The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

New season, new surface: The greener Armfield

“The (turf) addition is great for community, retention, recruiting,” said Vice President for Enrollment, Randy Doss. “All students will benefit.” The ambiance of the new and improved Armfield Athletic Center is generally a positive one.

“I like it,” said sophomore soccer player Ethan Byrd. “It changes the atmosphere of the game … playing on an always-smooth surface allows for better touches and a faster pace.”

Soccer is not the only sport that benefits from the new surface.

“I love it,” said junior football player Billy Watkins. “It makes you feel faster and gives an edge over teams who do not get the opportunity to play or practice on it.”

Forming a larger fan base is another positive aspect to the turf. With an improved stadium, students are more inclined to attend, sometimes for sports that they have never observed. Being able to play games at night gives students not only something to do, but something to be a part of.

“A lot of students have never been to a women’s lacrosse game,” said sophomore lacrosse player Sarah Bradburd. “Having people come out to the game will boost work ethic during games.”

Not only is the attendance positive for the players, but also for spectators.

“There was a great turnout with the (football) scrimmage,” said Doss. “We continue to try to create gathering places for student-athletes and non-athletes alike.”

Students that look to attend games at Armfield should become familiar with a few new differences regarding the turf. Four different colored lines were painted on the turf: Blue for women’s lacrosse, orange for men’s and women’s soccer, white for football and red for men’s lacrosse.

Athletes on the football, lacrosse and soccer teams are the only students able to use the new turf, which raises some dissatisfaction on campus.

“The turf is great for the athletes who get to use it, but what about the rest of us?” said sophomore Hadley Davis.

Non-athletes, and athletes on teams other than football, soccer and lacrosse may not be able to use the turf field, but they will benefit in other ways. Because four teams will be using the turf for practice and games, more fields will be open for use by intramural, and club sports.

From many perspectives, such as Doss’s, the benefits that come from the turf greatly outweigh the negatives. In addition to having a smoother, faster surface, and more grass fields open for Guilford’s club and intramural sports, the cost of the turf is priceless.

“The turf is a gift; no college dollars were spent on this (project),” said Doss. “This was approved in 2004 as part of a long-range plan for a “game field” by the Armfield Family Foundation.”

The process for placing the turf was a long, arduous one.

“There were many steps,” said Mike Merkel, P.E. Center facilities manager.

According to Merkel, more than 20 truckloads of dirt were taken from the complex. Gravel was then spread and leveled out before the turf was placed down in widths and then sewn. Sand was then dropped into the turf with rubber, which is made of tiny bits of recycled tire, which completed the process before the lines were painted.

The result of the long and tedious process is a 106,000-square-foot turf field – Appenzeller Field, by which even individuals in division-one sports are impressed.

The University of North Carolina’s women soccer team has used Armfield Athletic Center for the past eight years as their preseason camp. The coach, Anson Dorrance, referred to the quality of the turf this past year, as the best turf he has ever been on.

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