Mar 13, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff WriterThe Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees on Wednesday endorsed a plan to add men's and women's cross country and men's and women's golf to the roster of athletic programs at the school.
Steve Barlow, CWC's assistant dean for student services, said he would contact the National Junior College Athletics Association on Thursday to request the additional sports. He anticipated that the organization would approve the request.
"They said, 'Just let us know when you do it'," Barlow said. "Hopefully it's that simple."
Cross country and golf will be added to CWC's current roster of sports which includes women's and men's basketball, women's and men's rodeo and women's volleyball.College president Jo Anne McFarland said those programs also will benefit from the athletic expansion, which will be coupled with stronger support for CWC's existing teams.
"It makes no sense to me to add new sports while some sports that we currently have are, quite frankly, underfunded compared to other colleges with which we compete," she said. "Our effort is to more adequately support our current intercollegiate athletic programs as well as add the golf and cross country in the fall, with other possible expansions that we've outlined to happen in a phased approach."
Barlow said CWC could realistically field a soccer team by 2016.
"That's another sport that has a lot of support," he said.
Cross country and golf should bring more immediate benefits to the school, however, and the cost to initiate the programs is low. Plus, Barlow said, residents seem excited about the sports, which are popular with area students.
"We can bring our local kids right here and put them on our athletic teams," Barlow said. "I believe we have enough good runners around here we can get a top-five score (at cross country competitions). And Riverton and Lander both won state golf championships."
The Riverton High School boys golf team won the Class 4-A state title in September in Rock Springs under the direction of coach Lars Flanagan --a member of CWC's new booster club along with Kort Kinney, Wendell Richardson, Mike Yowell, Ricci Larsen, Owen St. Clair, Jim Conrad and CWC Board chair Charlie Krebs.
The Lander Tigers took the Class 3-A boys title in golf.
In cross country, Wyoming Indian students have won eight straight Class 2-A state boys titles, and the WIHS girls are perennial contenders as well. Lander Valley High school also has a good cross country tradition.
Krebs said it would be nice if the new teams at CWC got off to a winning start this fall in order to attract a local fan base.
"And I think we can," he added. "We do have golf and cross country in this county. We have some really good athletes."
Trustee Heather Christensen wondered whether the Riverton Country Club had been contacted about use of the facility by the CWC golf team. Barlow said he hasn't made a formal request to the country club board, but he did not foresee a problem.
"We can practice (at) whatever time the country club will allow," he said. "They assured me they'll offer us pretty close to the same accommodations they do the high school, which is very good."
Administrators plan to hire head coaches and assistant coaches from the community or college staff using stipends rather than creating new, full-time, benefitted positions.
CWC student leadership has voted to approve the addition of the new athletic teams with financial support. The students supported an additional $1 fee on every credit, with the money providing the majority of the annual operating costs for both golf and cross country.
Both sports offer fall and spring competition.
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