by Brenna DeLucia
With The University of Tampa’s men’s and women’s track 2020 season soon approaching, the athletes are excited to see what the new year holds for their teams.
As for the women’s team, the team did well as a whole last year, even though it is more individually based than a whole team. Last season, the team struggled with multiple athletes suffering injuries, so the team is hoping for the best and is looking forward to everyone remaining healthy this season.
Women’s track head coach, Jarrett Slaven, has coached both the track and cross country team at UT for 20 years.
“The women’s track team was initially established to keep the cross country girls in shape [during their off-season], however we now have sprinters on the team but we do not have field events and we do not have the field facilities,” said Slaven.
Even though the team does not utilize any field events, they attract many other schools to their invitational track meets and are going to be hosting their first race of the year this coming weekend, Friday, Feb. 21, and another one on Friday, Feb. 28. Both races will be held at 6 p.m. at Pepin Stadium on-campus.
“My best memories [while coaching at UT] are three of our girls making All American status. It is always exciting when some of the athletes qualify for Florida Relays and some of the other big invitationals,” said Slaven. Jarret Slaven, along with the rest of the women’s track and field team, hopes to have some of the athletes qualify for those meets once again.
Senior sport management major, Lexi Bible, is looking forward to finishing her collegiate career running for UT’s track team. “My favorite memory while being on the track team is all the friendships that I have made over the years and my first collegiate win freshman year in the mile at Embry Riddle,” said Bible.
While thinking back on all her memories competing for UT, she is feeling excited to be able to build on her accomplishments for one last season, while also feeling downhearted about it being her last season running for UT. “I am most excited for this season because it is my last one and I want to go out feeling accomplished,” said Bible. “I have some high goals set that I am working towards so I’m excited to jump into the meets soon and get started.”
Another senior looking forward to her last season competing on the women’s track team, communications major, Madison Mimnaugh. Mimnaugh only started competing for UT last season after transferring from Bloomsburg University, but it was quick for her to fit right in and begin competing.
“It was an adjustment [transferring from another school] at first, but the team was super welcoming so I got adjusted right away,” said Mimnaugh. Even after her short time at UT, Mimnaugh made many memories competing for the track team.
“My favorite memory had to be when I got my personal best in the 1500m at UNF,” said Mimnaugh. She, along with her other teammates, are looking forward to beginning the season and starting to compete once again. Mimnaugh is extremely excited for the meet at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania because it is so close to her home and her family will be able to come watch her race and cheer her on.
As for the men’s track team, many personal and university records were set last season and the team plans on building on those records this year. The university confidently believes in the team and hopes that many other athletes have the ability to set records again this season.
Junior physics and economics double major, Trevor Kattenberg, had one of his most memorable experiences competing for UT’s track team last season, and can’t wait to build on what he has already accomplished this year. Last season, Kattenberg was fortunate enough to break 15 minutes in the 5k, which is something that he had been working towards his whole track career and said “it felt amazing to achieve.”
Kattenberg also said, “Last season we weren’t as deep as a team. Last year I was the only [runner on the men’s team] that ran under 15:10 in the 5k, but this year we expect five [athletes] to hit that time.”
With all that said regarding the women’s and men’s track teams, it looks like it will be a very promising season for both teams this season and the university is looking forward to seeing what accomplishments they can achieve this year.
Come out and support your fellow spartans at their first track meet Saturday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m., held right here on campus at Pepin Stadium.
Brenna DeLucia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org