Photo by Cal Athletics

New Turf At Witter Rugby Field

October 8, 2019
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BERKELEY – New, state-of-the art turf has been installed at Witter Rugby Field, replacing the previous turf that was installed in 2011 and putting California on the leading edge of field construction.
 
The project at the home of Cal rugby was completed Sept. 3, replacing a turf that had reached the end of its useful life. The new surface was provided by Shaw Sports Turf, which has also done projects with major college programs such as LSU, Arkansas and Missouri, as well as multiple NFL and Major League Baseball teams.
 
The new surface, which meets World Rugby specifications, features permanent rugby lines and markings with a script Cal logo at midfield. It includes a state-of-the-art Geofill system, an environmentally-friendly alternative infill for synthetic turf comprised of 90 percent coconut and 10 percent natural-derived, plant-based matter, rather than rubber-based fill. The coconut fibers are completely natural and biodegradable, retain moisture well to help with cooling and are bacteria-free.
 
"The previous synthetic turf at Witter Rugby Field required a new surface be put down to create a better and safer playing field for our student-athletes," Cal senior associate athletics director Josh Hummel said. "This surface will provide a top-of-the-line turf solution for our rugby program that is safe, maintainable and can support the numerous activities held on Witter Rugby Field.
 
"Witter Rugby Field's primary use is for our varsity rugby program, so to invest in an upgraded surface was our driving function," Hummel added. "Like all fields under Intercollegiate Athletics' purview and care, Witter Rugby Field is shared among the greater UC Berkeley student body and community. So a durable, safe surface for all students' recreational use is extremely important to our department."

Witter Rugby Field serves as the practice and competition facility for Cal rugby. Intramurals events have also long taken place at the facility. The Golden Bears will play their first home competition on the new turf in the spring 15s season. 

"Witter Rugby Field is a very special venue and the new surface makes it that much more special," said head coach Jack Clark. "I have never seen a synthetic field play this naturally. The field plays true and fast, with this natural cleat-in, cleat-out reaction. It's the best surface imaginable and the rugby program is grateful for the improvements."
 
Cal rugby continues its autumn 7s schedule Oct. 19-20 at the Treasure Island stop of the West Coast Collegiate 7s.

 
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