LCSC to add women's track next year
Lewis-Clark State College will recognize women’s track as an official sport and the team will start competing during the 2007-08 indoor and outdoor seasons, LCSC President Dene K. Thomas and Athletic Director Gary Picone have announced.
The addition of women’s track will give LCSC six women’s and five men’s sports. LCSC currently offers men’s and women’s cross country, basketball, tennis and golf, along with women’s volleyball and men’s baseball.
“We are excited to be able to add women’s track to the athletic program,” Picone says. “I have every confidence that the program will flourish under the leadership of coach Mike Collins.”
“Considering the importance of women's sports and Title IX, I am especially pleased with the addition of another women's sport,” Thomas says.
This is the first sport LCSC has added since starting both the men’s and women’s golf programs in 1996.
“It is fitting for LCSC to make a women's sport its first addition in 11 years,” Thomas says. “We looked at several possibilities, and women's track is the best fit for us at this time.”
Collins, who is the LCSC men’s and women’s cross country coach, also will coach the women’s track team. Despite not having a track team previously, LCSC has had a few cross country runners compete in some spring track meets. LCSC also has a national champion in track in Tausha Kuzmic, who won the women’s marathon title at the 2005 NAIA track and field championships in Louisville.
“We are very excited about this new dimension coming to the running program here at LC,” Collins says. “We have roughed out a basic 10-year plan with the first stage of the plan being the indoor and outdoor part of the schedule and transitioning into that first. So, the first couple of years it will be a team made up of predominately distance runners, but we definitely won't be turning away the field athletes or the sprinters if they want to go ahead and come here. Over time the plan enlists specialty coaches and specific recruiting for those areas.”
The team will practice at Lewiston High School’s Vollmer Bowl, a facility Collins has used before, thanks to his relationship with former Lewiston High track coach Wade Hillman and current track coach Keith Stuffle. Collins says it will be a positive for the high school and college athletes to interact and help each other.
Collins says he’s excited to attract some of the top track and field athletes in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest to LCSC.
“Our climate here in the valley is one that bodes well for these athletes where they can still spend a good part of the year outdoors with their training,” Collins says. “In the past 8 years we have had 30 All-Americans in cross country and track and field, including a national champion in track. We have had multiple teams and individuals qualify for national championships in both and track and cross country, so the basic framework has already been set up. This was all done with young hard-working athletes that were not going to get an opportunity to compete at a bigger school, yet found here the chance to compete and have experiences that truly no other institution in the state can offer. There aren't too many schools that can say year in and year they are sending people to the national championships.”
Although no schools in the Frontier Conference currently offer track, 27 schools in the NAIA Cascade Conference, NCAA Division III Northwest Conference, and NCAA Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference have track programs in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and parts of California.