By: Andrew Preston
The past two seasons the Trevecca men and women’s track teams both have finished no better than fourth place in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference Championships (G-MAC), something head Coach Austin Selby wants to change.
Winning the G-MAC in track and field for Trevecca is something that will take time to accomplish. The track teams are relatively new programs at TNU, with both the men and women’s teams beginning competition during the 2013-2014 academic school year.
“We cannot (win the G-MAC), plain and simple. We are not built to win a title. We are still trying to grow and become competitive in the G-MAC,” said Selby.
The TNU track teams are still relatively small in number. For comparison, in a recent track meet Cedarville University brought 68 athletes between both teams to Trevecca’s 29 athletes total. So, for TNU it is difficult to keep up with the bigger schools in the conference. Although small in number, Trevecca is able to compete fairly well in the distance events at most track meets.
“We win the 5K, we win the DMR (distance medley relay), we win the 3K, and we are first or second in the mile. We score a point or two in the sprints and field events, but there are events that without facilities and the budget to have the tools necessary to practice those events, we’ll never win a track championship,” said Selby.
The TNU track program has developed over the years and this season Selby is looking for several guys and girls to step up and lead his team this season.
“Typically Logan Rodgers and Ben Moroney are our two leaders. They are our fastest guys, but it really depends on the weekend. Both these guys have the potential to do some great things this year,” said Selby.
On the women’s side, Trevecca graduated Rachel Mudd last season. Mudd was a key leader for the girl’s team. This season, the leader is Caroline Hampton. Hampton was named Women’s Indoor Track Athlete of the Year.
“Our leader is definitely Caroline Hampton. She made the national qualification list last year, but she wasn’t in the top 20 so she wasn’t able to compete at nationals. She is definitely a big leader,” said Selby.
The goal for coach Selby as well as the team is not necessarily to compete well in the G-MAC, although quality finishes would help. The goal is to be able to compete for Trevecca on the national stage.
“We are more focused on the national meet when we go to compete for the G-MAC. For the indoor seasons only one other school (Cedarville) was able to take athletes to the national meet, so I think that is pretty special” said Selby.
Trevecca qualified both Logan Rodgers and Caroline Hampton last season for nationals. Hampton was unable to attend because she did not finish in the top 20. Rodgers was able to go and compete.
“We are taking Logan and if Logan scores, if he finishes in the top eight (of his event), then we’ll score points at the national championship. So we’ll actually be on the board. At the end of the day where you rank across the country even it is with one or two individuals is pretty big to us. We are getting our name out there when we compete at nationals. Alderson Broaddus, Ursuline, Kentucky Wesleyan are all not taking athletes to the national meet,” said Selby.
For the future Selby wants to grow the program into teams that can not only compete on the national level, which they have already proven, but also be highly competitive in the G-MAC conference as well.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow to know that odds are we can’t win right now, but knowing we can take athletes for a shot at national championships, to have a shot at All-American status, that’s doing pretty good,” said Selby.