Last year was a historical season for NSU track and field. Between the men and women, there were seven All-Americans, four individuals who qualified for nationals and the women were ranked in the top 25 for the first time in program history.
Head coach, Bryan Hagopian, was very excited for this season to start. The team did lose four All-Americans to graduation. However, Hagopian recruited 22 freshmen between the two teams and hopes they’ll make the program stronger. He said he recruited individuals who had a drive and were leaders.
“We’re looking strong,” said Hagopian. “We have some new faces on the team. We did lose some key people, but we’ve got some new kids coming in and I think they’re going to make a big difference.”
Vanessa Munley, freshman pole-vaulter, has been pole-vaulting since her freshman year of high school. She said her goal for the upcoming season is to beat her personal record, and she is glad she chose to be at NSU.
“My brother’s here. He’s one year older than me, and I came to visit. I ran into the coach, and he told me a lot about [the program]. The facilities are beautiful here, I met the track team, and I loved it,” said Munley.
Junior sprinter, Jessica Osteen, was an All-American last season and a member of one of the relay teams that qualified for nationals. Osteen said she enjoyed the experience and hopes to qualify again this season.
“It was awesome. It was different. We wanted to put the team on the map. It was a good experience,” she said.
Hagopian not only coaches track and field, but cross country as well.
“I was a distance runner, so I like cross country, but for me track and field is more exciting, because there’s more going on and you can interact [with the athletes during the events],” said Hagopian.
Hagopian said the goal for both teams is to finish with a higher ranking this season, and he wants to see more individuals qualify for nationals.
“[For the women’s team], I’m hoping that we’ll double that individual one. I hope we have about eight to 10 individual events and hopefully both of our relay teams. On the guys’ side, we [have] two [relay] teams and they both look good, so we might have a couple of men’s relay teams in there which would be the first time in school history,” said Hagopian.
The season began on March 2, and the NCAA Championships will start on May 24.