By Rhea Kapur ’21
Pingry Athletics is a key element in the lives of many students. Last year was notable in the school’s history because of the addition of the Miller A. Bugliari ‘52 Athletics Center (BAC). This past summer, existing athletics facilities were further improved. Ranging from upgrades to the softball fields to a completely new track and field area, the new state-of-the-art facilities are amazing resources for student-athletes.
The plan to strengthen Big Blue Athletics through advanced facilities encompasses not only indoor facilities like the BAC, but also new tennis courts and other renovated fields. Pingry Tennis continues to enjoy a successful program. Last year, the Girls’ Varsity team was the Non-Public “A” South Sectional Champions and the Non-Public “A” Group Champions after qualifying for the Tournament of Champions. The Boys’ Varsity team finished second in the Somerset County Tournament and third in the Non-Public “B” Group rankings. This success must be attributed in part to amazing tennis facilities, which have been completely redone this summer with 12 new tennis courts to set the stage for many seasons to come.
“They are really great courts; it’s such an amazing opportunity to become proficient at tennis and learn the game in a competitive environment, along with great coaching,” says Eva Schiller (III), a new student and player on the Junior Varsity girls’ tennis team.
A complete makeover of the Parsons Track and Field area was also an exciting, long-awaited project that was completed just before the start of school. The updates include a new scoreboard, a dual-sport artificial turf playing surface, goalposts, and a completely new, advanced track. The facility is becoming an indispensable part for the football, track, soccer, and lacrosse programs. Football coach Mr. Chris Shilts reflects that in the past, “We spent half our practice time moving to different areas to avoid trampling the grass field into a mud bowl. With this upgrade, we’ll have turf. We’ll have a first-rate facility that draws athletes in.”
Director of Athletics and Lacrosse Coach Carter Abbott said that before the renovation, during the lacrosse season, “Boys and girls [were] getting an hour of practice time each, while competitors [got] way more.” By removing previous disadvantages, this new track and turf field presents another opportunity for Pingry Athletics to thrive.
The last improvement to the exterior athletics grounds includes the construction of a new Junior Varsity softball field near the tennis courts and renovations on the Varsity softball field.