St. Mary’s to Add Track Program

Written by Tyler Wilson.

On February 1, according to insideSMCM, St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s Board of Trustees signed off on a proposal that would allow for the development and implementation of a track program. According to insideSMCM this summer the track will be resurfaced, athletic director Scott Devine mentioned the hiring of a coach “this coming fall,” and according to Tom Fisher, the director of the athletics and recreation center, there is a strong possibility that the program will be implemented as early as the 2020-2021 school year. A major factor in the implementation of these renovations was the $400,000 donation by Trustee member William Seale. The renovations to the track surface were necessary to be compliant with NCAA regulations, so Seale’s gift is a major reason why the program will be able to hit the ground running. 

This proposal was a recommendation from the SMCM Board of Trustees Task are two task forces and this was a recommendation from “task force two,” which has a goal of adding “extracurricular activities, whether it be sports or clubs, to implement to try to drive enrollment increases.” Fisher noted that there were many reasons for the new team, one of which being to expand enrollment, another being to improve diversity because of the populations that would be recruited in “the inner city Baltimore, D.C. area,”and also the goal of “enhancing the cross country program as well,” because members of the cross country team would be able to do track in the winter and spring, instead of having no formal team to be a part of in the winter and spring. Furthermore, the addition of a track team will increase the scope of recruiting for the cross country team, meaning that cross country does not have to look strictly for cross country runners, but can also look for track athletes who could potentially contribute a lot to the program. 

In terms of the coaching situation, Fisher stressed that they will look to hire a coach that has both track and field experience. The hiring of this new coach will make it so that the head cross country coach and assistant ARC director, Ryan Scanlon, will serve as the assistant track coach, and whoever is hired to be the track coach will be the assistant coach for the cross country team. Fisher talked about how Scanlon and whoever the new track coach will be will have a close relationship, and will be helping each other not just in coaching, but also in recruiting. This means that the position of assistant arc director will be vacant. Fisher explained that “we’re going to explore other options to fill that vacancy.” Fisher mentioned that there are various different ways of structuring the cross country and track programs at others schools such as Salisbury and Christopher Newport, with Salisbury having one coach for both cross country and track but various assistants, and Christopher Newport having track coaches, a director of track and field and a seperate cross country coach. Only time will tell how SMCM’s structure of both programs will work, but it does appear like the structure is set up in a way as to put the track and cross country programs at an equal level of importance.

There has been much optimism around the addition of the track program, with Devine calling it “an exciting time for Seahawks athletics’”, and President Jordan saying that this is “a perfect time” to initiate the program. It is time to spike up, because the track program is up and running.

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