Hurdling Expectations: Track & Field’s Nauman Settles into New Role
Photo Courtesy of Maroon Athletics
Article Written by David Hall
Spring has sprung and with it Roanoke’s track & field team, which began its outdoor season on Saturday at Washington & Lee University’s Track & Field Carnival.
There were notable performances by senior athletes Kerri Dalton and Claire Brooks and sophomore Paige Olausen, who all placed first in their respective events.
It’s track & field’s first outdoor season with new head coach, Kirk Nauman. Nauman holds a glowing optimism about the team’s potential reinforced by a combination of factors. According to Nauman, those factors range from world class facilities, thanks to the new Cregger Center, as well as less obvious attributes only a newcomer would notice.
Nauman said the college’s inviting atmosphere sells itself to potential students, attracting those from across the country who are not only good athletes and good students, but most importantly, good people. Nauman said that if his athletes embody these three attributes, it makes for a successful team. Nauman also mentioned the change in climate helps, as he came to Roanoke from frigid Minnesota’s College St. Scholastica.
And if growth is to be regarded as an indicator, Nauman is on his way.
The track team’s numbers off the track (and the field) are on the rise with 63 students this year, up from 45 students last year. Nauman said he hopes to have the team in the 70-member range by next season.
With this growth, Nauman said he hopes for equally big results, a women’s ODAC championship in three years as well as team-oriented improvement from the men who have a long history of individual success, but less group victories.
With a new multimillion dollar indoor track to help and a track & field tradition that stretches back to 1895 at the college, that adds up to pressure for the still young head coach.
All this pressure seems to sit calmly on Nauman’s shoulders, whose unassuming midwest candor exudes a stoic confidence reminiscent of basketball coaching giant Gregg Popovich.
The team’s next test will come Friday and Saturday when Roanoke travels to Lynchburg College for the Dr. Jack Toms invitational.