The Chapman track and field team is amid its 2016 season, with several Panthers setting their personal bests at the team’s multi-dual meet April 2 at the University of Redlands.
Among those personal bests were junior Mitchell Bouldin in the high jump and 100-meter dash, freshman Philip Bui in the 800-meter run and freshman Cole Cedric in the shot put for the men’s team.
The women’s team also saw personal bests from freshman Courtney Justus in the long jump, freshman Josie Chan in the triple jump and junior Cathryne Ramirez in the 1,500-meter run.
Chapman’s track and field team is now beginning to be competitive in its conference, largely due to the Chapman team’s size. When Chapman added a men’s track and field team last year, the full roster expanded from 22 athletes in 2014, to 32 in 2015 and now 41.
“The numbers are huge,” said Assistant Track Coach Rick Glenn. “With track, the bigger the number, the better you’ll do.”
Glenn said that adding the men’s team was particularly important in helping to recruit for the men’s cross-country team, as it allows athletes who overlap between the two to train in the offseason.
“It has helped us out with cross-country as far as guys getting in shape in the offseason,” he said. “Before, when we only had cross-country, it was hard to recruit people because we didn’t have a track team for them to compete in during the spring.”
Senior sprinter Lauren Deats said that track has become more enjoyable for her since the men’s team was added.
“We have more people to cheer for and cheer for us at the meets, and I think that this support is essential for a successful track program,” she said.
Glenn echoed Deats’ thoughts.
“Having a guys and girls team, it makes it more of a fun group to hang out with. Other than swimming, it’s the only co-ed sport on campus, so there’s a lot of camaraderie with the guys and ladies,” he said.
Chapman does not have a home track and field facility that can host meets, so the team currently practices at El Modena High School in Orange.
While Glenn doesn’t see a facility being built in the near future, he thinks it’s possible to have a regulation track put into Wilson Field.
“I think based on the land and space we have, it would be really hard to add a facility large enough to host meets. The desire is there, but we don’t have the space,” he said. “It is possible to put in a three or four lane practice track so we can practice at Chapman, and that conversation will happen in the future.”
Glenn also pegged Bouldin and Deats as athletes to watch this season.
“This season I want to finish No. 1 in (the conference) for the long jump and No. 1 in the 100-meter sprint,” Bouldin said. “I have been improving my 100-meter time a little more every time, and I am so close to being at the top.”
Deats missed all of last year after tearing her ACL, so her goals for the season are a bit different than Bouldin’s.
“My times have been slower than they were in the past, but I have been improving each week,” she said. “My goals for the rest of the season are to continue improving my times and to enjoy my final season as a collegiate athlete.”