New year brings optimism to track team

Casey McAnarney | Staff Writer

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UNCW’s Track Team has a lot to look forward to this coming year.

With a new head coach, new strength coach, and a solid stake in the athletic department, track team members and their family have a lot to be optimistic about.

“We raised the $250,000 last year and this summer we met with new Chancellor Satarelli, Vice Chancellor Eddie Stuart, and Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass from the university,” said Roy Love, Chairman of Save UNCW Track. “And it looks very favorable that track will continue at UNCW beyond this season.”

It looks so favorable, Save UNCW Track will now be transformed into a supportive boosters organization for the track team, according to Love.

In a statement sent out earlier this month from Chancellor Sartarelli, he stated “…for the past several months, UNCW has engaged in extensive dialogue both internally and with the community regarding potential options for solidifying the future of track and field,” with the goal in mind being to “…provide the best possible student-athlete experience within our current portfolio and with the resources available.”

The statement went on to announce the UNCW track and field programs will remain on campus for the long term. Though the needs of the programs are many, Sartarelli says the teams have the full support of the university.

“By continuing to be strategic and playing on the strengths of the program, we believe the university’s existing resources will go further in supporting our student-athletes’ goals,” Sartarelli said. “The need for renovation of our facilities is very real but we are confident that, alongside the community and with continued support from our private donors, current and new, we will find the funds to address that need.”

Showing his personal support, Sartarelli stated in an email, “I am very proud of the work the university has done to make this possible. All of our student-athletes are passionate about representing UNCW with excellence, whether that’s in their role as students or as athletes. Their spirit and dedication are assets to this university and to our community…”

Matt Foster, a member of the men’s track team believes that this newfound support from the university will solidify the team’s success at the university.

“As far as fundraising goes, we just have to put our best efforts forward like last year. Having the new chancellor is really encouraging in that respect,” Foster said.

However, until things are more organized, the team will not be too focused on fundraising.

“There will be events but nothing has been totally figured out yet,” Love said. “But we basically are waiting for the coaches to get their team together and from there decide how to go about fundraising. Nothing is set in stone yet.”

UNCW’s track team has undergone several structural changes. Former Head Coach Jim Sprecher has taken up the head coach position at Lynchburg College and is set to be replaced by former assistant coach, Layne Schwier.

On coaching change, Love said, “Coach Schwier was announced as the new head coach and I think this will really be a wonderful thing. Coach Schwier has been an assistant for 14 or 15 years, I think, and he is really going to be a good head coach.”

However, Schwier’s new position is not the only change. The track team added a new strength coach, Adolfo.

“Everyone is excited to have Adolfo, our new strength coach, from the University of Florida,” Foster said. “Having a strength coach from that type of atmosphere who has trained all- American’s and national champions will add a whole new dynamic to the program, and I think we will be a small but extremely productive group.”

By small but productive, Foster is referring to the fact that some track team members left the team for more stable positions at other universities. “The remaining Seahawks are sad to see our teammates transfer,” Foster said, “but we know they made the right decision for their own athletic careers.”

“As a whole I think we are all excited and we are looking forward to having such a small group- I heard we have about 48 guys and girls on the roster. A small roster will allow the coaches to get more in depth with their coaching,” Foster said.