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Cairn Meets Track and Field?

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Cairn Cross Country Looks Forward

This April, Cairn University will embark on new territory by participating in its first Track and Field meet. The University has not recognized an official Track and Field Team. Instead, current Cross Country members, led by head coach Eric Bofinger, will be competing in a nontraditional season at the Gwynedd Mercy Twilight Meet.

Cross Country is a unique sport. Since Cairn University does not have a Track and Field team, the NCAA allows three days of competition during the nontraditional segment for the group (Division III 141). The Cross Country team is eager to utilize this rule. They also look forward to the possibility of a separate Track and Field team in Cairn’s future.

Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire
Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire

The Cross Country team isn’t the only one interested in the university having a Track and Field team. Sabrina-Rose Mason, a current Cross Country member, administered a survey through SurveyMonkey to measure student interest.

In the first survey, 100 participants answered questions. Out of these 100 participants, 35% answered yes to the question “If Cairn had a Track and Field Team, would you be interested in being a part of it?” The results also showed a variety of interests. Those who answered yes had interests including: Distance/Middle Distance, Sprinting/Hurdling, Jumping, and Throwing.

The results also showed that the Cairn student body would be supportive of the team. Over 90% of people answered yes to the following question: “Although I would not be interested in joining the team, I would still support the addition of a track team at Cairn.”

Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire
Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire

Starting a sports team at a University is an ambitious goal. The first step in this process is to prove to the administration, including the Athletic Department, that there is serious interest. A survey is a good start. But a more serious commitment will have to be proven before the school will move forward.

Commitment is one of the Cross Country teams’ strongest attributes. Current head coach Eric Bofinger has been coaching the team for eight years with his wife Katy Bofinger as Assistant Coach. The passion and persistence of Coach Bofinger was recognized this past season. The CSAC awarded him Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.

While Coach Bofinger was clear that the team is using this meet as a way to get their feet wet, he is looking forward to the possibility of Cairn legitimizing a Track and Field Team:

We hope that competition in Track & Field unites Team Cairn and some of our best athletes come out to participate. Over a million high school athletes participate in the sport of Track & Field each year. Track & Field ranks as the top participated in sport for women in the NCAA. In addition, Cairn has many students currently enrolled who have participated in Track & Field in the past and are anxious to be able to play their sport at the college level.”

Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire
Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire
Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire
Picture Credit: Robert MacIntire

Another Cross Country team member, Matthew Benedict, commented on Cairn introducing a Track and Field Team in the future, “A track team would allow for a variety of sports events and double as a training season for Cross Country runners.” He also commented that it could help recruitment efforts.

The CSAC is following a similar trend by adding men and women’s Track and Field to its sport sponsorships. In an article published by CSAC, Carmen Twillie Ambar, President of Cedar Crest College and chair of the CSAC Board of Directors commented, “The CSAC Board of Directors and I are thrilled to be able to provide a championship experience for our track and field student-athletes.”

Will Cairn University join the five other teams in the conference who sponsor Track and Field someday? The team is certainly looking forward with this goal in sight. Internally, the enthusiasm and support is apparent. And, after the competition date this spring, the team will have a better idea of how to accomplish these goals.

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