Fall, spring sports seasons change due to renovations on Moss Field

Hadley Hoskins

Art by Tania Perez-Landerio

No home games, competitions, or practices will be held at Moss Field this school year because of construction at the site. As a result, fall and spring sports have seen major changes to their seasons.

The construction is due to a complete remodeling of Moss Field. It began on Aug. 21, and is expected to be completed by Aug. 1, 2024, according to activities director Jerry Collins.

Football, field hockey and lacrosse will play all home games at other locations, but the track and field teams will host no home meets.

“Last year, we thought they were already going to be doing construction, so we didn’t get to have home meets then either,” senior and member of the women’s track and field team Sarah Staab said.
Varsity football will play its home games at Kirkwood High School on Lyons Memorial Field.

“It’s definitely going to be weird, but hopefully we’ll still get some fans that come to games, so hopefully that’ll help it feel more normal,” senior and member of the football team Jackson Torbit said.

Collins said the decision to borrow Lyons Field from Kirkwood came after comparing Webster’s season with several other nearby schools.

“I actually looked at about six or seven schools around us and compared our schedules to their schedules, and Kirkwood actually matched up better than anyone else with us,” Collins said, adding, “Three of our four home games, they actually have away games, so we can play there on Friday nights.”

The fourth game is Webster’s first home game, to be played Sept. 7, a Thursday.

Field hockey will play three home games at Nerinx High School this year, a cut from other years. “Typical years, they would have half a dozen home games, so it’s certainly less,” Collins said.

Field hockey coach Patty Perkins expressed mixed feelings over the renovations. “I think it’s going to be tough on the seniors, just not to be playing any home games,” Perkins said, adding, “But I think having turf and being competitive with our opponents is going to be exciting, and it’s just the growing pains with any construction that stink.”

Collins said the location for Lacrosse’s home games has not been determined yet. “We don’t have the girls lacrosse schedule yet, that usually comes out later in the fall or early winter when we get that, and we’ll hopefully be able to find some place to have a couple of ‘home’ games somewhere else,” Collins explained.

Senior athletes expressed disappointment to be unable to play or compete on Moss Field.

“It definitely kind of sucks not to have a senior night in the place that we’ve played for our entire four years of being on the team,” Staab said.

“Obviously, we can’t have any last games at Moss… I’m kind of sad, but I’m with my team, and that’s all that matters,” senior and member of the cheer and lacrosse teams Gabbie Voelker said.

Practices have also been subject to change because of the renovations. Football practices, for instance, were moved to the upper field at Hixson Middle School. Torbit said this presents challenges for the team, especially in the event of bad weather. “If it rains, we can’t practice out there and we have to go inside, so we can’t accomplish as much,” Torbit said.

Cheer practices, while still held at Hixson Middle School, have been subject to change as well. “We can’t go and run on the field; we can’t go outside. We have to do everything inside,” Voelker said.

Most track and field practices will be moved as well. “We’ve been talking with a few other close by schools to see if we could share their track with them on some days,” Collins said. He added those who participate in throwing events, such as shot put, javelin and discus would be able to continue practicing at Hixson because those facilities are not within the construction site.

Field hockey practices continue to be held on Kopplin Field, and women’s lacrosse practices will continue to be held at Givens Elementary School in the spring.

Students and coaches agreed the new Moss Field would ultimately be beneficial- even if the renovations themselves hinder their seasons.

“[The renovations] are going to improve us a lot because so many field hockey schools are playing on turf, and we’re always a step behind them because we don’t practice or play on turf,” Perkins said.

“I think it’ll be really nice to have because we’ve been dealing with no parking, wet fields, no grass, broken tracks, broken bleachers, for a long time,” Staab said.

“I think it’s really cool for the guys coming up, that they get these cool facilities that we didn’t get to have,” Torbit said.

Moss Field has not been renovated in this capacity since it was built. The two notable updates in the last 80 years include replacing the cinder track in the 1940s, and adding stadium lights in the 1970s.

“The entire footprint, from the parking lot all the way through the stadium, is being completely replaced,” Collins said.

Updates come after the passage of Proposition S in August 2022, a $45 million bond issue intended to improve and repair aging infrastructure across the Webster Groves School District.

Updates include new home and away bleachers, an eight lane track, new home and away bleachers with coaches offices and training rooms, and a new building for concessions and bathrooms.

The field will also be replaced with an artificial turf field, which means inclement weather will no longer prevent home games. In the past, home games meant to be played on Moss Field had to be moved to other locations because the field would become muddy and hard to play on. This will not only benefit the football, field hockey, and lacrosse teams, but also the soccer teams, who Collins said would be playing some games on the new field.

Collins added there are efforts underway by the “For the W” campaign to raise money for additional features, such as a covered event space and a video screen.

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