If you've ever watched a game and thought to yourself, "Man, this grass field looks amazing," you aren't alone. In fact, the SportsTurf Managers Association got together and voted on whose field looks the best and, for the 2012 season, Iowa State's Jack Trice Stadium came out on top.
“It’s always good to be recognized by your peers,” Iowa State athletics turf ground manager Tim Van Loo said in reaction to the win. “It’s also quite humbling.” As part of their prize, Van Loo and his five-man student staff will appear on the cover of an upcoming issue of SportsTurf Magazine. Not bad for a group of guys putting in yeoman's work in a thankless job.
The win marked Iowa State's second victory in the history of the award, the first coming in 1996. Dating back to 1991, the STMA has doled out the honor on a semi-annual basis since then. Northwestern took home top honors in 2011 in the first time the award was given since Virginia Tech claimed the prize in 2008. Panther Stadium at Oregon Unified School District in Oregon, Wisc., won the prize in the Schools and Parks Division.
Unfortunately for traditionalists, this is a field with dwindling competition. In the Big 12 alone, seven of the 10 schools utilize artificial surfaces.
One look at Jack Trice Stadium and it's easy to see Van Loo and his crew were deserving winners.