HARROGATE, Tenn. — In addition to the arrival of men’s and women’s lacrosse at Lincoln Memorial University, this spring will also feature the first season of the bridge men’s and women’s track and field program at the school.
“LMU Athletics is excited to announce our sport-program expansion to include both men’s and women’s track and field,” said athletic director Roger Vannoy. “While we are beginning the programs by fielding only the distance running events for this first year or so, we eagerly anticipate the expansion to full track and field teams in the near future as the facilities are built.”
Current head men’s and women’s cross country coach Jeremy Donahue has been selected to lead the implementation of the track and field programs, which will be built slowly over time with supplemental increases in scholarship allotment on a year-by-year basis. In its first season, the Railsplitters and Lady Railsplitters will focus primarily on long-distance events with a select number of shorter races (800 meter, 400 meter, etc.). The eventual track and field complex — located adjacent to the northern entrance to campus — is currently under construction with a yet to be determined completion date.
“We’re real excited about the addition of the track program here at LMU,” Donahue said. “It’s something that as an athlete when I was here I would have loved to be able to have that opportunity to compete. Once I moved into the coaching role, it was something we started working towards a few years ago, of trying to get started on a small level.”
Coach Donahue noted that the start of men’s and women’s track and field, and the jump on additional long-distance athletes, will only strengthen the quality of the cross country squads.
“I think we’ve been able to go out and get maybe a little more depth this year for our cross country and now distance program on the track just because of kids that are excited to participate in both,” he added.
Like lacrosse, the presidents and athletic directors from the 12 South Atlantic Conference member institutions voted to install men’s and women’s track and field as championship sponsored sports in July, 2012. The first SAC Track and Field Championship was hosted by Lenoir-Rhyne last April with Wingate capturing the men’s title and Queens claiming the women’s. Lincoln Memorial will become the eighth program on both the men’s and women’s side to compete in the league’s championship event. Both the Railsplitters and Lady Railsplitters will take part in the 2015 championship.
“We’re excited to be competing [at the SAC Championship], to get our guys on the track competing, women on the track competing against the conference teams in the spring. We know right away that we’re starting small. We’re not going to be able to compete for a team championship, but we’re going to make our presence known with the individuals that we’re bringing there.”
The two teams are tentatively scheduled to begin the track and field season in January with several indoor events. The complete schedule will be announced once it becomes available.