On track for more growth: IU East to add track and field

November 3rd, 2009

They’re on their mark. They’re set. And in the spring of 2011, the Indiana University East track and field program will be a go.

IU East has announced it will add a varsity outdoor track and field program starting with the 2010-11 school year. The Indiana University East Faculty Senate during its Nov. 3 meeting approved a resolution to add a track and field program.

“This is one sport people have been talking about for some time,” said IU East Chancellor Nasser Paydar. “We are delighted to be able to bring it here. This complements the programs we already have.”

IU East Athletic Director Mark Hester estimates 60 student-athletes will participate on the IU East track and field teams.

“The addition of track and field is huge,” said Hester. “It is going to allow us to double our number of student-athletes. It will help the cross country program immensely. And it will add to the spring sports we already offer.”

Red Wolves cross country coach Pam Mertz will coach the distance runners on the track and field team. Hester said a coach for sprints and field events will be named soon.

Mertz doubled as a cross country and track and field athlete at Ball State University and is glad IU East student-athletes will get the same opportunity.

“I am very excited about IU East adding track,” Mertz said. “I have had a lot of IU East students ask about track for several months.  It will be nice to finally say ‘yes’, and ‘when do you want to sign on?’

“By adding track and field, several doors have opened up for IU East.”

Some current IU East student-athletes will compete at select track and field meets in the spring of 2010. Recruiting and scheduling will begin in earnest to have the new Red Wolves track and field program ready for a full season in the spring of 2011.

The addition of men’s and women’s track and field will bring the total number of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) varsity sports offered at IU East to 10. IU East offers more NAIA sports than any other IU regional campus.

 “We have the largest number of sports among IU regional campuses, and that shows our commitment to athletics and health and fitness,”  Paydar said. “We are also paying attention to academics, so the faculty was involved in the approval on the program.”

The Red Wolves currently compete in men’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s cross country, and men’s and women’s tennis.

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