Brand new stomping ground

Dave Wolk stadium sports a new turf to start the 2023 fall sports season.

Out with the old and in with the new has been a common theme the past few months at Castleton. With the completion of the merger, cyan and salmon colors have started to emerge around campus.  

The areas that haven’t lost the 343 Green are the athletic fields.   

In 2009, artificial turf was installed into Dave Wolk Stadium after fundraising efforts over a several year period. The turf was originally expected to last 10 years but extended its lifespan four more years due to Castleton facility’s maintenance plan.   

Tim Barrett, the newly appointed athletic director for Vermont State University at Castleton, praised their efforts.  

“Our facilities staff does a tremendous job taking care of Dave Wolk Stadium. The maintenance plan we follow for the turf is the major reason why the original turf’s lifespan was able to be exceeded.”  

The turf replacement cost about $700,000, but Barrett said it was at no expense to the university. A combination of athletic fundraising events, unrestricted gifts and gifts made to Castleton athletics allowed the university to make this project happen, he said.  

The installation began in June following the Boston Crusaders drum and bugle corps performance. The project was finished at the end of July, as planned, he said.  

Barrett praised the partnership with FieldTurf, the company that installed the turf, for providing the best playing surface for Castleton athletes.  

The vibrant colors bring a new light to the stadium and mark a new era with the Vermont State University logos in the corners of each end zone. But the Castleton Spartan and shield still stand out, patiently waiting for battle alongside our student athletes.  

Fall semester athletes got the first chance to play on the field as football, soccer and field hockey teams started their preseason camps. Breaking in the new turf, players got a feel for how it will affect their games for the future. Players talked about various changes from the older, worn-out turf.  

The feedback on the turf has been very positive, but some Spartan athletes have their worries as well.  

Sophomore football defensive end DeVaughn Miller loves it.  

“It’s much better than the turf that we were playing on last year,” he said  

Justin Brown, freshman tight end on the team, agrees.  

“It does a good job of minimizing turf burn and it’s softer on the knees compared to other fields,” he said.  

Junior field hockey midfielder Amelia Wilson talked about how it will affect the speed of her game.  

“A lot of the time, new turf significantly slows down our ball and game speed. Our new turf is thin enough that our ball speed is still pretty good,” she said.   

Senior men’s soccer goalkeeper Andy Sotos Burgos has mixed thoughts. He said the new turf is aesthetically great and will be an upgraded atmosphere for Spartan fans.   

However, it will take time to break in the new turf, he said.  

Junior women’s soccer defender Lauren Fotter agrees.  

“The amount of turf beads can be aggravating since they haven’t quite settled down yet. Every time we kick a ball, they go everywhere,” she said.  

Second year women’s soccer midfielder Devon Riggo doubles down on the statement saying she’s noticing piles of beads clumped up around the field.  

What all athletes did agree on is that the field will be beneficial for all sports teams to compete at their highest level for the foreseeable future.  

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