Artificial city

Top 10 Sports Stories: No. 7 – City wins two artificial turf pitches | Preparation sports

PIERRE JACKEL

It’s been a long time coming, but Racine has finally bridged the gap with surrounding communities when it comes to sports venues with artificial surfaces.

Pritchard Park and a renovated Horlick Field were unveiled under the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and they were both worth the wait. Finally, the days when football players tried to play on beaten pitches had been pushed into the past.

Among the top 10 articles selected by the sports staff of The Journal Times, Racine’s two artificial turf fields were voted # 7. Articles were chosen based on the value of the news and its impact on the community.

Even Racine Raiders coach Wilbert Kennedy, a self-proclaimed traditionalist who prefers the charm of muddy games on rainy nights, admitted to seeing some appeal in Horlick Field’s new artificial turf.

When the Raiders were first allowed to train at Horlick Field last May, Kennedy said, “The guys loved it. They were flying and having fun.

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“I’m not a fan of it, I never will be, but the ground is magnificent and the players were in love with it. They are excited to play it on Saturday night.

It was time. In recent seasons, the St. Catherine’s and Racine Lutheran football teams had moved their home playoff games to Union Grove, Kenosha Bradford or Kenosha Indian Trail. The intention was to play on a fast track rather than Horlick Field, where the turf was almost always battered after a season of heavy use.

In fact, when Racine Lutheran running back Tyler Tenner became the state’s all-time best rusher in a playoff game against Cambridge on November 1, 2019, he didn’t accomplish his feat in the limits of the town of Racine. Instead, the milestone arrived 15 miles west in Union Grove.

The improvement at Horlick Field extended to the baseball field, which received an artificial turf infield with a state-of-the-art drainage system. Gone are the days when heavy rains could delay a baseball or softball game by a few days.

The roughly $ 2 million price tag for Horlick Field was worth it, as it put Racine in tune with other surrounding towns.

But the real jewel in the crown of Racine’s new sports venues might be Pritchard Park, located just east of the Regency Mall.

Made possible by a $ 6 million partnership between Racine County and the Racine Unified School District, as well as a $ 250,000 grant from the NFL Foundation Grassroots program, Pritchard Park is something to see.

Features include a top-loading bleacher system with a capacity of 2,000 people, raised seating, ticket kiosks, concessions, a press stand, instrument panel, lighting system and of his.

The field has been designed to host football, soccer, lacrosse and a variety of community events.

And it serves other communities, just like sports venues in other communities once served Racine. When the UW-Parkside men’s soccer team hosted Fort Hayes State in the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament on November 21, the game was played at Pritchard Park.

Pritchard Park sets up a unique system for the three football programs of Racine public schools. Park will now be able to call Pritchard Park his home ground, just as Horlick Field will be owned by Horlick and Hammes Field in Case. The Hammes pitch, incidentally, should also be renovated with artificial turf.

“Pritchard Park is a game-changer for Racine Unified student-athletes, especially our Park High School soccer players who will finally have a home pitch,” RUSD Superintendent Dr Eric Gallien said during the official opening of the site on April 23. “We” I am proud of this collaboration with the County of Racine and I look forward to the many opportunities that this new facility will offer not only to our students, but to the entire community.