Track, field complex covers new ground

Athletes, alumni and university representatives gathered around an untouched track and field complex that will be home to the Catamount men’s and women’s track and field teams on Oct. 15. A dedication and official opening ceremony were held at 9 a.m. The $2.5 million facility is located at the Archie Post Athletic Complex. The nine-lane track, along with jumping pits and areas reserved for the field events such as javelin and shot put, overlooks the Green Mountains. Speaking on behalf of the University during this momentous event were Shane Jacobson, vice president and chief operating office for the University of Vermont Foundation; Tom Gustafson, vice president of UVM Student and Campus Life; and Dr. Robert Corran, UVM associate vice president and director of athletics. Track and field head coach Matt Belfield spoke in favor of the event as well. Senior track and field athlete Chris Lemieux and former track and field athleteAlanna Jones, class of ‘00, spoke on behalf of the students and athletes.  Lemieux said he had been waiting for this moment for four years. He was “so stoked” about this occasion, he said. Excitement for upperclassmen athletes to experience the new track for their last year inspired younger athletes. “It’s so exciting to see the fruition that has finally come,” said Esther Nemethy, a first-year track and field athlete. “The best part is to see the senior athletes so happy. They have been waiting for four years for a new complex like this.” Upon the conclusion of highlights and recaps, the ribbon-cutting ceremony commenced. Jean Post Lamphear, daughter of UVM track and field coach legend Archie Post, and Jim McDonald, a donor to the project, assisted in the ribbon cutting. Cheers erupted as the ribbon fell to the ground. A commemorative first lap was taken and the new track was officially opened. A 5k run followed the ceremonies, beginning and ending with one lap around the track. The track and field program had been lacking a facility for quite some time. The last time UVM hosted an outdoor track meet was in 1997 against UNH, according to UVM Athletics. Senior track and field athlete Alexa Mazur recalled her experience as a first-year arriving at UVM only to find out that there was no outdoor track facility “I know that as a recruit, on my official visit one of the things on the very short list of cons of UVM was the lack of an outdoor facility,” Mazur said. Despite the lack of practice facility, the track and field teams set 11 school records in the 2010-2011 season, according to UVM Athletics. The Catamounts will host their first track and field meet in 15 years at the new complex in April 2012, according to UVM Athletics.