The new additions to STA’s campus, Coppinger track and Gray field, were officially opened at the dedication ceremony for the McDonnell Family Sports Complex March 21. At the ceremony, STA president Nan Bone stated that the complex will be beneficial for numerous sports including soccer, track, softball, lacrosse, and golf.
According to STA athletic director Mark Hough, the track and field have been beneficial mainly because it allows for more efficient practices and for numerous sports to practice at one time.
“Everyone has really benefited from [the track and field],” Hough said. “The teams can have really efficient practices. Also, those first couple of weeks, we had every spring team out there practicing at the same time.”
Senior and varsity soccer player Megan Lankford believes that the track and field are a a great addition to STA.
“The new track and field [are] amazing,” Lankford said. “It doesn’t only benefit all three of the spring sports, but all the sports can use the track for conditioning and I have heard golf can use it because of the nets.”
According to senior and varsity soccer player Katie Beirne, the field provides multiple benefits for the soccer team.
“We get to have all of our home games at St. Teresa’s instead of Rockhurst University which is great,” Beirne said. “Also, it is great to practice on a regulation field with an even surface because in the last few years we were always worried about someone getting hurt because of the holes in the other one.”
Senior and varsity soccer player Megan Lankford agrees that having a turf field is an advantage for the soccer team.
“In the past seasons we practiced on real grass then had to go play on turf for games,” Lankford said. “The two different surfaces have completely different effects on the ball. On grass you have to kick the ball harder to make it roll through the long grass. With the new field it is the same surface for both so we don’t have the five minute adjustment period.”
According to Hough, STA administration did not decide to build the complex sooner because of construction for the Windmoor Center, and financial reasons.
“Obviously everything costs money,” Hough said. “What we ran into was figuring out space and cost, but we had some people come forward that were interested in helping. Once the partnership with UMKC started, that really pushed us ahead.”
At the ceremony, Bone stated that the construction of the complex was made possible because of a partnership between STA and UMKC.
“We could not have asked for a better partner in this project,” Bone said. “We could not have accomplished it alone.”
Mayor Sly James spoke at the ceremony about how this partnership played an important role in the completion of the complex.
“Partnerships matter,” James said. “Everybody benefits. The power of working together has produced something that [STA and UMKC] can enjoy and benefit from.”
According to Hough, UMKC will utilize the track and field mainly during spring.
“[UMKC’s] season is a spring season,” Hough said. “What we’ve arranged is that it’s open for them from ten to two, mainly Monday through Friday. We’ve contacted each other so that if there are other arrangements that need to be made like a track meet, we let them know.”
According to Bone, the idea of a partnership with UMKC was suggested by the late Mr. Kevin Gray.
“It is our great privilege to name the track after [Gray] and celebrate his lasting impact on sports,” Bone said.