By Shelby Hancock |Staff Writer|
The ladies are up and running.
CSUSB’s women’s track and field team competed for the first time in school history on Feb. 28, 2015.
On March 21, 2014 Athletic Director Kevin Hatcher announced the conclusion of the women’s water polo and the organization of track and field.
The Coyote water polo program began in 1999 and was ended last year due to lack of participation from schools in the conference.
“They are [a] dedicated and hard-working group with 13 All-Americans in their history,” said Hatcher.
“But at the end of the day, our commitment is to our CCAA membership and maintaining our fiscal operations in an efficient manner,” said Hatcher.
“Track and field is the single largest high school sport for the young women in our immediate recruiting area of the Inland Empire,” continued Hatcher.
“It accommodates more of the interests and abilities of young women in our area, it strengthens and enhances our university’s commitment to Title IX, and it provides more access to athletics by the current student body,” continued Hatcher.
According to the NCAA, women’s track and field is the sixth most frequently sponsored sport.
Two of the ten students interviewed were aware of our new track and field team, but all were willing to support the team by attending their invitationals.
“I’ve never ran track and field but it seems pretty cool like I could maybe to do it,” said student Mirasol Pelayo.
Students who aren’t interested in trying out for the team could attend the team’s meets and show their support.
“The team should send an email, hang posters and even set up a booth to invite the student body to attend their meets,” said student Marissa Banuelos.
The track and field team can generate interest among students who might not be interested in any other sport.
“It’d be cool to see the track team and what they do,” said student Liberty Luna.
The Coyote Track and field team consists of 48 student-athletes under the direction of head coach Tom Burleson.
The distance runners mostly came from the cross country team; as for sprinters, jumpers, and throwers, the school held open try-outs for any student interested according to Jackie Felix, the Student Athletic Counsel President.
“A lot of us are from the Inland Empire,” said Felix.
In San Bernardino school district, all eight of the high schools have men and women’s track and field teams.
“Student-athletes, as a group, graduate at higher rates than their peers in the general student body and feel better prepared for life after college,” according to the NCAA.
Not only are there physical and mental benefits, there are also financial benefits that come with being a student-athlete such as scholarships.
“Division I and II schools provide more than $2 billion in athletic scholarships annually to more than 126,000 student-athletes,” according to the NCAA.
“The real value of athletics scholarships intangible. Without them, many student-athletes would be unable to pursue their athletics and academic dreams,” according to the NCAA.
Hopefully the track and field program will give more funds for students.
While it is still really new, CSUSB’s women’s track and field team may have more benefits than students think.
The addition of the track and field team will provide a new sport, and a new beginning for current and incoming students.
For more information about track and field visit the CSUSB Athletics website at csusbathletics.com and click the “Track and Field” link under the “Sports” tab.