January 21, 2019

Home-field advantage: a quick guide to the many homes of the Gorlock

Webster University

175 Edgar Road, Webster Groves, MO 63119

Because there isn’t a track on campus, Webster University’s cross-country and track and field teams use several different facilities throughout the St. Louis area.

When the teams need a track, they often run at Hixson Middle School, Maplewood-Richmond Heights High School, which charges a nominal fee, as well as Eden field and Blackburn Park during the season. Cross-country also uses the campus for practice, utilizing the pool, the gymnasium, and the quad.

Because the cross-country programs have steadily grown since their inception, space issues have become a growing concern. This year, the men’s and women’s teams have 16 runners combined.

“With the size of our team right now, space is not an issue,” said Jane McKibben, a sophomore who participates in both cross-country and track and field. “But I feel like if the program grows bigger and if we get more people, we’re going to need more space.”

Blackburn Park

Edgar Road and Florence Avenue, Webster Groves, MO 63119

Like most of the athletic teams at Webster University, the women’s softball team does not have a field of its own. They use the amenities at Blackburn Park, which is located less than one mile from Webster’s main campus.

“Blackburn is so close to campus and, for the most part, we can use it whenever we want,” said Webster Athletic Director Tom Hart.

The cost of renting Blackburn Park is $1,500 to $1,700 per year. The athletic department has made improvements to the field to meet NCAA standards—putting in new dugouts, a scoreboard and fencing.

Hart was quick to point out the advantages of not having their own field—mainly the cost of maintaining fields. Recruiting players has worked well despite the fact that the team does not technically have its own field.

“Typically recruits come to games in the spring and we don’t shy away from showing our facilities,” Hart said. “A lot goes into recruiting, having a field close by certainly helps.”

Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park

1 Soccer Park Road, Fenton, MO 63026

For more than 20 years, Webster University soccer teams have traveled to Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park for practices and home games. The men’s team has used the facility for 22 years, while the women’s team has played at the park for only 11.

Luigi Scire, the women’s soccer head coach, thinks the location is convenient for the players and home games because of the high quality of the fields.

“Because it is one of the best places to play in the Midwest, we are lucky to play there,” Scire said.

The soccer park is located approximately 10 minutes away from campus and has four natural grass playing field and two artificial turf fields. Each field has an electronic scoreboard and 12,000-plus seats surrounding all the soccer fields.

The park was built in 1982 and bought two years later by Anheuser-Busch. In 1988 Webster was granted permission to use the facility. As of last year, soccer teams are allowed to hold practices in the park.

GCS Ballpark

2301 Grizzlie Bear Blvd., Sauget, IL 62206

The skyline of St. Louis creates the background for this small independent league stadium. Although the Gateway Grizzlies play here during the summer months, the Webster University baseball team has called this stadium their spring home for eight years.

“Prior to playing baseball games at GCS stadium, the Gorloks would actually play where they currently practice — the field behind the Shrewsberry Community Center,” said Athletic Director Tom Hart.

Webster began contract agreements with the Grizzlies in 2002. When renewed, the contract allows the Gorloks to use the field over the course of three years. Furthermore, the costs to use the field are accrued by usage — $500 per use. The field is also an important recruiting asset.

“After we left Shrewsberry and went to GCS, we knew that our baseball staff had an influential tool to use while recruiting,” Hart said. “It’s one of the nicest fields in the area to compete on.”

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