Luther football wins home opener following field dedication

Jorge Contreras, Staff Writer

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Luther football won their home opener 44-20 against St. Olaf College on Sep. 9. The dedication of the new blue turf field, Legacy Field, took place prior to the game.

The first game played on Legacy Field was a victory for the Norse, outscoring St. Olaf 27-13. The first touchdown of the game was a 21-yard throw from Letney which was received by Nicholas Slavens (‘19) for the first touchdown of the game and field.

Luther installed a blue turf field over the summer due to several donations last year. The field is one of the safest and most unique among NCAA Division III. Dennis Birkestrand (‘64) and Suzanne Birkestrand, who are the main supporters of the project, named the new turf Legacy Field to honor all alumni of the football program and donors.

The Birkestrands attended the ceremony and served as honorary football captains for the Norse at the game.

According to Head Football Coach Aaron Hafner, the field is helping Luther’s football program stand out and bettering Luther’s image as an institution.

“[The field helps] to bring awareness to how great of a place Luther College is. Being able to utilize our football field to do that is very special,” Hafner said. “Not just for our football program but our whole athletics department and Luther College.”

The Luther community is grateful for Legacy Field as the artificial turf has numerous advantages. According to quarterback Brady Letney (‘18), the field has brought enthusiasm to the team. It has made practice more consistent, and players are excited to use it.

“It is a safer environment compared to our older field,” Letney said. “It’s a more leveled surface and you don’t notice that much of a difference in bad weather conditions. It is a very unique environment. Not everyone can say that the got to play on a blue field.”

Luther players got motivated to play on a synthetic field after a visit to St. Olaf College’s turf field on Sep. 10, 2016.

“It facilitates some energy in our practices and it gives us a sense of pride in being a Luther football player,” Letney said. “Last year we went up and played [St. Olaf]. We won their home opener on their brand new turf field, so they are going to try to do that to us”

Looking to the future, Hafner believes that the current football program will attract more prospective students to Luther and will make the Athletics Department stronger.

“We had several recruits that ended up coming here after we had announced the blue turf, so they are very excited to be here,” Hafner said. “We have a great first-year class.” “[The new recruits] are fitting well with our returning players, and we have a great culture right now. We think that is going to allow us to be very successful.”

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