Sonoma State University welcomes the return of its women's track and field team this month after a seven-year hiatus.
The team was disbanded in 2007 to make way for the more popular women's golf team in 2007. Bill Fusco, Sonoma State's senior director of intercollegiate athletics, says the women's track and field team was eliminated at the time because of the need for improvement of the track facilities and a lack of interest from students and the struggle to recruit athletes.
Sean Fitzpatrick, head coach of Sonoma State's women's cross country team, is head coach of women's track and field team. Carly McCready, former cross-country runner for Sonoma State, is assistant coach.
"I am so excited that SSU is strengthening our school and our athletics program with the addition of women's track and field," says Fitzpatrick. "This will open the door for us to have more opportunities to recruit more athletes that enjoy doing both cross country and track. With the addition of track and field, both programs will benefit since it will allow the student-athletes to compete and train year round."
There has been an increase in interest from students wanting to participate in track and field in recent years, says Fusco. He credits this not only to the sport itself but also to the improvements the campus has seen since 2007, including the new student center, recreation center and residence halls.
Fusco also says the reintroduction of a women's track and field team helps the university meet Title IX gender equity goals concerning athletics. The women's golf team, which originally replaced cross country, will remain intact. There are now 14 NCAA teams at Sonoma State (nine women's, five men's).
Sonoma State Athletics hopes to improve the condition of the track in the future, but for the time being the team will have access to Santa Rosa Junior College's facilities in Santa Rosa.
The team's first invitational meet of the season is February 28 at Humboldt State University. See http://sonomaseawolves.com/schedule.aspx?path=wtrack for a complete schedule.