2022 SFMA Conference Recap
Photo by John Kmitta

A look back at the 2022 SFMA Conference and Exhibition

The Sports Field Management Association (SFMA), January 17-20, 2022, in Savannah, Ga., welcomed nearly 1,700 participants – including more than 1,000 sports field management industry leaders and more than 660 exhibitors – to the Savannah Convention Center for the 2022 SFMA Conference and Exhibition. Four days of industry education, networking events and product demonstrations were highlighted by a volunteer rebuild of Mother Mathilda Beasley Park; seminar on wheels tour to The Historic Grayson Stadium, home of the Savannah Bananas; and the association rebrand reveal from STMA to SFMA (Sports Field Management Association)!

Attendees enjoyed education sessions and panels presented by renowned industry leaders. Sessions focused on turfgrass management, facility management, synthetic turf, pest control, water, industry developments, baseball and professional development.

Photo provided by SFMA

Award winners

Founders’ Awards

The prestigious Founders’ Awards, acknowledging significant contributions to the profession, were bestowed to:

  • Steve Bush CSFM, CFB, Bush Sports Turf (posthumously) – George Toma Golden Rake
  • Joshua McPherson, CSFM, St. Louis FC– Dick Ericson Award
  • Doug Schattinger, Pioneer Athletics – Harry C. Gill Award
  • Dr. Nick Christians, Iowa State University – Dr. William H. Daniel Award

Field of the Year

“Field of the Year” recipients in professional, collegiate, schools and parks categories included the following:

  • Professional Baseball – Sahlen Field, Buffalo Bisons (Buffalo, NY): Kelly Rensel, CSFM
  • Professional Soccer – Red Bull Arena, New York Red Bulls, (Harrison, NJ): Neal Sitzman
  • College and University Football – Moncrief Field at Amon Carter Stadium, Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX): Andrew Siegel
  • College and University Soccer – Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Field, Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX): Andrew Siegel
  • College and University Baseball – Dudy Noble Field, Mississippi State University (Starkville, MS): Brandon Hardin
  • College and University Softball – Rhoads Stadium, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL): Jon DeWitt, CSFM
  • College and University Sporting Grounds – Dorrance Field, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC): Casey Carrick, CSFM
  • Schools and Parks Baseball – Norbrock Stadium, City of Kamloops (Kamloops, Canada): Mike DeCicco and Shawn Cook
  • Schools and Parks Soccer – Walsh Field, Pace Academy (Mableton, GA): Daniel Prince
  • Schools and Parks Softball – Tournament Capital Ranch Slo-Pitch Field, City of Kamloops (Kamloops, Canada): Mike DeCicco and Shawn Cook
  • Schools and Parks Sporting Grounds – Donald Lambert Field, Brentsville District High School (Nokesville, VA): Drew Miller, Turfgrass Management Students

President’s Award for Leadership

The President’s Award for Leadership was presented to Andrew Miller of the Brentsville Turfgrass Management Program in memory of Ryland Harris.

SFMA Student Challenge results

Congratulations to all SFMA Student Challenge participants for their exceptional performance on the 2022 exam! The Student Challenge is presented by SAFE, Founding Partner Hunter Industries, and supporting sponsor Ewing. Seven two-year teams and 15 four-year teams competed for $5,000 awards in each division.

Winning the 4-year competition was Purdue University Team 204 (William Myrehn, Kyle Kidwell, Will Hathaway, and Nicholas Oyler). Second place was Penn State University Team 301 (Cameron Foreman, Nate Moore, Kyle Masters, and Stephen Campbell). Third place was Penn State University Team 401 (Joshua Sheneman, Eli Thompson, Zack Newsome, and William Hilderhoff).

Winning the 2-year competition was Penn State University Team 101 (Ryan Trudeau, Payton Kvistad, Nicholas Sterlace, and James Marsh). Second place was Kirkwood Community College Team 202 (Zachary Meyer, Parker Bechen, Philip Holten, Lucas Tornow). Third place was Mt. San Antonio College Team 104 (Maria Rivas, Ortwin Trujillo, Eduardo Gutierrez, and Jose Valdes).

Photo provided by SFMA

CSFM Class of 2021

Those achieving Certified Sports Field Manager status in 2021 were as follows:

  • Brian McDougal, CSFM, Port Huron Area School District
  • Michael Long, CSFM, New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
  • Zach Van Voorhees, CSFM, Town of Cary
  • Jeremy Driscoll, CSFM, St. Mark’s High School
  • Andy Ommen, CSFM, McLean County PONY Baseball
  • Jason Allen, CSFM, City of La Vista
  • Thomas Barry, CSFM, Greens Farms Academy
  • James Gore, CSFM, Championship Turf Services
  • Larry DeVito, CSFM, Minnesota Twins, Target Field
  • Michael McAfee, CSFM, Team Athletic Field Builders
  • Caleb Clements, CSFM, Blue Valley Schools

Environmental Facility Certification

Those achieving SFMA’s Environmental Facility Certification were as follows:

  • Waukegan SportsPark, Noel Brusius, CSFM
  • Hibner Soccer and Tennis Complex, Jared Hertzel
  • Oak Grove Park, Jason Beavon
  • Iowa City Soccer Complex, Colin Stuhr
  • City Park, Colin Stuhr
  • Mercer Park, Colin Stuhr
Volunteer field rebuild. Photo by Steve Trusty, Trusty & Associates.

SAFE awards two research grants

The Foundation for Safer Athletic Fields for Everyone (SAFE), SFMA’s charity, awarded two $15,000 grants to universities to conduct research that will provide safer field surfaces for athletes.

The University of Florida and the University of Tennessee are collaborating on a joint study to evaluate the playability and lower leg forces during the football season. Texas A&M University will research the impact of turfgrass species, soil moisture and mowing height on athlete performance and perceptions. Both studies will commence during 2022 and the results will be published in SportsField Management magazine. The grant was made possible by a donation to SAFE from the North Carolina SFMA.

Scholarships and Grants

The following scholarships and grants were announced during the SFMA Awards Banquet

  • Leo Goertz Membership Grant Awardee – Gregory Hatcher, City County Athletic Complex, Warsaw, Ind.
  • Gary Vanden Berg, CSFM, Internship Grant – Adam Webb, Virginia Tech University
  • Dorian Dailey Legacy Scholarships – Austin Dungey, SUNY at Albany; and Jackson Floyd, University of North Alabama
  • Dr. James Watson Undergraduate Scholarships – Julianne Kessler, Virginia Tech; and William Stipanovich, Iowa State University
  • Dr. Fred Grau Scholarship – Brian Tobin, Penn State University
  • SAFE Graduate Scholarships – Conlan Burbrink, Texas A&M University; and Tyler Carr, University of Tennessee
  • SAFE Undergraduate Scholarships – Gunnar Kale, Morningside University; and Nathaniel Moore, Penn State University
Volunteer field rebuild. Photo by Steve Trusty, Trusty & Associates.