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Ohio Wesleyan University Replaces Turf at Roy Rike Field
Donors Fund Project to Improve Soccer Field, Install Heat-, Drought-Resistant Grass

August 8, 2011

Workers from Ohio-based Cygnet Turf install a new Thermal Blue Kentucky Bluegrass playing field at Ohio Wesleyan University’s Roy Rike Field. The improvements were made possible by donor gifts.
Photo by Cole Hatcher
DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University’s men’s and women’s soccer teams scored a big goal at Roy Rike Field this summer without ever stepping on the pitch.

Thanks to the generosity of Battling Bishop soccer fans, the university raised more than $60,000 to level Roy Rike Field and replace the turf with Thermal Blue Kentucky Bluegrass, a plant especially designed to thrive in hot, dry conditions. The grass also spreads quickly to repair damaged areas.

The new field was installed in June and July, with workers unspooling 4-foot-by-90-foot strips of grass like rolls of plush green carpet.

The OWU men’s and women’s soccer teams will host their home seasons on the new field, 249 Park Ave., already considered one of the Midwest’s finest university soccer facilities. Roy Rike Field was the site of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III semifinals and championship game for men in 1990 and 1998 and for women in 2001.

The new field befits one of the premier men’s soccer programs in all of NCAA Division III. Ohio Wesleyan stands atop all Division III institutions with a total of 33 NCAA Division III playoff appearances, and the Bishops’ 54 NCAA Division III playoff wins also leads the nation. Ohio Wesleyan won the NCAA Division III championship in 1998.

The Ohio Wesleyan women’s soccer team has enjoyed similar success, winning NCAA Division III championships in 2001 and 2002 and fashioning a Division III-record 60-game winning streak.

OWU men’s coach Jay Martin is the winningest active coach in college men’s soccer. His career total of 585 wins ranks third all-time in college men’s soccer. Martin was named the 2010 National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA)/Mondo Division III Great Lakes Regional Coach of the Year. He has been named Regional Coach of the Year 15 times in his 34 years at Ohio Wesleyan, and he earned NSCAA national Coach of the Year honors in 1991 and 1998.

Martin said both teams are grateful for the financial gifts to enhance Roy Rike and excited about their seasons in September.

“We haven’t had the field sodded since the early 1980s,” Martin said. “You should resod a field every 8-10 years. … This was long overdue, and we received support from people who were very kind, and we were able to get it done.”

Learn more about Battling Bishop athletics.

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Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.