COLUMBIA, MO -- The University of Oklahoma is the college/university winner of the NFCA/Turface Grounds Crew Field Maintenance Field award for the 2001 season, while Walter L. Sickles High School (Tampa, FL) is the 2001 National High School winner. Boston College (Northeast region), Georgia (Southeast), Louisville (Midwest), Texas (Southwest region) and Washington (Northwest region) are the 2001 regional college/university award winners.

The six-year old OU Softball Stadium is not only home to the Oklahoma Sooners, but also plays host to three state high school softball championships each fall and the state high school softball all-star games in the summer. The Sooners host two tournaments and play a 20-game home schedule at the stadium. Head coach Patty Gasso says the stadium is not as big as other stadiums, but notes that the playing surface and cosmetic surroundings make the stadium special. Kenny Gajewski is the head groundskeeper and Scott Black is also on the groundskeeping staff.

Both Walter S. Sickles High School and Lady Gryphon Softball Complex are four years old. The softball complex began with a lighted playing field, dugouts, bleachers and an automatic sprinkler system in the outfield. Improvements have been added each year, including installation of an infield sprinkler system, a batting cage area and three pitcher warm-up areas (clay). Head coach Tammy Overcash is in charge of the overall facility maintenance and daily field prep, while Mike Hopewell is in charge of Bermuda upkeep and maintenance. Assistant coaches Dennis Reddick and Robin Kopp are in charge of pregame and post-game field maintenance.

Boston College Softball Field faces many unique challenges, according to associate head coach Stephanie Fleischaker. Being close to water, geese are attracted to the field. The softball team has its own dog (Blaze) to chase the geese away. During the fall, the field doubles as a parking lot for football games, requiring the field to be re-sodded every year. And because of the parking situation, there is no fence in the off-season. The field crew erects a permanent wooden fence after every football season. The four-person field crew also deals with snow each winter to get the field ready for the teamÕs 12-game home schedule.

The Georgia Women's Athletic Complex opened February 11, 1998, and was officially dedicated April 3, 1998, in a ceremony featuring the softball team and athletics director Vince Dooley. Lights were installed during the summer of 1999. Paul "Waldo" Terrell heads a two-person full-time groundskeeping staff and a crew of six is employed on game day for coach Lu Harris' team. Along with Georgia's home schedule, the complex is used for regular-season high school games and the Georgia High School Association All-Star Games.

The Louisville softball team began play in 2000, shortly after construction of Ulmer Stadium was completed. The stadium plays host toat least 50 home games each year and was the site of the 2001 Conference USA Softball Championship. High school games and tournaments are also played at the stadium. Ulmer Stadium is part of Cardinal Park and can accommodate up to 2,200 fans. The stadium features field lighting, home and visiting bullpens, and a climate-controlled press box. State-of-the-art built-in dugouts include oak benches, as well as helmet and bat compartments. Grounds maintenance supervisor Aaron Boggs heads a field crew of four in service of Sandy Pearsall's team.

The University of Texas Red and Charline McCombs Field is a multi-million dollar facility and is five years old. Along with a full schedule of Texas softball home games, the stadium plays host to the Texas High School State Championships. Since the inception of Red and Charline McCombs Field, groundskeeper Hal McClellan has been in charge of field maintenance for UT Coach Connie Clark.

With a view of Mount Ranier and Lake Washington, Washington's Husky Softball Stadium is nine years old and can accomodate over 1,500 fans to see coach Teresa Wilson's team. The field plays host to up to 80 games annually, including Washington regular-season games, staff games and summer youth games. Groundskeeper Luther Martin is virtually a one-person show as he takes charge of the maintenance of the field. The Washington softball coaching Staff refers to Martin as more of an artist than a groundskeeper for the job he does.

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