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UMBC's upgrade passes second phase


The second piece of UMBC's facility renovation plan is in place.

The university just completed its stadium track/artificial surface project at a cost of approximately $2.3 million.

The new 400-meter track is an ISS 2000 surface, the same used in New Orleans for the 1992 U.S. Olympic trials. It features eight 42-inch lanes and areas for all field events, including a hammer and discus cage, which will come in handy as UMBC plays host to this spring's Big South Conference Track and Field Championships.

UMBC also replaced the stadium's grass field with 90,000 square feet of polypropylene Deso-Turf from the Netherlands. The turf is lined for men's and women's soccer and lacrosse, and can be lined for field hockey and football.

The first step of the $8.5 million renovation plan was the construction of an outdoor pool complex, a 50-meter aquatic facility that opened on Aug. 31. A practice field for varsity sports also has been added.

Among the other changes to come is a grass-surface mini-stadium for soccer, complete with automatic sprinkler system, dugouts, scoreboard and bleachers, which should be ready by the summer. There also will be permanent seating and other modifications to UMBC's baseball facility, to be renamed Alumni Stadium, additional tennis courts and an expansion of UMBC Fieldhouse that will more than double its size and include a multi-purpose practice gym, a separate weight room for non-athletes, a main-entrance lobby and elevators.

"When I came here seven years ago, my assessment was this is a growing university and we needed additional space for all our programs. We needed an upgrade across the board," said athletic director Charlie Brown.

"It took me about a year to see what our biggest needs were. Part of the plan was we needed a track; we had a track team and no track. The first day that we got permission to practice on it, the young ladies on our women's team bent down and kissed the track. That's how excited they were about it."

UMBC considers football

Is there football in UMBC's future?

The university's stadium grass field has been replaced by an artificial surface that can be lined for football and has inserts for goal posts. The scoreboard is equipped for it. And the Retrievers are joining the Northeast Conference in 1998, which began Division I-AA nonscholarship play this year.

"The athletic department is very interested in it," Brown said. "Our charge in the next year or two is to convince the upper-level administration that it's viable and would be an important aspect of student life here. We're very much in favor of it.

"The biggest expense is building the facility. Well, we have that built already. We have a stadium that seats 4,000, we have a nice press box, we have artificial turf, we have locker rooms right across the way, we have lights and we have good parking. It's really ready to go if we want football."

Salisbury men on roll

Salisbury State's men's basketball team is 7-1, tying the best start in the program's history. The 1991-92 team won 28 of its first 29 games before losing in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals.

The defending Capital Athletic Conference champions are led by senior guard John DeRichie at 16.9 points and 4.4 steals a game. DeRichie also leads the Sea Gulls in three-point field goals with 34, and his career total of 200 ranks third all-time at Salisbury.

DeRichie was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference South Region Player of the Week after scoring 44 points in two games and adding 13 rebounds, eight assists and nine steals.

Bowie women start fast

The Bowie State women's basketball team is 5-1 overall and 4-1 in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association heading into the Christmas break. The Bulldogs are outscoring their opponents by a margin of 16 points a game, helped by a defense that forces an average of 30 turnovers a game and limits opponents to 37 percent shooting from the field.

Senior guard Brandey Lemons, a preseason all-CIAA selection, is averaging 16.3 points a game and should become Bowie's all-time leading scorer during its Best Western Basketball Classic, which begins Friday.

Morgan's Baucom an all-star

Morgan State senior linebacker Levi Baucom made six tackles as captain of the East team in the first Walter Reed Black College All-Star Classic in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 7. His team lost to the West squad, 27-0.

Baucom, who recently was named to the all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference second team, was among 72 college players from historically black institutions chosen to compete. The teams were selected by NFL scouts.

Pub Date: 12/22/96

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