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Official Review by Paul Baker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Bryant Track and Turf Complex was completed in 2005 to be the home of Bryant University’s track and field, field hockey, soccer and lacrosse teams. It is also used as a practice facility for the Bulldog football and other teams.
Located directly behind Beirne Stadium, the complex has seating for 500 fans and features lights, allowing games and practices to occur throughout the year.
Since its completion, Bryant’s Track and Turf Complex has hosted the Northeast-10 Track and Field Championships, Northeast-10 Lacrosse playoff games and the first two rounds of the NCAA women’s soccer championships.
Bryant University has been competing in Division One since the 2008 season. The Bulldogs compete in the North East Conference, and has won the conference title five times. The lacrosse team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament three times, reaching the quarterfinals in 2014 with a huge upset over second-ranked Syracuse.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The concession stand in Beirne Stadium is opened for Bryant lacrosse games. Hot dogs and hamburgers can be found here, along with assorted snacks. Bottles of Coca-Cola products are sold here as well. On chilly early season game days, coffee and hot chocolate are popular choices.
Many fans bring in their own beverages to enjoy during the game. Since this is Rhode Island, coffee from local favorite Dunkin' Donuts can be seen everywhere.
The game day atmosphere here at the Track and Turf Complex is a no frills one. Aside from the hip-hop music playing at a reasonable volume over the loudspeakers during play stoppages, there is little extraneous activity going on here. The fans create most of the noise, and since lacrosse fans are really into the action on the field, that's usually not an issue.
Smithfield is a suburb of Providence, RI, located about a twenty minute drive away from Rhode Island's capital city. Although it is a very nice place to live, it's certainly not a destination location. The Bryant campus is attractive, but there is not a whole lot in the immediate vicinity for visiting fans to see or do.
Dining options near Bryant University are few. Parente's restaurant is a favorite of students, as much for its location near campus as for its reasonably priced comfort food. There is really little else in the area besides a small strip mall in the vicinity of campus. Several national chain restaurants and shopping options are located about a 10 minute drive away on Route 44. Those looking for quality dining options should take the 20 minute drive to Providence, which is consistently rated as one of the better mid-sized cities in the country for culinary delights.
The same can be said for lodging options in Smithfield. There are a few decent options right on Douglas Pike near the Bryant campus, but visitors to the university would be better served to check out Providence or Boston for places to stay or things to do. For those looking for entertainment options in the immediate neighborhood, Twin Rivers Casino is in nearby Lincoln. If spending time in a casino is on your agenda, you would be much better served to travel to the twin resorts of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, located an hour away over the Connecticut state line.
Fans turn out in solid numbers for Bryant lacrosse. The bleachers on the northeast side of the field are usually filled, and fans take up the standing room along the sideline as well. Even during the cold early season February and March games, a solid crowd shows up at the Track and Turf Complex.
In addition to a solid turnout by the Bryant student body, you are sure to find several four legged fans in attendance on any given Saturday. Since most of the fans in attendance have a personal connection with the players on the field, they are really into the action. Strangely, a large portion of the crowd left the game I attended at halftime. Perhaps the cold and rainy Rhode Island weather got the best of them...
Bryant University is located in suburban Smithfield, Rhode Island, 13 miles from Providence. The campus is most easily accessed by car. Visitors to Bryant will simply take exit 8B off of Interstate 295. The campus is just over a mile away from the Interstate on Route 7.
Fans using public transportation to arrive at Bryant will find a Rhode Island Public Transportation (RIPTA) bus station on the Bryant campus, offering service every 40 minutes to downtown Providence. T.F. Green Airport is 20 miles away, with Boston's Logan Airport an hour's drive away. Train service to the area is provided by Amtrak, which has its downtown Providence station 15 minutes away.
The Track and Turf Complex is located directly behind Beirne Stadium, accessed by paved walkways from the stadium and adjacent parking lot. Seating consists entirely of metal bleachers on the near (northeast) side of the field. The restrooms in Beirne Stadium are open for lacrosse games, as is the concession stand.
Admission to Bryant lacrosse games is five dollars. Tickets are discounted to three dollars for seniors and students from other schools. Bryant students and youths are admitted free of charge.
Parking is free in the large lots adjacent to the Beirne Stadium Complex, a short walk from the Turf and Track Complex. Concessions are quite inexpensive. It all adds up to a very affordable afternoon for local lacrosse fans.
There is no doubt that you are in the home of the Bulldogs when going to a game at Bryant. The entrance to the athletic facilities are guarded by several Bulldog statues. You may even come across some real Bulldogs in the Track and Turf Complex stands.
Lacrosse is a sport that is growing in popularity in many areas of the country, including New England. Taking in a game at Bryant is a similar experience to many other schools in the area. You are sure to come across a small, but dedicated and enthusiastic crowd and some fantastic action on the field, all at an affordable price.
Follow Paul Baker's Stadium Journeys on Twitter @PuckmanRI.
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1114 Douglas Pike
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