The smack of the football in a receiver’s hands, the percussive thud of runners’ feet on the straightaway, the roar of spectators as the tape is broken or the ball goes through the uprights: these things don’t change.
Other things do. Wesleyan athletes returning to campus this month were greeted by a sparkling new artificial turf field and track, glistening almost in Technicolor behind Freeman Athletic Center. The $1.6-million facility, funded by more than 100 generous supporters, will be home not just to track meets and everyday runners, but will serve as a practice surface for the football and other teams and a soccer pitch when Jackson Field is unplayable. It replaces a 20-plus year old track and field installed when Freeman was built.
The renovation of Andersen Track and the addition of the turf field was welcomed by Athletic Director and Football Coach Mike Whalen, who said he was “very excited,” about the new complex.
“It will only enhance the overall experience of our student athletes,” he said.
A re-dedication Andersen Track and the grand opening celebration of the new turf field was held on Sept. 21, just a few hours before the first night game in Wesleyan’s – and the NESCAC’s – history, to be played under temporary lights on Andrus Field. Andrus, the longest continually used ball field in U.S. collegiate history (and as it happens also the site of the track for many years) will still be used for regular football contests.
View photos of the track’s construction in this past Wesleyan Connection article.
View historical photos (courtesy of Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives) of Wesleyan’s track and field and football teams below: