurf Vertex Prime, which is comprised of specially designed slit-film and high performance monofilament fibers,” Jan Hathorn, Washington and Lee’s athletic director, said.

Head Women’s Soccer Coach Neil Cunningham said he is very satisfied with the Liberty Hall Fields.

“I think having a grass field and a lighted sports-turf facility adjacent to each other will prove to be extremely beneficial to many sports teams and also the student body in general,” Cunningham said.

This preseason, the school had to shuffle various other fields into the mix for fall sports teams while the construction was being completed.

Watt Field, Wilson Field, the Field Hockey Turf Field, and the outfield of the Cap’N Dick Smith  baseball field were all used to support the teams during the construction, according to Hathorn.

Cunningham said he was pleased with the school’s efforts to help out his and other teams.

“The administration provided alternative facilities and spaces and, as you can see by our start to the season, it did not hinder us in the slightest,” Cunningham said.

The new fields are a part of the massive construction going on in the back campus, which will also include the new third-year housing and natatorium.

Not all members of the W&L athletic community have been satisfied with how the construction has worked out, however.

The W&L Minks Rugby Team has seen its home stadium, Fuge Field, be taken over by the construction of third-year housing. Team members say that the school has not been very helpful with helping accommodate them.

Worth Smith, ’16, president of the Minks, said that the rugby team has had to schedule all of its practices the day before they happen. He said that he and his teammates are frustrated that they will not be guaranteed a field on campus in the future.

“It seems unlikely we will ever get anything,” said Smith. “It’s really a shame, considering the rugby club is one of the most diverse organizations on campus.”

Smith said that his team also felt slighted that no one from the administration ever contacted any of them to acknowledge that the new third-year housing would be built primarily on Fuge Field.
“All we really want are consistent practice times, as it is a pain to be scheduling and rescheduling three days a week,” Smith said. “But that being said, we are appreciative for the work the athletic department as put in to help us over the last couple of weeks.”