Despite the announcement that their team will be eliminated at the end of the 2012-2013 season, the six men who are on the University of Richmond track team, but do not also hold spots on the cross country team, have decided to finish out their education at the university.
Even though the majority of the track team members are also members of the cross country team, not all students appear on both rosters. Juniors Richard Arnett, Thomas Smail and Austin Locke, sophomore Casey Taylor and freshmen Scott Sommers and Camden Cassels compete in events specific to the track and field program. They will not have the opportunity to continue their college sports career after this year ends.
"Our middle school and high school training all got shut down in one afternoon," said Cassels, a pole vaulter and javelin thrower who plans to train for the decathlon this season, an event that takes years of training.
"Being a freshman in college, I'm essentially a senior in my career," he said. "Instead of having two or three years to work on my weaknesses, I have to rush through [decathlon training] and get it done by May. One year really isn't sufficient time."
Locke, a shot put and hammer thrower, said that he had learned how to throw shot before he learned how to throw a baseball. His father went to the Olympic trials for shot put.
He said it was sad to see his career come to such an abrupt end; at least he would have expected it at the end of his senior year.
Despite the disappointment, all six of the men have decided to stay at Richmond. They each said that the fact that the team did not offer scholarships played a role in the decision. Everybody had to get in and decide on the school first, before they could be a track athlete, Smail said.
With their decision to stay comes the realization that this will be their last year of track and field events, so the men's focus is upon the indoor and outdoor seasons ahead of them.
The men have not changed their original plans for the season: Cassels will still train for the decathlon, Locke will switch from shot put to discus in addition to hammer, and Smail will continue as a mid-distance runner.
Arnett talked about taking three seconds off of his 400-meter time, which had been his goal to meet before graduation. It was still his goal, he said, but he would have to accelerate meeting it because he didn't have much time.
Taylor, Sommers and Casselswill all be training for their first and only season with the team.
"I loved track and field," Sommers said. "I was really looking forward to doing this for the next four years."
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Smail said the decision to cut the team had motivated him to work for top performance during every week of practice.
"It's tempting to sulk, but you can't give into that," he said.
The men all expressed frustrations about the elimination of their team and the manner in which they were told about cuts. "We're going to try our best to win and show that we don't deserve to be cut," Locke said.
Contact Collegian reporter Chrissy Wengloski at firstname.lastname@example.org
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