27 August 2019
Preseason has not even started yet, and the UCCS Track and Field program is already making history.
As summer comes to an end, the Track and Field program has finalized its roster of incoming freshmen, bringing in the largest group of newcomers in the program’s history. The list includes 41 names, and nearly doubles the number of athletes on the roster. This number includes men and women, and spans all events in the Track and Field sphere.
“Today is a great day to be part of our track and field program,” said head coach Ross Fellows in an online statement. “Our staff has worked diligently to sign the best recruiting class in our history, and it proved one more time that this program is here to stay.”
Three years ago, in the spring of 2016, former head coach Brandon Masters came to UCCS and started with little resources to build the Track and Field program. Since then, the team has seen exponential growth and repeated success at the conference and national levels. Last year, in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) outdoor championships, the UCCS women took first place, while the men grabbed second.
“We’re not extremely pleased with being second on the men’s side,” said Fellows in an interview last week. “We’ve got a goal of winning four championships in Track and Field this year. Men’s and women’s, indoor and outdoor.”
Fellows noted that this goal seems achievable this time around, with the expansion the team’s roster has gone through. The 41 athletes are replacing the three who graduated – one man and three women. He said that the new arrivals have what it takes to compete at a high level.
“Now that we have the success, we’ve got the facilities, we’ve got a great education here, the floodgates have opened,” Fellows said about the influx of new student athletes. “Now this is kind of like a destination for kids in Colorado. You didn’t used to see the kids from the Denver area coming south. Now they’re coming down here and they’re pretty excited about it. Colorado Springs is a great place.”
The new freshman class comes primarily from Colorado – 75 per cent, according to Fellows. Other students are joining the team from California, Texas, Arizona, Montana and Kansas.
Oumaima Hilal – known as “O,” according to Fellows – is one athlete who comes from Morocco, bringing with her two national titles in the women’s long jump. She joins the UCCS jumping crew, which is already ranked No. 1 in the RMAC.
“They aren’t just anybody,” Fellows said about the new athletes. “They’ve got good marks. They’re all great Track and Field athletes, they’re smart kids, and we’re going to train them hard.”
The goal of taking on such a large group, Fellows said, is to “fill the holes” in areas where the men’s team was lacking last year. This being the jumping events and the 400m dash.
“What we did is we went real deep in those areas,” Fellows said about the new arrivals that will fill the holes.
This year, preseason training begins for Track and Field athletes after Labor Day, and will begin until the first indoor meet in December.