Women’s track and field will begin its first year in the SCIAC with about 20 new athletes joining the team. Head Coach Anna Wlodarczyk and Assistant Coach Brett Halvaks will lead the tentative roster of 40 athletes separately between practices.
“I haven’t seen any athletes compete, but from the times I’ve seen on paper and reviewing what some of the returners ran last year, I think the women’s team can surprise some people this year,” Halvaks said.
There will be twenty athletes returning this season, making a much larger team than in previous years.
“I know the team will be a lot bigger this year than ever before, which is really exciting, because that means we have a lot of potential,” said junior Ema Solarova, who competes in the triple jump and long jump. “I’m really pumped for the season, but I don’t really have a guess on how we’ll do, since I haven’t met all my teammates yet.”
Senior Peyton Collins will be returning, a highlight for the track and field team.
“I’m really rooting for Peyton Collins to break her own 400m hurdles school record from a few years ago,” Solarova said. “It would be so well deserved and a great way to end her career at Chapman.”
The two coaches will split team practices between them, with Halvaks coaching the distance practices in the morning and Wlodarczyk coaching sprinting and jumping in the afternoon. Practices will take place at the Wilson Field and El Modena High School.
“One thing I’m really looking forward to is practicing at the track field at El Modena, which we will be renting for the first time this season,” Solarova said. “This is really exciting for me as a jumper because the Wilson Field does not have a jump pit, so this will be my first season at Chapman that I get to practice my event fully.”
The team’s first race will take place Feb. 16 at the Pomona-Pitzer All Comers meet.
Chapman does not have a men’s track and field team, but a stipulation of Chapman joining the SCIAC was that this program would be added within three years.