Washburn welcomes renovated softball field

A proud moment: Alumni members Bill and Emilie Gahnstrom cut the ribbon on the new field. This symbolized the start of a new era of softball on Washburn's campus. 

This past Sunday the latest improvement to Washburn’s campus came in the form of a new softball field which further adds to the prestige of our university and celebrates 50 years of softball players.

The new field is now made completely of turf which will allow the players to practice and scrimmage with other teams rain or shine. The team can also play with greater ease, as the previous field was tilted and could get rather muddy during a game. Other new updates which came to the field also include new fencing, bullpens and batting cages that have been added to the new dugouts.

The new field was officially welcomed to the university in a ribbon-cutting ceremony that was preceded by a tailgate where dozens of family members of the team and alumni who contributed to the field’s update arrived to witness the first scrimmage to take place on it: Washburn vs. Cowley County Community College.

The softball players showed a great amount of pride while stepping onto the field for their first scrimmage on it last Sunday.

“The excitement of the turf means a lot to us as a team  because it’s something new and we can practice on it all-year round. I think we’re all really excited to be on it today,” said senior player Winter Henry.

“If it would have rained on our old field we would have been flooded. It’s really nice to be able to play on this field in all conditions,” said senior player Brianna Fuchs.

No small amount of effort was put into the creation of this new field either. A great amount of money had to be donated to the field in order for it to be renovated, much of it coming from Washburn alumni.

“We have a great team at the Alumni Foundation. We work closely with the athletic department and really just try to connect people that we knew had an interest in the softball program to the opportunity to really make a difference with their facility. What we ended up with was around half a million dollars in contributions and a first-class facility,” said Marshall Meek, president of the Washburn University Alumni Association and Foundation.

To conclude the ceremony, speeches were given by the head softball coach Brenda Holaday, Washburn Alumni Association and Foundation president Marshall Meek and University president Jerry Farley. They welcomed those alumni members who could be at the event on Sunday to help commemorate the completion of the new facility by inviting them onto the field.

Those donors and alumni who helped to create this new facility include Bill and Emilie Gahnstrom, Greg and Jaena Greenwood, Tom McClure, Hoyt and Laurie Moore, Mark and Sheree Yardley, Lonnie Hossfeld, the Sunderland Foundation, Cynthia Heath and James and Martha McClinton.

The honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon for the new facility was given to Bill and Emilie Gahnstrom. Without their support, the renovation of the new facility would not have been possible.

Edited by Adam White, Brianna Smith, Abbie Barth

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