Benedictine’s athletic fields are the best in the country, STMA says
December 7, 2010
Lisle, Illinois~ College and high school student-athletes, area youngsters and even the senior leaguers who compete on the baseball and softball fields at Benedictine University can take pride knowing that they are playing on the best fields in the country.
Benedictine's baseball and softball fields have each been designated as the "Field of the Year" in their respective divisions by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA), it was announced recently.
"The Field of the Year Award validates the intense dedication of Benedictine University Grounds Manager Peter Charcut, Fields Superintendent Kari Allen and their crew," said Kim Heck, CEO of the STMA. "Each year, we award no more than 14 Fields of the Year, so a very small percentage of our members are winners.
"Charcut, Allen and their crew are very deserving of the prestigious award," Heck added.
The STMA Field of the Year Award program recognizes fields in five categories: baseball, football, soccer, softball and sporting grounds. There are three divisions for each field type: professional, college and university, and schools and parks.
A panel of six judges independently score each entry based on playability and appearance of the playing surfaces, innovative solutions employed, effective use of budget, and the development and implementation of a comprehensive, sound agronomic program.
"Evaluating this year's applicant pool was very difficult," said Martin Kaufman, CSFM, STMA awards committee chairman. "The quality of the applicants continues to improve each year and the winners this year were truly deserving."
STMA is the not-for-profit, professional association for the men and women who manage sports fields. Its more than 2,600 members oversee sports fields and facilities at schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreational facilities, and professional sports stadiums.
Among the nine winners of the "Field of the Year" designation were Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark., the home of the 2010 Texas League champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, and Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
"This is very exciting news for our campus," said Jay L. Stuart, director of Campus Services at Benedictine University. "The grounds department, along with student support through the Office of Auxiliary Enterprises and the Athletics Department, as well as coaches all work very well together to maintain the fields during the season. They also partner in restoring the fields at the end of each season.
"During the busy season, it is not uncommon to host 10-12 games in a single weekend," Stuart added. "I am very proud of the work our team has demonstrated and am appreciative that the STMA has acknowledged the hard work, commitment and dedication of everyone associated with the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Sports Complex."
Charcut has been the grounds manager at Benedictine University for five years and has more than 35 years of horticulture experience. Allen, who earned a bachelor's degree in Turfgrass Management at Michigan State and is a Certified Sports Field Manager, has been the fields superintendent for three years. Both are employed by Sodexo, which supplies campus management services to Benedictine.
Charcut and Allen will be honored at the STMA annual awards banquet on January 14, 2011 at the Austin Convention Center and Hilton Austin in Austin, Texas.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 53 undergraduate majors, 13 graduate and four doctorate programs. Benedictine University is ranked as a Top School in the Midwest (11th in Illinois) for Master's Universities, 12th in the Midwest (and sixth in Illinois) for Racial Diversity, and eighth in Illinois for Freshmen Retention for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report.