By Leah Boucher –Staff Reporter
The UMF Track Club has recently grown to over 30 athletes, creating a challenge for its Executive Board to strictly adhere to the $4,200 budget given for the winter semester. With the first meet of the season on December 9th, the team faces the stress of funding before they begin to compete.
Instead of coaches taking on the responsibility of the club, students on the E-board are in control of finding transportation, lodging, and calculating the costs of each meet while trying to stay under budget. Ben Toribio, President of the club, knows that the increase in team size this semester will force them to make some changes in order to stay within their funds.
“During the last indoor track season, we had around 20 athletes, allowing us to take school vans or local buses to meets,” said Toribio. “However, now that we are pushing 30 members, we need to look for other ways to transport the entire team without spending thousands of dollars on a coach bus.”
Jesse Enos, Vice President of the club, has the job of finding out what, how, and when the team will spend the money, forcing him and Toribio to make the decision to cancel the original first meet on December 2nd.
“To my knowledge, I don’t think the budget has changed drastically since last year, but more members means more equipment, gear, and entrance fees,” said Enos. “Plus, after looking for a coach bus to Smith College for two days, it would have put us out of $3,500, which made it fiscally irresponsible to attend that meet with our budget in mind.”
Kirsten Corey, Secretary of the Track Club, is sticking with a positive outlook on the season due to team growth. “When looking at our overall team goals for the winter semester, I do not expect that our limited budget will interfere with reaching them, as more members give us a stronger team,” said Corey. “Ultimately, our goals for indoor are to train and prepare for the NAC championship meet in the outdoor season, so even if we have a meet or two canceled, we can still prepare just as hard in practices.”
Enos believes that if the indoor club was instead a varsity sport, they may have more money to work with to attend meets in Massachusetts and other states in New England.
“Right now, it’s disappointing that we can’t attend more meets in various states, as this gives us more competition to work with and build from,” he said. “If we were a varsity sport, our funding would come from tuition, but as a club, most of our money comes from the activity fee that all students pay as well as any fundraising we take on, limiting our choice in meets in connection with their distance from UMF.”
Although the team will compete in Maine for the majority of their meets, Corey doesn’t want this to discourage new members. “Most of our new athletes are freshman, and they have a lot of potential and put a lot of work into each practice,” she said. “As a team, we need to support them and stress the importance of their talents and efforts.”