Philadelphia, PA- Philadelphia University Athletic Director Tom Shirley and Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Coach Dave Thomas have announced that beginning in the 2010-11 academic year, men’s and women’s track will be added as a sport at the University. PhilaU currently offers 14 NCAA Division II sports and with the addition of track the official number of varsity teams will increase to 16. It is important to note that PhilaU will only offer track and not field.
“The chance to give more national exposure to our cross country student-athletes in their non-championship season was a decision based on overall student-athlete welfare,” said Shirley. “The addition of track will aid in recruiting, development and opportunities for our cross country runners.”
The University currently sponsors cross country as an NCAA sport, with the championship season occurring in the fall. The decision to add track as a varsity sport had much to do with helping cross-country athletes qualify and participate in the NCAA track championships in the spring.
“We’re excited at the prospect of competing in the spring at NCAA Track National Championships,” said Coach Thomas. “It will boost the overall caliber of our running program.”
In 2009-10, both the men’s and women’s PhilaU XC teams swept their respective Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) titles. Sophomore runner Sarah Simonetti became the first-ever PhilaU or CACC athlete to qualify for the NCAA XC National Championships, where she finished 54th (22:18) out of 184 competitors.