Track and field achievements, conference qualifiers, team successes

Published by Molly Kay on

(Left) Alan King, head coach of cross country and track and field, Renate Richardson, assistant coach cross country and track and field (sprints and hurdles), Robert Wagoner, assistant coach (jumps), eagerly share the success that their team has had this season. A number of students qualified for participation at the national level.
Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Since the track and field team was reinstated in 2018 after being eliminated in the mid-90s, the team has grown with many accomplishments.

Colby Neron, sophomore, gives a shout-out
to his coaches for all their hard work.

Alan King, the program’s head coach, has been at UCC for the last five years but has been coaching since 2007. Alongside King is three additional coaches: Renate Richardson, assistant coach of cross country and track and field, who focuses on sprints and hurdles; Robert Wagoner, assistant track and field coach, who focuses on jumps; and Jim Feeney, a volunteer track and field coach, focusing on javelin.

Under the leadership of King and the other coaches, UCC boasts the top four male javelin throwers and top two female javelin throwers out of U.S. junior colleges. Additionally, most of this year’s athletes have placed in the top 15 to 20 of U.S. junior colleges. 

The Mainstream

King, Richardson and Wagoner care about the well-being of individual athletes. The coaches do not push them to win but instead encourage them to grow and feel confident in their abilities. “I don’t put a lot of pressure on the kids to perform at a high level,” King said.

The team has 34 athletes total, 16 men and 18 women. The size of the team allows the coaches to give the athletes the attention they need: “We can get a lot of individual training,” freshman Daniel Gee said.

Multiple athletes commented on the hard work their coaches put in, noting how a lot of the practice areas such as the weight room were improved by King. Located above the track also is a running trail made by King. “Coach King built all of that,” freshman Taylor Heie said. “He was out there with shovels and had bark mulch in the back of his truck and laid out all of the track.”

As of April 15, 10 female athletes and nine male athletes qualified for this year’s Northwest Athletic Conference (NWAC) championship meet in 19 different events to be held May 22 and 23 at Mt. Hood Community College. The team has only been to NWAC’s championship meet twice since the program has been restarted because the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event in 2020 and 2021. When in 2019 the team competed for the first time, the women finished ninth overall and the men finished 11th.

In 2022 when the team competed for the second time in championships, the women finished second overall and the men placed fourth overall.

These numbers are sure to grow as the season continues. “Typically, every year we take most of the team,” Richardson said.

In the program’s first year, UCC took all of their 18 athletes to the NWAC championship meet; by 2022 the team had almost doubled in size and took all 32 athletes to the conference.

The team trains year-round, but the competition season starts in March and ends in May.

The coaches have established a good reputation not only with their athletes but also with other schools and were able to move eight students into universities for track and field last year.