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Track and Field Added as New Varsity Sport for 2017

Track and Field Added as New Varsity Sport for 2017

The athletic department at Mary Baldwin College has announced the addition of outdoor track and field as an official varsity sport. The Fighting Squirrels will compete in the spring of 2017 under the guidance of head coach Heather Shutt Ely.

Athletic Director Sharon Spalding has been working to add track for a number of years. Under her leadership, the MBC cross country program has been competing successfully for 13 years at a high-level, therefore adding a track and field option for athletes was a natural progression for the athletic department.

“I am so happy to see us add outdoor track to the varsity sports at Mary Baldwin. It has been a program that I have proposed for many years. As cross country coach from 2007-2014, I knew that outdoor could attract more prospects and make the cross country team stronger,” said Coach Spalding.

With the addition of track, Mary Baldwin expects to see a corresponding bump in overall admission numbers. “For a women’s college, track is the only sport where we can attract large numbers for a roster. There are many sprinters, jumpers, throwers who apply each year and with the addition of track we will have a varsity sport for those ladies also,” said Coach Spalding. Colleges and universities that offer a full running program (cross country, as well as track and field) are more attractive to prospective athletes who are accustomed to competing 2 or 3 seasons each year in cross country, indoor, and outdoor track.

Head coach Heather Shutt Ely is thrilled with what the future holds for the Fighting Squirrels. “This is an exciting time of growth for Mary Baldwin. Coach Spalding has laid the foundation, and I am grateful to her for the opportunity to build this new program.”

Coach Spalding added, “I am sure that under Coach Ely’s leadership we will see success from both cross country and outdoor track.”

Currently the athletic department offers six different varsity sports in which student-athletes can participate. With the addition of track & field, Mary Baldwin joins a host of other USA South Conference schools that also have track & field programs. While there are not enough schools to host a conference championship at this time, it is anticipated to be moving in that direction. Individual athletes can also qualify individually for the NCAA Division III National track and field championships, to be held in May 2017.