Cerro Gordo County Iowa
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 The Globe-Gazette
Mason City, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa
Saturday, March 05, 2016

Top fields: Mason City Schools' turf crew receives state recognition
by Ashley Miller

MASON CITY — The man responsible for keeping Mason City Schools’ athletic turf in tip-top shape has received state recognition.

The district was chosen for 2015 football field of the year by Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association.

Since Cory Jenniges — the only two-time turf manager of the year in Iowa for golf and sports fields — joined the district in 2010, Mason City has also won accolades for its baseball field.

“We’re going up against any field in Iowa — anything from semi-pro to college or city fields — so the competition is very high,” said Randy Meyer, who oversees the district’s transportation and grounds operations.

When judging, Meyer says, the association considers aesthetics and improvements to the facility.

A 20-month tiling project on the football field balanced the need for drainage while providing a soft surface with the best grass. Meyer says he believes the Iowa Athletic Association will eventually require compaction tests in effort to prevent concussions.

“We’re trying to say ahead of that ballgame by making safe areas for kids to practice and play on,” he said.

Jenniges, a Garner native who has worked as a golf superintendent at courses in State Center, Humboldt and Pocahontas, says he enjoys the pace of caring for the school’s nine fields.

He first worked at a golf course during the summer while studying to be a teacher. Jenniges says he fell in love with the job and later received a two-year degree in horticulture science.

After snow removal and work orders during the winter, he’s ready to get started this spring, which involves using irrigation systems and fertilizers, overseeding and thatching.

During peak season, he and his crew begin their day at 6 a.m. by mowing and getting ready for games. They also paint or chalk lines, and when applicable, put plates in place for the 80 games Meyer says Mason City hosts each season.

This year, the district — not the University of Iowa or Principal Park — will host the Iowa All-Star Game, which involves the 175 best baseball players in the state.

“They take a lot of pride in the fields, the coaches do,” Jenniges said. “We want to make them proud to play on it.”

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, March of 2016

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