California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University needs to prioritize building a track

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Infographic by Ca’ren Franklin – Digital & Multimedia Editor
“The professional team pays a significant amount to lease North Field. This revenue has been crucial in these fiscally tough times at the university and enables us to offer more services and programs to more students,” Interim Director of Athletics Howard Davis said in an email interview.

California Lutheran University needs to prioritize building a track to fully support its track and field programs. 

Within the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, Cal Lutheran is one of two teams without a facility to accommodate its track and cross-country teams. 

Having no competition or practice facility forces the members of these teams to drive themselves off-site to Moorpark High School, something I have to do multiple times a week. 

“The professional team pays a significant amount to lease North Field. This revenue has been crucial in these fiscally tough times at the university and enables us to offer more services and programs to more students,” Interim Director of Athletics Howard Davis said in an email interview.

If this revenue is being used to offer students more “services” then how is it justified to take services away from an entire team of students? 

Last year the teams had a meeting with the athletic department administration and were shown renderings of a possible practice facility. Since then, they have heard little to nothing about updates in progress, planning, or development. 

The coaching staff believes that a competition and practice facility would propel the teams into better competition with other institutions within the SCIAC. 

“I think having our own facility on campus will put us on par with the best institutions in our conference and make us competitive,” Assistant Coach Daniel Tustin said. 

Calculated with a gas price of $5 per gallon, an average miles per gallon of 13, and a travel distance of approximately 6.5 miles (the distance between Cal Lutheran and Moorpark High School), it costs about $2.50 each way to drive between the schools. 

If an athlete drives this distance six times per week in a 16-week season, it would cost them $240 to attend practice.

How does it make sense that a collegiate athlete (who is already paying to attend a university) has to pay to practice a varsity, National Collegiate Athletic Association level sport? 

In previous years, the Cal Lutheran track teams were able to utilize the dirt and grass of North field for practices. This field is now off limits to the teams since it was leased to Angel City Football Club Los Angeles professional women’s soccer team. 

How can an institution that claims to fully sponsor and care for 22 varsity athletic programs, give away one of these programs only onsite practice facilities? 

The track and field programs, which have produced numerous national champions and All-Americans, have been told for years that the construction of a track is a “priority” for the school, yet no progress seems to have been made.

Davis said that building a track is a priority for the athletics department, yet members of the team have little belief that anything is being done.

First-year track team member Crystal Rosales said she doesn’t believe Cal Lutheran is truly trying to provide a space for her team. 

“To an extent they are, they’re telling us they’re trying, but I really don’t think they are trying,” Rosales said.

“No not at all, I feel like there have been so many empty promises. I’ve heard so many different things regarding a track being built,” sophomore team member Kendall Fleming said.

Obviously, I think the overall solution to this issue would be to build a competition and training facility for the track and field programs. However, this cannot happen overnight, and would require numerous amounts of funds and construction. There are still short-term solutions to aid the track team in their competitive endeavors. 

I believe, providing the Cal Lutheran track teams with financial compensation or transportation to offsite practice areas would heavily ease the stress faced by athletes due to the lack of facilities. Additionally, allowing athletes to use and access North Field (now used by Angel City FC) would allow for some on-site training, again easing the stress felt by athletes and coaches.

The athletes of these teams have continuously been given scarce information regarding the project, honesty and distinct timelines from the administration would ease concerns about the team’s future and prove it is truly a priority. There is a difference between saying a project is a priority and making it one. The Kingsmen and Regals of Cal Lutheran track and field have been told numerous things, over many years, surrounding the details of this project. 

I believe that the administration of Cal Lutheran Athletics needs to step up soon and show their support and prioritization of these teams, instead of showering them with empty and unfulfilled promises. 

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