ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When the University of Michigan hosts the 2015 NCAA Field Hockey Championships, they'll be doing it on a brand new AstroTurf® pitch. Plans are underway to replace the old surface at Phyllis Ocker Field with state-of-the-art synthetic turf from the pioneers of the industry. It's all part of a new multimillion dollar project aimed at dramatically upgrading the school's field hockey facility. Along with the recently renovated fields at the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex, this marks the third time in six months that the school has elected to go with AstroTurf for its playing surface needs.
The new pitch at Ocker field will be the AstroTurf 90 product, which combines the traditional knitted nylon top cloth with a 3/8th inch Armacell pad. AstroTurf fields have long been regarded as the unequivocal standard for field hockey performance and are the favorite among coaches and players alike for their playability, durability and low maintenance. The knitted nylon surface unique to AstroTurf is preferred because it provides tight tolerances, non-directional play and a uniform surface. It's no wonder AstroTurf is recognized as the Official Artificial Surface Provider of both USA Field Hockey and the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
A brand new AstroTurf playing surface is just one element in a massive overhaul of Michigan's field hockey facility. Approved by the regents in July of last year, the designs call for the construction of a 13,000 square foot building with new locker rooms and other amenities. A 1,500 seat grandstand will be erected, as well as other features including a scoreboard and field lighting. Planned completion of the project will have it ready to open in time for the 2014 field hockey season.
Of course the buzz around campus once the field is installed is likely to revolve around the color of the pitch. The artificial turf will be blue, as in "Maize and." In addition to igniting school spirit during home games, the color scheme may give the Wolverines a distinct home field advantage should they find themselves in contention when the campus hosts the NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championships in November of 2015.
Ocker Field has accommodated postseason tournament play in the past, but this will be the site's first national championship assignment. Originally opened in 1995, the venue was dedicated in honor of Phyllis Ocker, a luminary at the university who served as a teacher, field hockey coach, and athletics administrator. Ocker Field installed its first AstroTurf playing surface in 2003, and that pitch gave well over a decade of consistent playing performance before coming up for replacement this year. That kind of durability speaks to the readiness of school officials in choosing AstroTurf once again.
Head Coach Marcia Pankratz will lead the Wolverines onto the pitch in their new home this fall. Entering her 15th season at the helm of Michigan Field Hockey, Coach Pankratz is a five time Big Ten Coach of the Year honoree including back-to-back awards in 2010 and 2011. She guided the squad that claimed the 2001 national championship for Big Blue, and she has mentored a dozen Big Ten Players of the Year and several more All-Americans during her tenure as the winningest field hockey coach in Michigan history.
For athletes and sport enthusiasts, AstroTurf has redefined the way the game is played. The company offers advanced, state-of-the-art, multi-sport and specialized synthetic turf systems with proprietary engineered technologies, leveraging the industry's first vertically integrated manufacturing system. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams and municipalities continue to select AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit www.astroturf.com.