EMORY, Va. – Emory & Henry College will add men's & women's outdoor track & field as varsity sports in the 2018-19 academic year, Director of Athletics Myra Sims announced Thursday. Both programs will compete as members of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
The current offering of track & field as a club sport will continue in 2017-18 with varsity status beginning in 2018-19. Head Men's & Women's Cross Country Coach Ian Layne will also serve as the head coach for the track & field programs.
"Ian Layne, our cross country coach, has experience in track & field and will be able to help us get the ball rolling," said Sims. "We felt that we could lay the groundwork for a full track & field program by starting to phase it in now, beginning with distance events and throws. We hope that adding these programs will help us recruit additional students and aid with the retention of current students as well."
The track & field programs will be added in stages with distance events, shot put and discus as the first offerings. The distance events will include the 800-meter, 1,500-meter, 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. The sprint, hurdle and jumping events will be added over a period of time and as facilities become available and demand increases.
"I am very excited that we will be adding track & field as a varsity sport," commented Layne. "Many of our current cross country student-athletes competed in track & field while they were in high school and are looking forward to competing at the collegiate level. Also, most of our recruits are looking to compete in both sports. By adding track & field, we hope to increase the success of the cross country program along with creating new opportunities for student-athletes."
Emory & Henry first competed in men's track & field in 1977 as a charter member of the ODAC. The Wasps' last season on the track was in 1994, and over the course of those 18 years, the program won 28 individual ODAC Championships, a pair of ODAC Athletes of the Year and two ODAC runner-up finishes. E&H embarks on a new journey with the addition of women's outdoor track & field and will become the 10th ODAC school to sponsor the sport.
"I am excited about the new athletic programs that the College is supporting," added Sims. "E&H is committed to developing a broad-based athletics program that will provide opportunities to a wide range of prospective student-athletes. It is a high priority for the institution to build a new turf field and a track at some point soon. We are currently involved with an architect who is helping us to plan these new athletics facilities and we hope to finalize those plans later this spring."
With these additions, E&H increases its varsity sport offering to 20 with nine NCAA men's sports (baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field), nine NCAA women's sports (basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball) and the Intermont Equestrian IDA and IHSA teams. Emory & Henry was a charter member of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference in 1976.