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  • Richard Smith

Anderson Field - Messiah Falcons


Photos by Richard Smith, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Anderson Field 236 N Grantham Rd Dillsburg, PA 17019



Year Opened: 1962 Capacity: 300

 

The Falcons Nest

Messiah University is a private interdenominational evangelical Christian university in Grantham, Pennsylvania, although the mailing address is in nearby Mechanicsburg. Anderson Field is part of the larger Starry Athletic Complex.


The university began as Messiah Bible School and Missionary Training Home and was part of the Brethren in Christ Church. The name changed over the years going from Messiah Bible School to Messiah College, and in 2020 Messiah University.


The university is now interdenominational and not part of the Brethren in Christ Church but still is evangelical with an influence in the Anabaptist, the Radical Pietist, and the Wesleyan holiness movements. The Falcons mascot is named Flex, although he was previously known as Fandango.


The Falcons compete in Division III of the NCAA and are a member of the Middle Atlantic Conferences. The team receives some of the biggest support in Division III and boasts some of the best attendance of all schools at that level in the "Olympic" sports.


The Falcons have been very successful in athletics. The men's and women's soccer teams both won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2012. The Falcons men's soccer team are eleven-time national champions. Messiah University is the only college in the NCAA to win both the men's and women's soccer national championships in the same year, and they have achieved that distinction four times.


There also have been national championships in women's softball, and women's field hockey, along with numerous individual championships in wrestling and wrestling.


Food & Beverage 2

There is a small concession stand near the baseball field called the Falcon Hut. It offers cheap concessions from a limited menu. it is a nice little facility but it doesn't offer much if you are looking for more than a small snack.


Atmosphere 4

The Starry Athletic Complex is a great little complex to watch sports. You have to access it via a covered bridge. Each of the various fields offers great views and a fun environment for each of the Falcons sports teams.


Anderson Field is a simple field hockey setup with a small grandstand. There are also many other areas to watch field hockey around the field. We think the best place to watch is via your bag chair along the small hill south of the field.


Anderson Field has a carpet turf which is the preferred surface for the top field hockey programs in the world. The facility includes full lighting for evening practices and games. It looks like it will not change, but the new Stadium East Building as part of the campaign should help operations at Anderson Field. The new concessions will also be a great addition.


Messiah's "A Warmer Welcome Campaign" is an ongoing effort to enhance the outdoor athletic facilities at the Starry Athletic Complex. The Campaign is set to include a new concession and hospitality facility that will serve Messiah’s entire outdoor athletic complex, expanded and enhanced new seating for lacrosse and softball fans, and improved dugout areas for the baseball field.


Neighborhood 3

Starry Athletic Fields Complex is south of the main Messiah campus. There is not much of a neighborhood in Grantham but one can venture into Mechanicsburg and/or Harrisburg for more things to do before or after a game.


There is a Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar in Camp Hill if you are feeling like eating a large meal. Vitality Bowls in Mechanicsburg could be a healthier option.


Fans 4

Messiah has one of the best fan bases around. They support Falcon sports, no matter which one. If visiting on any given weekend, you are likely to find multiple games going on, with each a healthy attendance.


Access 3

Messiah University, itself, is not that hard to access as it is located nearby the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-83, I-81, and U.S. Route 15.


You may have more issues once on campus. The university is easy enough to get around, but the Starry Athletic Fields Complex is located to the south of the main Messiah campus, across an old-style covered bridge. Once across the bridge, there is a medium-sized parking lot that could fill quickly.


We ended up parking across the campus and walking as there were so many events going on, not just at the athletic complex. This was not a bad thing, as we found a nice little walking trail, along with a swinging bridge. You need to be aware that the main parking lot might not work out for you.


Return on Investment 5

There is no charge for attending a game at Anderson Field. Even if there was, you could easily watch the game for free along the south side of the field. The limited offerings of the Falcon Hut are also very good with prices.


Extras 4

The ability to easily watch so many sports without almost any extra walking is a great extra.


Go north of the nearby Criste Tennis Courts to find a delightful swinging bridge that crosses Yellow Breeches Creek.


Once across the bridge above look for the campus fitness trail which offers a great walking trail around a good part of the Messiah campus.


The Climenhaga Homestead is a historic house on campus that was built by the first dean of the college (Asa Climenhaga) as a way to become better connected to the campus and its students. The homestead now houses guest rooms, meeting rooms, and conference facilities.


Final Thoughts

Messiah University is already a great spot to watch sports, but with the upcoming "A Warmer Welcome Campaign" it may go to another level. Anderson Field is a simple place but is one that offers a great place to spend a bit of time.

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