Mills Adds Track and Field for 2008
For the first time in over a decade, Mills College is adding a new sport to its list of intercollegiate athletic teams. After testing it out as a PE class this spring, Track and Field will be added as a Mills team to the already existing Cross Country, Rowing, Soccer, Swimming, Tennis, and Volleyball teams.
According to a 2006 NCAA report, Track and Field is the second most popular sport for high school women, with 439,200 female athletes and 15,417 schools competing in the sport annually at the high school level.
"The appeal of track and field is so large that there is great potential for bringing new students to Mills with the addition of this team," said Head Cross Country and Track Coach Laura Davis. Davis noted that there is also the added benefit of providing another spring training option for fall sport athletes.
The Track and Field PE class met twice a week this past spring, and included Mills cross country, soccer, and volleyball athletes, as well as some new students who had not previously taken part in a Mills sport. Those in the class practiced and competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 100m high hurdles, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay, shot put, and discus. The class competed in track meets around the bay area, including UC Berkeley's All-Comer's meet, SF State's Johnny Mathis Invitational, Chico State's Chico Twilight, and the Sac State Open meet.
One of the highlights of those meets was seeing Sophomore Rebecca Frank win the shot put against other collegiate and open athletes. Frank tops the Mills Best Performances List with 31'40" in the shot put and 107'4" in the discus. She was given the team's Lady Cyclone Award at the season's end for showing exceptional leadership on the team, never missing a practice or meet, and embracing what it means to be a Mills Cyclone.
Other notable performances included Katie Northcott's 13.78 finish in the 100m at SF State and Sally Espinosa's 30.24 finish in the 200m at Sac State Open. Lupe Cazares's 3000m race at the Chico Twilight also deserves notice; even though it was raining and she had not run the race since high school, Lupe ran a new personal best time in 11:46. Other Mills women who graced the track were Cierra Sing, who ran 6:07 in the 1500m, and Isidora Jaminez, Perla Cantu, and Nicole Hudley, who ran within seconds of each other in the 800m, a new event for all of them. Courtney Booker and Mayra Padilla also had some strong performances in the discus and shot put, and showed improvement over the course of the season.
Since the Track and Field PE class was not yet a Mills team, all of its athletes competed as open runners (that is, they did not wear a team uniform and competed as individuals, not as part of a larger team). One of the benefits of this was that the coaches got to jump in some races with their athletes. Head Cross Country Coach Laura Davis functioned as the Head Track and Field coach, while Assistant Cross Country Coach Bianca Hovda and former Mills Cross Country runner Emily Warde functioned as volunteer assistant coaches. All three women competed in track meets this spring: Laura finished in 5:11 in the 1500m and 11:29 in the 3000m, Bianca finished in 6:03 in the 1500m, and Emily finished in 27:19 in the 5000m.
Congratulations to this year's Track and Field class, who helped lay the ground work for Track and Field to become a team! The 2008 Track and Field team will begin practicing in January, and will include all of the events listed above. Laura Davis will continue as the head coach, and practices will be held at the Skyline High School track, on the trails of the Oakland hills, and on the Mills campus.