Shentel Stadium – Shenandoah Hornets
Photos by Gregory Koch, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.71
Shentel Stadium 1122 Ralph Shockey Drive Winchester, VA 22601
Year Opened: 2001
Shenandoah University is located in scenic Winchester, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. The university has an enrollment of about 2,100 students, and its athletic programs, known as the Hornets, compete in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in the NCAA’s Division III. Shentel Stadium is home to the Hornets’ football team as well as its field hockey, soccer, and lacrosse programs. It opened in 2001 and has been renovated several times since then.
Food & Beverage 4
There are several different food and beverage options located at tents and tables behind the home bleachers. The main tent features hot dogs ($5), bratwurst with peppers and onions ($6), and cheeseburgers ($4), all of which are grilled fresh right there. Snacks include nachos ($4), popcorn ($5), and candy ($2 for regular size or $1 for small size candy bars made right on campus). Soda is $1 for a small can, while Gatorade, sweet tea, and bottled water are available for $3 at this stand. On cold days, you can get hot chocolate for $3 and coffee for $2.
Another table sells slices of pizza from a local pizzeria and a third sells freshly made kettle corn that you can watch them make. Oddly enough, the prices of drinks are different here than at the main stand – bottled water costs $1.50 at the pizza table and $1 at the kettle corn table, despite being the same size and brand as the $3 water at the main tent.
The main tent accepts credit cards but the other two tables do not so bring cash if you want pizza or kettle corn.
Shentel Stadium is located in a beautiful setting, in the scenic Shenandoah Valley, and that alone can add value to the atmosphere. All seats are bleachers without backs except for a few sections of reserved chair backs at midfield on the home side. There is a scoreboard behind one end zone that can also show video, although it seldom does.
Shenandoah also has a band, cheerleaders, and a dance team that keeps the crowd engaged and promotes a lively atmosphere. All in all, Shentel Stadium has an impressive atmosphere for Division III.
Winchester is a small city located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. There are several restaurants located near campus, ranging from sports bars to barbecue to homemade ice cream. Since Shentel Stadium is located right off the highway, pretty much everything in Winchester is right there. While Winchester certainly isn’t a bustling city, it does have that small-town charm.
History buffs may also want to visit the many Civil War sites in and around Winchester, which played a major role in the conflict. The city changed hands 72 times during the war and was known as the Shuttlecock of the Confederacy.
Shentel Stadium seats 3,000 fans, and on average the Hornets draw between 1,000 and 2,000 to each game. Although this is not a huge crowd, those who attend are passionate about the Hornets and knowledgeable of their team and the game. They’ll cheer loud for all four quarters and aren’t afraid to get on the case of the referees if calls aren’t going their way. This is Division III, the lowest level of the NCAA, and the crowds reflect that, but those who do show up are loyal to their team and contribute to the atmosphere here.
Shentel Stadium is located right off Interstate 81 – you can see the back of the scoreboard from the highway and cars driving past from inside the stadium. If coming from the east or west, you will likely need to take State Route 7 or U.S. Route 50 at least part of the way – although they’re not interstates, you can usually make good time on these roads.
Once you get off the highway, you can park in the lot next to the Wilkins Athletic Center for $5 or lots or garages further away for free. Keep in mind the lots right next to the stadium are reserved for pass holders – you need to park on the other side of the Athletic Center, not the side closest to the stadium. Staff is on hand to direct you to the right place.
Return on Investment 5
Tickets start at $5 for general admission bleacher seats, which is a great deal. If you want a reserved chair back at midfield, this will cost you $12 in advance or $15 the day of the game. Tickets cannot be ordered online, only by phone or in person, and general admission seats cannot be ordered in advance at all. However, games rarely if ever sell out so you should be fine waiting. There is not a bad seat in the stadium, so if comfort is not a concern, we suggest buying the bleacher seats.
There is a giant hornet statue located between the stadium and the Wilkins Center representing the team’s mascot. Programs are for sale for just $1 and contain rosters, photos, and other information on the Hornets and their opponent. A third and final star for the staff at Shentel Stadium, who are extremely polite, friendly, and helpful throughout our visit.
Although a trip to Shentel Stadium is a far cry from Division I football, that is not necessarily a bad thing. This is a quaint but beautiful facility where you can watch college football at an affordable price. While the quality of play may not be what you see at Division I, the fans don’t seem to care, and a visit to a Shenandoah football game can be an enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the Shenandoah Valley.