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BY Todd Britton



Wildcat Stadium at the University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire - Last year, the University of New Hampshire football team extended the nation’s longest streak of consecutive NCAA Division I FCS playoff appearances to 13 straight seasons.  To be a successful team like the Wildcats takes hard work and hours and hours of practice, so to combat the unpredictable New England weather, the school chose to install a brand new synthetic turf field.

“Synthetic turf fields are critical for us to have especially being in New England. They get extensive use by our student-athletes and the local community,” said Steve Metcalf, Deputy Athletic Director at UNH.  “We expect the new turf field to provide a good, consistent, and safe playing and practice field for our student-athletes,” said Metcalf.

The new turf field is being used primarily for football, soccer and lacrosse, featuring 90,000 square feet of Shaw Sports Turf’s Spike Zone Pro System. Spike Zone Pro is the newest innovation from Shaw Sports Turf, featuring a patented manufacturing process which runs three distinct fiber types through one needle as the field is tufted.

Spike Zone Pro features a combination of monofilament fibers, slit film fibers, and a Spike Zone thatch layer.  The monofilament features Shaw’s revolutionary Bolt fiber.  Bolt is a stronger, more resilient monofilament fiber, featuring a lightning bolt shape which creates a stronger vertical axis that causes fibers to stand upright for less breakdown and increased durability.  Bolt is specifically built for performance and to reflect light for a lower luster and more natural looking field.
The slit film fiber is a high performance resin with superior durability, providing performance with a fiber that will stand the test of time.  The Spike Zone layer minimizes infill movement and migration to other areas of the field, providing extra protection against inconsistent and unsafe surfaces. 

All three fibers are run through one needle, a process no other synthetic turf company has been able to replicate.  This patented manufacturing process is extremely important in avoiding streaky fields which are created when manufacturers use three fiber types, but cannot run them all through one needle.  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.  Spike Zone Pro eliminates the problem and provides a strong, hard-wearing surface that looks great and can meet multi-sport performance requirements.

“Shaw has one the premier turf products and after reference-checking with schools that already had this product, we were convinced that it would be an excellent choice for us,” said Metcalf.

R.A.D. Sports, installer partner to Shaw and one of the most successful site contractors in New England, also played a role in bringing a quality product to UNH. “We couldn’t be more pleased to have the opportunity to contribute in the development of rebuilding UNH’s game field,” said Rob Delmonico, President of R.A.D. Sports.

Construction on the new field began in May, and was completed by during the summer.

Joe Kacevich, territory manager, said “The University of New Hampshire Football Program is one of the premier FCS Programs in the country. We are honored to partner with the University and R.A.D. Sports in bringing our cutting edge Spike Zone Pro product to Wildcat Stadium."
The Wildcats compete in the Colonial Athletic Association and are currently 4-2.  They will face Towson at home on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

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