COLUMBIA, Missouri - The Columbia College Cougars now have a new playing surface from Shaw Sports Turf and it’s the first of its kind in the nation.
The new field, in addition to being the home of the men’s and women’s soccer teams, will serve as the primary campus recreation playing surface and accommodate a number of intramurals sports and summer camps.
“Our institution can best be described as landlocked,” said Bob Burchard, Director of Athletics. “When our field was grass, we had to be very careful about usage. With the Shaw Sports Turf field, our objective has been to go from a ‘keep off the grass’ mentality to a ‘please come’ mentality.”
The new field at R. Marvin Owens Soccer Stadium also includes a perimeter which is lined as a three-lane track, increasing the number of activities for students which can take place on the field.
The new surface represents the nation’s first installation of Shaw Sports Turf’s new Legion Spike Zone system, a hybrid product, which features a combination of monofilament fibers, slit film fibers, and a Spike Zone thatch layer. Shaw’s HP+ monofilament fiber is made with a high quality resin that has a thick, diamond cross-section (no spines) to prevent premature wear such as fraying and splitting. In fact, it has not had a fiber failure to date. It excels in performance characteristics (ball roll and ball rebound) and is known for aesthetics, mirroring that of natural grass. The slit film fiber is a high performance resin that results in superior durability. It helps balance out performance with a fiber that is going to stand the test of time.
While the tall fibers provide performance and durability, the Spike Zone layer creates a matrix of protection that minimizes infill movement and reduces migration to other areas of the field. This provides an extra layer of protection against inconsistent and unsafe playing surfaces. Together, the Legion Spike Zone system creates a strong, hard-wearing surface that can withstand the demands of high usage, while providing a surface that looks great and meets multi-sport performance requirements.
All three fibers are run through one needle, a process that no other synthetic turf company has been able to replicate. This patented manufacturing process is extremely important in order to avoid streaky fields which are created when manufacturers use three fiber types, but cannot run them all through one needle at the same time. By not being able to do this, other manufacturers are forced to create alternating rows of different fiber types. Each of these fibers has a different look, so when rows are alternated, the field has a streaky look.
“We did a ton of research and looked at seven different companies,” said Burchard. “Shaw Sports Turf was the preferred surface and we were sold on the ability to have the Spike Zone thatch layer and the playability the system offers. We want a strong multi-use field, but our soccer programs are national caliber and we didn’t want to sacrifice performance. Shaw provided the best product for that.”
“We’re proud that Columbia College chose our product,” said Nate Henderson, Territory Manager with Shaw Sports Turf. “We believe it says a lot that such a great program selected us and chose to install the new Legion Spike Zone system. We know this field will contribute to their future athletic success and to the enhancement of the overall student experience at Columbia College.”
The new playing surface is complete. There will be summer camps at the facility this summer and the first soccer game will be in August.