Club track and field has a national championship in its sights this season, despite only entering its fourth year of existence.
This will be the first year of nationals for club sports, and any club can qualify. President Alex Reese is confident in the club’s chances this year, but hoped that nationals were instituted last year.
“If we had been in nationals last year, we probably would have won that meet,” Reese said.
The team has grown steadily each year since being established in 2008. Its only form of recruiting is a booth at the involvement fair to talk to any prospective students. However, its roster size has increased and the club has become more competitive each season as a result.
“We’ve definitely been growing and definitely been getting better,” Vice President Connor McLaughlin said. “At every event we set club records, and it’s really a mark of improvement.”
This season, for the second time in its history, the club will host its own event at the Ashenfelter Multi-sport Indoor Facility on Saturday, Feb. 9. Reese and McLaughlin hoped to have a bigger meet with many different teams from around the region, but because of club sports policy, they are only allowed to invite other clubs and no Division III opponents. Still, Reese said everyone had a great time last year even though there were only five teams there.
The members in the club are competitive with each other so the lack of teams at a meet does not bother anyone too much.
“We are extremely competitive inter-squad,” McLaughlin said. “Last year at the home meet, we sent two of our four by four relays to run against each other.”
Practice can be as competitive as the meets at times. Before, after and even during some practice races, runners trash talk and people watching the race will yell and scream for their teammates to speed up and catch somebody.
All the trash talk and competitiveness is friendly, though. According to Reese and McLaughlin, the members of the club are very close on and off the track.
“We have a house that a few guys live in every year so we hang out there all the time,” Reese said. “Usually we go get dinner after practice or on the weekend together.”
The competitiveness and camaraderie the club has will help it compete at each event this season and at nationals at the end of the season, and it is excited for the opportunity to win a national championship.
“That’s the biggest news of this year, just the potential to get a national championship,” McLaughlin said. “It would just be awesome.”