Success in any athletic program is something that both coaches and athletes strive for. The 2018-19 men’s and women’s track and field team here at MVNU are no different.
MVNU track and field was something that head coach Chip Wilson “knew” would be immediately successful and isn’t surprised by the teams’ performances. “Our first few seasons, we have competed at a high level, sending at least one representative to the NAIA Nationals each season since we began,” Wilson said.
He continued saying, “Our national qualifying team members reached their peak last season, when we had 10 student athletes earn this opportunity, and among those qualifiers we have had three NAIA All Americans in our first four seasons, and we look to add to that number this year.” One of those qualifiers who enjoys competing is national runner-up in throws, senior Mitchell Soviak.
“My favorite part of being on the track team is definitely competing and the atmosphere at high-level meets such as nationals,” Soviak said. Another one of those qualifiers is senior Rachel Gerber who enjoys the competitive team nature of track and field.
“I like having the opportunity to compete and train with those of similar age, at a competitive level within a sport,” Gerber said. That same competitive team level is something sophomore Kasey Keith also enjoys.
“What I love best about competing on this track team is not only the people and coaches that are a part of the team, but we all have the same goal, and that is being under the mentality that in everything we do, we do it for the glory of God,” Keith said. Sophomore Emily Weber shares Keith’s views on the team and coaches.
“The thing that I like best about running track is the team and coaches that I get to be around each day,” Weber said. Having teammates on the team that cheer you on is very important, and that is something that Keith loves.
“It truly is amazing when an athlete is doing their event and they can hear the roar of the rest of the team cheering them on with support,” Keith said. She continued saying, “The chemistry also is very good because we generally practice at the same time.”
The team encouragement is something Soviak sees as well. “I would say everybody on the team does a good job encouraging each other,” Soviak said.
The team’s encouragement is another aspect Weber enjoys. “We have a great relationship that makes it feel like we are one big family, and it doesn’t matter how busy a track meet is, the whole team is doing their best to be around to watch and support every single one of their teammates,” Weber said.
To get such a family-like atmosphere and a high-level competitive team built in only a handful of years isn’t that common. “We started our track program in the 2014-15 school year to help enhance the athletic programs offered by MVNU,” Wilson said.
He continued saying, “It seemed to be a natural fit as we have competed in cross country since 2006.” That fit has indeed been natural and has led to an abundance of success.
To achieve the amount of success that this team has achieved this quickly isn’t common and creates big expectations for a future that looks very bright. The future is something that Gerber knows will continue to be successful.
“I see great things for the track team in the future, and the coaches have continued doing a good job recruiting, and bringing in good athletes who help strengthen the program and returning athletes continue to strive to be better year after year,” Gerber said. Weber agrees there is a positive future ahead for MVNU.
“Over the past year, I have seen an extreme amount of growth, and I think that it is going to continue to grow strictly because of the positive attitude that we are surrounded by at all times and the amount of encouragement we get for our track family through everything, even situations that don’t have anything to do with track,” Weber said. Keith agrees that family atmosphere will lead to a bright future for MVNU track and field.
“There is definitely a bright future ahead for MVNU track and field; our coaching staff goes above and beyond for us and not only coaches us on our events but helps us develop character and coaches us to be in the real world as followers of Christ,” Keith said. Future program success is important to Wilson and “means a lot” to him.
“The expectations for the future are to continue growing our program with the same type of quality student-athletes that make up our current roster,” Wilson said.
Wilson continued, “We have built a culture of excellence in this program, and I can’t say enough how proud I am of all of our current and former student-athletes who have helped develop this track and field program from the ground up.”