Latrobe Memorial stadium expected to be ready for Wildcats' season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Twenty-four days before Latrobe opens its football season against the perennially-powerful defending conference champion Gateway Gators, the Wildcats need not fret about missing out on home-field advantage in their hopes for an upset.
“Oh, yeah, the field will be fine,” Greater Latrobe athletic director Mark Mears said of the Latrobe Memorial Stadium natural turf. “It's just a matter of the grass continuing to regrow and strengthen, but the field will be fine for the Latrobe football season.”
Mears was speaking Friday morning. The annual Steelers training camp “Friday Night Lights” practice at Latrobe Memorial Stadium originally scheduled for late that evening was canceled because of disease to the turf.
The turf, said to have been affected by either pythium blight or gray leaf spot, has been receiving treatment.
“We were close to being fine for tonight,” Mears said Friday morning.
“We had to kill disease that had killed some grass, and the new grass hadn't gotten strong enough yet,” Mears said. “We had make sure the footing was perfect when you're talking about NFL players, so we didn't want to take a chance. But the bottom line is that by the time we get to (Latrobe) game week, we'll be fine.”
Latrobe is scheduled to host Gateway Aug. 30.
“Absolutely, we'll be ready,” district director of facilities and operations Ken Millslagle said. “We were treating it all along but with all the wet weather after it had been extremely hot, it took a toll.
“If you drive by, you wouldn't even know it was an issue, but when you go on the field — we're talking about professional football players here. We don't want anybody getting hurt at what is supposed to be a fun event. But from the standpoint of the high school, there's no reason it won't be all ready in time for our season.”
High school camps are permitted to open this week with heat-acclimatization workouts, per PIAA rules. But Latrobe doesn't use its stadium for practices.
Future issues with the field could be alleviated because the district is in the process of building a new sports facility at the high school that will be used for other sports besides football and track. Although weather — and not overuse — is the apparent cause for the current issues, having additional fields figures to help the district avoid similar situations in the future.
In a press release, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the team “looks forward to returning to Latrobe Memorial Stadium next year.” Mears echoed that sentiment.
“I firmly believe it'll be back next year,” Mears said.
“The Steelers doing this is an unbelievable relationship with Latrobe. We certainly appreciate all they do to for the town.”
The district charges admission for the annual practice (it was free when moved to St. Vincent College this year), and Mears estimated the money generated to be between $20,000-25,000. But he stressed that neither the district nor its athletic department budgets for that revenue and that it is more of a bonus for the school.
Chris Adamski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Insider: Lapierre’s play is improved
- Minnesota tight end Williams hopes to join father as 1st-round pick
- Cole overcomes rough start as Pirates sweep Brewers
- For Penguins penalty kill, enough is enough
- Quarterback Tebow expected to sign with Eagles
- Outdoors notebook: Hunters Sharing the Harvest has big year
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Pirates notebook: GM sticking to plan with Kang
- Pitt football notebook: ‘No. 1 safety’ Mitchell asked to step up
- Penn State notebook: Offensive line is work in progress