Club sports upgrade from ‘dust bowl’ to STAR Complex

Four clubs practice in the Student Training and Recreation Complex.

Junior engineering major Ben Cozzolino reaches for the frisbee during practice on Wednesday at the STAR Complex. | JAMIE COTTRELL / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Women’s ultimate frisbee club coach William Shutt prefers for his teams to practice on grass.

But with multiple clubs using The Oval at 15th and Berks streets in past years, the grass usually became a “giant dust bowl” by the end of the season, he said.

This year, Shutt’s team and other clubs are using the new Student Training and Recreation Complex at 15th Street and Montgomery Avenue for practices. Though the frisbee team no longer practices on grass, Shutt is happy players get to use the facility.

“STAR has been very beneficial,” Shutt said. “It’s great to have a facility that we can use rain or shine.”

The STAR Complex, which opened in Fall 2017, has a rock-climbing wall, a 75-yard turf field and a 10,000-square-foot weight and cardio area. The College of Public Health also has classrooms and lecture halls in the building.

Four of Temple’s 36 club sports now have an indoor area in which to practice. On Mondays and Wednesdays, the women’s rugby team practices from 6 to 8 p.m. before the men’s ultimate frisbee team has the field for the next two hours. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, women’s ultimate frisbee practices from 6 to 8 p.m. before men’s rugby practices from 8 to 10 p.m.

Campus Recreation is unsure if the number of teams that use the complex will change in Spring 2018, said Sports Clubs Coordinator Amanda Bray.

The STAR Complex’s gym is also easily accessible for teams. The amount of free-weight space that was originally offered to students through the IBC Student Recreation Center and Temple University Fitness Center has doubled with the addition of the STAR Complex. Teams can add more activities to practices by incorporating team lifting sessions.

“The addition of STAR has helped out Temple Rugby a lot,” sophomore men’s rugby club captain Andrew Pischke said. “Not only has it given us a new field to use every Tuesday and Thursday night, but it also gives the players a new place to go lift and train.”

The opening of the STAR Complex makes it easier to schedule practices and have a more consistent practice schedule due to the number of club and intramural sports offered at Temple.

Before the STAR Complex’s construction and the opening of the Temple Sports Complex in Fall 2016, many teams practiced at either Geasey Field or The Oval. Once the Temple Sports Complex opened, clubs for sports that are also offered at the Division I level, like soccer, lacrosse and field hockey, often practiced at the fields.

All of those spaces are outdoor. The STAR Complex makes workouts less dependent on weather conditions.

“I wouldn’t say practices are easier for us to schedule, but I could definitely see it being easier on Campus Recreation,” Shutt said. “They now have another option when it comes to practice space. To have a definitive location is very nice, as we don’t have to worry about rescheduling practices if the weather doesn’t cooperate.”

The 75-yard field is a “sufficient space for each team to do drills and scrimmage,” Shutt said.

“The equipment is easy to use, and the STAR Complex is accessible to those who live in on-campus housing and those who live off campus,” Pischke said.

Having teams in the facility could increase interest in club sports, Shutt added.

“I like to think that when people come to the gym and see a team practicing in the space next to them, it helps with the exposure of the team,” Shutt said. “Maybe that person has never played the sport they are watching, but are curious enough to inquire about the team.”

The Temple News’ Editor-in-Chief Michaela Winberg is a member of the women’s ultimate frisbee club team. She had no part in the reporting of this story.

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