By Heather King, Staff Writer

UMF Track Team members (left to right) Molly Jack, Laura Pulito, Sarah Jenkins, Han Emery, Jaycee Jenckes, and Kayla Girardin (photo by Liza Buck)

UMF Track Team members (left to right) Molly Jack, Laura Pulito, Sarah Jenkins, Han Emery, Jaycee Jenckes, and Kayla Girardin (photo by Liza Buck)

The UMF Track Team recently received second and third place at the first ever North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship meet, held at Colby-Sawyer College.

The NAC held its first championship meet for all division three track teams, including Colby-Sawyer and New England College, which are the UMF Track team’s top two rivals.

For the women’s team, the meet was a conference championship, however, since the UMF track program is currently still club status, the women’s team was not eligible to compete for the conference championship.  There were four varsity teams scored for the championship, with the club teams being scored separately.  The women’s team finished second out of the club teams, with Castleton coming in first.

On the men’s team, the meet was considered an invitational, because there were not enough varsity teams to form a conference championship.  In order to have a conference championship, there needs to be at least four teams to be considered varsity status.  The men’s teams were all scored together, creating an invitational scoring format.  The men’s team tied with New England College for third place overall, falling behind Colby-Sawyer at first, and Thomas College at second.

Josh Wynne, a junior and member of the track team, was happy with the turnout of the meet.  “I was very pleased with the performance of both our men’s and women’s teams,” said Wynne. “We were competitive amongst teams that were varsity status.”

This meet was the first time every club in the NAC was able to compete against one another at the same time and same place.  Darine Gnidehoue, a junior and member of the track team, spoke highly of her teammates.  “Club-wise, we are probably the best out there,” said Gnidehoue. “I thought we would be amongst the top three, which did happen.”

Chris Roberts, a junior leader on the team, was excited by the results of the meet. “I honestly expected our team to do very well,” said Roberts. “Even though our program is young, the athletes within it have been very dedicated to their training, and are very focused on turning our club sport into a high-caliber, dangerous, and well-known varsity team.”

As the track team prepares to become a varsity team next year, they also prepare for an entirely new experience. “The team is looking promising, as the team is excited about the recently hired cross-country and track and field coach, Scott Hutchinson,” said Wynne. “On Sunday, we had a total of 25 student-athletes compete and I look forward to the opportunity of seeing our team roster increase with the transition from a club to varsity sport.”

The members of the track team have become very close throughout this whole process.  “I believe our closeness and family atmosphere that the team creates can only benefit us,” said Roberts.