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Northwest Missouri State University


Faculty/Staff Spotlight

Bearcat Pitch, the home field of the Northwest Missouri women’s soccer program, has been named a 2013 Fields of Excellence® award winner by Pioneer Athletics in recognition of the athletics ground crew's work to maintain the field.

Bearcat Pitch, the home field of the Northwest Missouri women’s soccer program, has been named a 2013 Fields of Excellence® award winner by Pioneer Athletics in recognition of the athletics ground crew's work to maintain the field.

Feb. 19, 2014

Bearcat soccer field, athletics grounds crew receive national award

The athletics grounds crew painted a pink Bearcat paw on the soccer field for the team's Kickin' for a Cure game in October.

The athletics grounds crew painted a pink Bearcat paw on the soccer field for the team's Kickin' for a Cure game in October.

Bearcat Pitch, the home field of the Northwest Missouri State University women’s soccer program, has been named by Pioneer Athletics as one of its 2013 Fields of Excellence® award winners in recognition of the field’s maintenance program and presentation.

Bearcat Pitch is one of 82 playing fields, selected from a pool of 230 applicants, to receive the award. In addition to a certificate, Northwest will receive a banner to display at the field.

“Pioneer understands that excellence in athletic field maintenance goes unrecognized and often, unappreciated,” Pioneer states on its website. “The Fields of Excellence® award program honors outstanding athletic fields and the hard-working field crews who diligently maintain them.”

Bearcat Pitch is one of 11 playing surfaces maintained by Northwest Landscape Services along with other nonplaying areas, totaling about 100 acres. In addition to maintaining the fields, staff members make stencils for logos that are painted onto the fields.

Athletic Grounds Supervisor Bob Ebrecht leads the team responsible for maintaining Bearcat Pitch, which consisted of sports field groundskeepers Danton Green and T.J. Allen and Landscape Zone Supervisor Daniel Smith as well as five part-time student workers during the 2013 season.

The crew keeps the field in top playing condition by mowing it two to three times a week, often producing patterns in the grass, and incorporating a reel mower in its process to ensure straight lines. Additionally, the grounds crew often seeds the playing area in front of the goals during the season, allowing players to stomp the seed into the soil as they use the field.

The crew also mixes Primo plant growth regulator with its field paint to increase the paint’s lifespan and limit grass growth in painted areas. A highlight of the field’s presentation last fall included the soccer program’s Kickin' for a Cure game in October, for which the grounds crew painted a pink Bearcat paw on the field.

“Our soccer field receives a lot of use because it is the game field and practice field for our varsity soccer team,” Ebrecht said. “The field also hosts multiple soccer camps during the hot summer months of June, July and August. Working with college sports teams requires good communication between our staff and the coaches, and our staff and our managers. Our crew is deserving of this national award because of their hard work, dedication to success and their attention to detail, and that helps make our field one of the best in NCAA Division II.”

The Fields of Excellence® award program was established in 1998, and award winners include playing fields maintained by colleges and universities as well as K-12 school districts and cities throughout the country.

Northwest previously received the award in 2006 for its management of the turf at Bearcat Stadium.

For more information about the Fields of Excellence® award program and to view other winners, click here.


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468