Turf: Mundelein celebrates unveiling of new field turf
Mundelein High School showcased its new artificial turf football field and track in 2012. | Joe Cyganowski ~ For Sun Times Media
Updated: August 27, 2012 8:08PM
The date of Aug. 27 was marked on the Mundelein High School calendar months ago.
Beyond being the first day of the school year, there was anticipation of a new beginning for Mustangs’ athletics — including a synthetic turf field.
New turf was on the wish list for nearly 10 years. Work started on the field in the spring, and Mundelein is unveiling its new $1.67 million field turf — with a new drainage system, a new track and a new LED display scoreboard.
“For years, our soccer program had to train at a local junior high school (Carl Sandburg), and it is tough to get better on a field that has dirt and pot holes,” Mustangs boys soccer coach Ernie Billittier said. “Due to the condition of our field in the past, I know it was an unfortunate factor in the games played for both teams.”
But that’s all in the past. The field turf, and track, also will impact lacrosse, boys and girls track in the spring. Even the boys and girls cross country teams can be seen practicing on the track.
“There is definitely an increased excitement with our student-athletes and coaches,” Billittier said. “Everyone is excited to use the new field, as well as the track. Throughout the summer, our soccer team was around the football, track and lacrosse teams, and you can really feel a sense of pride in the new stadium.”
The football team will open its home season on Friday, hosting defending IHSA Class 6A state champion Prairie Ridge under the tutelage of new coach George Kaider.
“Beautiful facility. Highest quality turf, new scoreboard, track. The place invites kids to want to work hard and practice,” Kaider, former head coach at Richmond-Burton and defensive coordinator at McHenry, said. “We can have smooth practices without having to deal with all of the grass and mud. A fluidity that won’t be affected by the weather.”
All levels will be affected by the upgrades.
“We’ll get to move a lot of the freshman games for football out here,” Mundelein athletic director Perry Wilhelm said. “They were playing on a baseball field that had a rock hard infield.”
The prospects of playing on a new field certainly has caused a buzz.
“You can see it,” Wilhelm said. “The number of kids that have been working hard since the offseason has been incredible.”
All Mundelein students will be able to experience the turf in physical education classes, as well as the marching band, and cheerleader and dance practices.
“The past couple of years, we were playing on concrete — it was so hard,” Mustangs senior defensive back Jared Prejna said. “The guys love it now. It gives us extra confidence, and a boost. We’re actually playing on a real field.”~