TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 19, 2018) – Tallahassee Community College's cross country program has a sidekick.
The Eagles are adding men's and women's outdoor track and field to its athletics program, effective Spring 2019. Members of the cross country team made the announcement via social media after crossing the finish line of Saturday's NJCAA Half Marathon Championships.
"Adding track and field will be a boon for TCC's runners in multiple ways," said Tallahassee head cross country coach Gary Droze. "First, cross country and track are very complimentary, in that cross country builds endurance for track season; and the shorter track events build strength and speed, which gives distance runners another weapon.
"Second, having two sport seasons in a calendar year will accelerate the runners' overall development; and having NJCAA qualifying standards to aim for in track will motivate our student-athletes to pursue tangible, challenging performance goals."
The current plan is to focus solely on track, with events hosted by Florida State University and Florida A&M University certain to be part of the Eagles' schedule.
Tallahassee authored a soft launch of a women's team in 2018, with 2017 cross country state champion Meagan Giddens as the lone participant, but an injury limited her to just one event. That did little, however, to discourage the idea of providing a way for runners to transition from the trails to the track.
"This has been Coach Droze's vision from the time he accepted the (cross country) job," said director of athletics Rob Chaney. "We're very happy to provide the opportunity for these young men & women to continue running within the framework of NJCAA competition.
"The support and resources of the Tallahassee running community are second to none, and that's something we want to continue to use to our advantage."
Tallahassee will announce its 2019 track schedule at a later date.