Grace throws Rock Picking Party at track stadium

Nearly 50 years ago, Grace students helped pave the way for Miller Athletic Complex by throwing a party. A Rock Picking Party, that is.

Grace students in bell-bottom jeans and Chuck Taylor shoes in 1972 helped clear the rock-filled ground in what eventually became Grace’s soccer stadium.

This morning, 44 years later, the Rock Picking Party found new life. Student-athletes from every Lancer varsity program showed up Monday morning of finals week to clear the infield for Grace’s new Bernard and Linnie Key Track and Field Complex.

Over 170 student-athletes got on their hands and knees to clear the ground for new grass being planted at the track stadium. Jeff Buriff directed the Lancer army as they marched up and down the infield, filling up buckets and wheelbarrows along the way.

The athletes enjoyed the fellowship on a clear autumn morning, even competing against each other to see who could unearth the largest rock.

The massive amount of hands, according to Grace head track coach Jeff Raymond, was tremendously helpful. “We greatly appreciate the cooperation, time and effort from all our coaches and athletes,” he said. “It may seem like a small task, but their efforts will be felt for years to come and will benefit several teams who will eventually use that field for practice and competition.”

Just as importantly, Monday’s Rock Picking Party served as a reminder of Grace’s mission to train up servant leaders. Over four decades have passed between the two rock parties, but the two groups of Lancers were united in service over a rock-filled stretch of dirt.

“Today’s event is another example of the tremendous unity among our athletic programs at Grace,” said Grace Director of Athletics Chad Briscoe. “Our coaches do a great job of living out the importance of servant leadership, and all our student-athletes embrace the importance of serving one another. The new track complex will benefit all the athletic programs, and it was encouraging to see our student-athletes serving together.”