Reserving Practice Space Frustrates Multiple Teams

Written by Meah Copeland, Sports Editor

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  • Once a month, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center has an archery night where students can come in and have fun. The archery is held on the top levels of SRWC which is also named Garrison Gym.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The Cheerleading team practices in the lower courts of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. “I like the open space because it has just enough room for all of our mats and stuff so we’re all able to practice out pyramids,” sophomore cheerleader Jessica Farmer said.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The Mules football team practices in the Audrey J. Walton Stadium in the fall and spring.

    Photo by Meah Copealnd

  • The wrestling team uses the Lovinger Gym to practice as they do not have a facility to practice.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The Men’s and Women’s basketball teams practice in the multipurpose building and the Garrison Gym.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The Mules baseball team practices on the Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field. The Jennies softball practices on the field at the South Recreation Complex by Highway 13.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The color guard uses the Lovinger Gym to practice. They practice around the wrestling team schedule.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  • The volleyball team mostly practices in the Multipurpose Building. When the basketball games are held at the multi, the volleyball team will go to the SRWC to practice.

    Photo by Meah Copeland

  The athletic teams at the University of Central Missouri use eight different fields and gyms, yet it is hard for some teams to get a reserved space to practice because they do not have a dedicated facility.

  Assistant Athletic Director and facilities manager Scott Thomason is responsible for teams having a place to practice. Thomason also works with student workers, coaches, ground staff, event and game management. 

  Thomason determines where each team will go to practice. 

  Thomason said most of the fields are explanatory as to who goes where. Baseball practices at Crane Stadium, football practices at Walton Stadium and the South Recreation Complex are used by the soccer and softball teams. However, some athletic teams might use Garrison Gym, Lovinger Gymnasium, Multipurpose Building or the Student Recreation and Wellness Center depending on the day and availability.

  Classes are the top priority at Garrison, Lovinger and the SRWC, then student organizations and then, teams. 

  “[Beth Rutt] is so student orientated,” Thomason said. “If a student group calls her, ‘hey, we really need to come inside,’ she’ll make it work for them. She is worth her weight in gold, that’s for sure.”

  Garrison is mainly used for intramural sports Monday through Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

  Thomason explained the Lovinger gym is used nonstop. Outside of athletics, the gym is used for the Children’s Literature Festival, robotics events, Accelerated Christian Education for regional conventions, Boy’s and Girl’s State and math bowls. 

  Lovinger gym is used by cheerleading, wrestling and color guard teams. 

  Currently the wrestling, cheerleading and color guard teams do not have a practice facility. The cheerleading team uses the Multipurpose Building, Garrison or Lovinger Gym. 

  Sophomore cheerleader member Jessica Farmer and the team practices mainly in the lower courts of SRWC but other times in the multi. Farmer said it would be nice to have their own facility to practice. 

“I think it would help the team just because sometimes when UCM has events here then, you know obviously we would have to move, which is fine. But it would be nice to have this space that would be just for us where we can’t get booted out,” Farmer said. 

  The wrestling team is difficult to assign, since it is an indoor sport. If the team wanted to use the Multipurpose Building, they would have to practice either at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. 

   “I would love to get wrestling out of Lovinger Gym,” Thomason said. “Cause even if they get their own space, that’s the space we need and wrestling has their own space [to practice]. That would alleviate working and trying to make it work for everybody.”

  Interim head coach John Feeney has been a part of the wrestling team for six seasons. The team used to practice at the Police Academy for a while until the pandemic hit, when they were told to go elsewhere. The Academy wanted to use the space to train new cadets. Now the wrestling team has practice in Lovinger Gym and the Multipurpose Building. 

  Feeney said the Lovinger Gymnasium is not ideal, but the team makes it work. 

  “Some people find excuses and some people find a way, and I think that we’re just trying to find a way to make it work,” Feeney said. “We can whine and complain about it or we can just put our heads down and get to work. It’s not ideal, but it’s at least a space we get to use and practice.” 

  Fenney and the wrestling team practices to get better and someday they will gain a facility for them to practice. 

  Senior Color Guard member Sammie Bylina said the team usually practices at Lovinger Gym, East fields and the SRWC. Bylina said it depends on the day with the time and availability of a specific location to practice. 

  “It can get kind of frustrating just because it changes all the time, and we never know exactly what place we are going to have to go to,” Bylina said.

  Lovinger is being used constantly by many athletic teams and outside UCM community events.