Niagara University’s track and field team has made it through their first few years without a track, but consideration’s for change are necessary
For Niagara University, the Division I athletic program is something that has contributed to keeping the school highly spirited. Basketball, hockey and soccer are some of the sports at Niagara that have drawn some of the most support from the student body; but what about sports who don’t receive as much recognition? What about a team who doesn’t even have a home field to perform on? The women’s track and field team is Niagara’s newest growing sensation who does not yet possess a track.
The track and field team is a young team at Niagara having formed in 2013, according to head coach Christine Kloiber. The women are now heading into their third season still without a track.
The only track-like feature that remains on campus is the imprint of one which appears to have been abandoned for a long time.
“I have no records about the running teams from before my time,” said Kloiber. “But I have seen in old N.U. yearbooks that there had been a men’s track & field team for a short time in the 1980s.”
(insert picture of old track what remains of a track field located next to the Baseball and Rugby fields).
Building a new track for a school couldn’t possibly be as simple as saying ‘let’s build a new track.’ Kloiber went on to mention the requirements and aspects that need to be taken into consideration as well as a need.
“Like with any building project, constructing a track & field facility requires the appropriate space, resources, and, of course a need,” said Kloiber. “Without an established team, there had been no need; but we hope that as the team grows that an opportunity may open up in which we can invest into a facility.”
Coach Kloiber went on to discuss how the team trains wherever they can and emphasized that they are not only a track but a field team who partakes in several other events as well.
“It’s a lot of coordination to make the best use of everything we have on campus,” said Kloiber. “When we’re not training on-campus, we travel offsite to Lewiston-Porter High School to use their outdoor facility (when it’s warm enough) and then travel further to an indoor soccer dome to do our speed workouts from January-March.”
Despite not having a home track to train and perform on, senior/captain Kayla Murphy talked optimistically about their circumstances.
“Coming into college I would have never thought it was possible to have a track and field team without a track, yet this team knows how to get creative,” said Murphy. “We work out on treadmills, soccer turfs and various high school tracks when we need to. No one complains and we really get the job done.”
The team’s pride and performance has not been tainted by the absence of a track, according to Kloiber and Murphy.
“I am confident the team will continue on their progressive, upward trajectory,” said Kloiber. “They keep rewriting the school (and their own personal) records, and have posted medal-placing performances at the MAAC championship while still being a very young team.”
For a young team that has found success, there is still a greater need of support by the Niagara community.
“I really don’t know how much of the student body knows about the track and field team,” stated Murphy.
A track could be beneficial to this growth and support, while also bringing in more track and field athletes to Niagara.
“Having a track on campus would enhance our productivity within practices, alleviate the travel/time issues we manage, and enhance the prominence of the school in recruiting additional student-athletes as we lose a bit of a competitive edge to those institutions that do offer an on-campus practice site,” stated Kloiber.
Not only would a track be advantageous for the team, but for the entire Niagara community. Students, professors and other athletes could benefit by being able to use it as a source of training and well-being.
“A track would obviously not be reserved strictly for track and field team’s use, but it would finally give us a place that we can call our own,” said Murphy. “The benefits are really endless.”
The Niagara University Track and Field team is already underway with the 2017 season and could always use more support by the student population and local community.
“First, know there is a track team,” declared Kloiber. “Come and support our ladies when we have any local meets, keep up to date on their performances via our twitter page (@NiagaraXCTF), and give them acknowledgment in representing the school as well as they do.”
It is uncertain if there will be a track built at Niagara in the mere future, but for a team who has found early potential and success, one could speculate that a track would only help the program and school grow.
In a preseason poll released by the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Niagara was tied for eighth in the conference with rival Canisius College. The Purple Eagles continues their season March 25 against Monmouth University.
One thought on “Division I and Trackless”
Just as a point of reference, Niagara fielded men’s track and field, and cross country at least up through the 1960’s. Until 1961, it had scholarship athletes. My freshman year there was only one left. The combined budget was $3000, including coach and equipment.
We were terrible, but after a cross country meet, the coach shared his cigarettes with us.
The only time I spoke with Taps was at the bar before our banquet.
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