March 1, 2004
Baltimore, Md - Loyola College in Maryland will be adding women's outdoor track starting in the spring of 2004. Loyola Athletic Director Joe Boylan announced the decision on Monday, giving the Greyhound athletic program 17 Division I sports.
"We're very excited about adding another intercollegiate varsity program for our female student athletes," said Boylan. "We feel track will enhance our cross country program and give opportunities to a number of other types of athletes at Loyola to participate at the Division I level."
The decision to add women's outdoor track comes after a two-year review of Loyola's intercollegiate program and on the heels of the Greyhounds' first-ever Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) title in women's cross country.
"The recent success of our women's cross country program under Chris Bayless has certainly validated this decision," added Boylan.
In 2002, Loyola's women's cross country team recorded three meet victories, including a win at the Cross Country-Only National Championships, and then-sophomore Jackie Truncellito captured the gold medal at the 2002 MAAC Championships to become the first runner in school history to accomplish that feat. This season, the Greyhounds have already won four team titles, including the MAAC championship, and freshman Andrea Rovegno has garnered four individual titles as Loyola has earned a ranking of No. 13 in the Mid-Atlantic Region Coaches' Poll.
"The addition of women's outdoor track will have a huge impact on our cross country program as well as our athletic department as a whole," said Bayless, who in his third year at Loyola will now head the women's outdoor track team. "Over the past few years, I have lost a number of top recruits because we didn't have a varsity track program, but now we should start getting some of those high-caliber student-athletes that we couldn't before."
Bayless believes that his track team, which will compete in the MAAC along with 14 other Greyhound teams, will be strong in the distance and middle distance events in its inaugural season. The head coach also expects that the Greyhounds will fill in the weaknesses they may have relatively quickly.
"We need to be realistic and we'll start with baby-steps," said Bayless. "But there are a myriad of talented athletes at Loyola that were high school state champions in a number of events, including several current Loyola students that qualified for the Maryland high school state championships in sprinting events."