Special: Team to add depth, diversity, coach says

The track and field team may be sticking with its guns in the 2006 spring season, but it is also looking to make some noise in nontraditional areas.Head coach Darryl Anderson said while the team will ride the legs of its sprinters through regular-season competition, the coaching staff is still working to develop depth at other events also.

“We’re looking for continued improvement,” Anderson said. “We had a good fall training, and I’ve seen a great deal of improvement. We just started in our recruiting last year to add diversity. We want to do that without weakening sprints, also.”

The team depth the coaching staff is focusing on may prove to be essential later in the season, especially against Mountain West Conference powerhouse Brigham Young.

“BYU is really deep,” Anderson said. “We’re two very different teams. They have a lot of kids. You can only bring 28 kids to compete at a meet, and they’ll bring 28 kids; 28 kids who can score points.”

Even though the team is divided by gender, the athletes are united in cause.

“Definitely we’re looking forward to the conference (championships) on the women’s side,” sophomore Virgil Hodge said. “The girl’s side is looking for the title.”

The men however, are still feeling the effects of last semester’s NCAA investigation.

“As far as the NCAA is concerned, we can compete in the NCAA as individuals, meaning we do not score in the points system,” Anderson said. “But we do garner national champions, we do garner All-American honors. Regardless of the rulings, Banda said the team is as close-knit as ever.

“As days go on we’re becoming more and more of a family,” Banda said. “That’s going to help us in the long run.