Concerns with track don’t leave athletes in the dust

Published by Matthew Rabern on

The UCC track curves to the right as a distant figure passes a stone monument with the "River Hawks" logo on it. Various trees line the background with green grass on either side of the track.
The track has seen better days, with little attention leaving it a shadow of its former self. There has been talk among the Board of Education members to set aside money for repairs. Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Track and Field’s lack of public presence has left their victories under recognized despite the medals they have won for UCC.

The track and field team recently broke several school records, such as James Kelly’s performance with an impressive 5-meter (16.75 feet) pole vault at the Raider Invite meet, a school and personal record best after breaking the previous record set by Tarron Metz at 4.70-meters (15.5 Feet). The team also captured a series of seven first place wins and seven second place wins in just the last two meets.

The team’s success hasn’t been without challenge.

Two people walk on a curved track towards the camera. One person is wearing shorts and white tennis shoes. The second person is wearing a sports bra, shorts, and black tennis shoes. Trees create shadows for them in the background.
Distance runners Mia McCormack and Elijah Mojica walk along the UCC track. Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

The UCC track no longer meets regulations for training or for competitions, so staff and students have been commuting to the track and field facilities of the Sutherlin school system.

The commute has cut into vital practice time, coach Renate Richardson explained.

Also, losing the campus track has negatively impacted these athletes’ exposure to their fellow students. An inability to host home meets has often resulted in ignorance as to when they occur. Without a local track, campus students can’t sit and watch practices as students enjoyed doing in warmer weather during earlier years.

Recent talks in the budget committee have opened the possibility for funds to be put aside to finally bring needed repairs and updates to the campus track to allow regular use by the track and field team. This has not been finalized yet.

Track and Field awards. There are three different awards (first through the third place) with descriptions of the event and the winning athlete.
The recent streak of UCC wins thanks to the hardworking athletes of the Track and Field team. Matthew Rabern / The Mainstream

However, the track and field team have utilized the recently remodeled campus weight room to help with practice and warm-ups before meets.

The team is handled directly by head coach Alan King and assistant coach Richardson, who have seen many athletes take record-breaking steps. With nearly 30 track and field athletes being scouted and picked up by universities, this is far from the only objective of the athletic staff. Study spaces in the Tower Building have been reserved and are used to help the track and field team’s academic progress. “Our goal is to help them excel, not just as athletes but as students as well,” Richardson says.

If students would like to be informed about the team’s events and learn about their progress, they can follow them on the team’s Instagram or the UCC Riverhawk’s website.

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