The Prince George's Community College Track and Field team has established a name for itself in the short period of time in its existence. Their performance in last year's NJCAA Division III National Tournament last year led to five athletes finishing in the top four in six different events. Four of the athletes also ended with All-American honors at the end of the tournament. This season, PGCC Track Team will look to emulate the success of last season and advance further than any other community college team in history.
Coach Richard Johnson believes that this year's success will continue to improve the school's name in both athletics and academics prospective. He believes that it is important for his players "to uphold the standard of athletic that has been developed in the last 3 years."
"The athletes here at PGCC realize and understand the college being recognized for their strong academic achievements," Johnson said. "But the track students, for the past three years of the team's existence, have been on a mission to show that they are equally talented as a Division I athlete."
This year, the team will mark the return of four athletes from last season to help continue the team's growing success. One of them will be sophomore All-American Mark Davis, who impressed everyone in last year's National Tournament by finishing 1st in the 400-meter hurdles. Returning to the team as well are Amanda Gibson, Danielle Green and Talisha Eads, who will be the primary focus for the women's side.
As the team's success and popularity rises, interest has grown significantly. This year's team features 95% freshmen runners with a majority of them based on interest, according to Coach Johnson. Some of the runners that joined the team are: Stuart Rose, Leon Etherly, Mark McDowell, Issac Carr, Todd Gleaton and Juan Taylor, Akintayo Akintunde, Tyler Savoy, Sonia Smith, Robin Williams, and Donisha Butler.
With the inclusion of all the talent that has been brought in, Coach Johnson doesn't think the team will have just one runner be the star."
"This year it is hard to point out on one or two athletes," Johnson said. "The team as a whole has a great season to look forward to, I will be depending on my returning runners to step out and carry the team toward their goals for the 2011-12 season."
In the fall, the team has participated in several tournaments all over the region, including the NJCAA Region XX Division III Cross Country Tournament, preparing for the Spring Track season. Establishing themselves as a regional powerhouse in a short period of time, the Track team set themselves towards the main goal, a national championship. However, Coach Johnson sees the team completing another goal this year as well.
-Article by Mario Amaya From The Owl Newspaper