By: Adam Henthorn/Student Writer
Wayland’s Track and Field team is optimistic as they begin a new year with fewer members.
The 2008 team traveled to Lubbock on January 18 and 19 to participate in the Texas Tech Invitational Indoor Track and Field Meet.
There were three first place finishers for the Pioneers as well as several automatic and provisional qualifiers. These victories were welcomed by the team hurt by a dwindling number of athletes as many runners have quit or transferred out.
“It’s disappointing to see a lot of people leave,” Timmy McCune, a junior from Denver City, said. “It will be harder for us to do well.”
Both Men’s and Women’s teams suffer from the lack of able-bodied and eligible runners. Many have left for various reasons: some left for other schools, some to be closer to home, some for personal reasons, and even a few who could not put out what was required to run for the Wayland team.
The girls, however, still have a legitimate chance to make it to the national meet for the second year in a row, despite the graduation of Kristen Raines and the loss of freshman Rosa Galvan.
Coach Brian Whitlock is hoping to improve upon last year’s second place finish.
“We’re definitely one of the favorites to win,” he said. “As long as we can keep everyone healthy I think we’ve got a shot.”
The men are struggling with low numbers and with several injuries, including Josh Fichett, a freshman from Sterling City.
Since the opening of the 2007 cross country season the men have lost over seven members, leaving a number of gaps that will be hard to fill.
“Any time kids leave, it’s a disappointment,” said Coach Brian Whitlock. “We started out with our biggest team in a while, but I believe we’ve been pretty successful so far with what we’ve got.”
Whitlock has already started recruiting to fill the empty spaces, starting with Purity Biwott, a new arrival from Kenya. He also believes the new Laney Center will attract more athletes in the next few seasons to come.