MOUNT PLEASANT – After a ten-year hiatus, Iowa Wesleyan College will field varsity men’s and women’s cross country teams for the 2009-10 school year, it was announced today by IWC athletics director Mike Hampton.
“We’re quite happy to announce the reinstatement of men’s and women’s cross country,” Hampton said. “This is something we’ve looked at for a number of years now, and we felt now the time is right to bring the programs back.”
Cross country will return to IWC ten years after being phased out as a varsity sport. The sport was dropped in April 2000 due to low student-athlete involvement, which made it difficult to sustain productive teams. However, the possibility of eventually bringing back the program was always left open, and the sport has long been appealing to Hampton because of its natural pairing with track and field.
“We’ve looked at cross country for a number of years as it matches up well with men’s and women’s track,” Hampton said. “We felt it was time to bring it back to help complement the men’s and women’s track program. By adding cross country we also anticipate strengthening our track programs.”
The men’s and women’s cross country programs will be the thirteenth and fourteenth varsity athletic teams at Iowa Wesleyan College, joining football, volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s track and field, baseball and softball.
Cross country is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) sport holding its championships in the fall. Like all IWC teams except for football, the cross country teams will compete in the Midwest Collegiate Conference.
IWC is the second MCC member school to recently announce the addition of cross country, joining Viterbo University, which announced in October that it is adding the sport for the 2008-09 school year. Iowa Wesleyan will become the seventh school in the MCC to sponsor men’s and women’s cross country, leaving Ashford University and Waldorf College as the only schools without the sport.
“This is another exciting announcement for the Midwest Collegiate Conference,” said MCC Commissioner Rick Sanders. “We continue to try and expand our sponsorship of sports, and the scope of the Conference. This is another great step in that direction. I am certain that Iowa Wesleyan will add to the list of outstanding accomplishments already compiled by other MCC cross country programs.”
Hampton said the school will begin searching for a coach for the program in the spring, with the intention of having a coach in place for the beginning of the 2008-09 academic year. The coach will then have a year to recruit and build the program before beginning competition in the fall of 2009.
For more information regarding the IWC cross country programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact athletic director Mike Hampton (319-385-6303 phone), sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com.