Brenau's Deishane' Honeycutt runs the anchor leg of a first place 4x400 relay during the final day of the SSAC Outdoor Track & Field Championship. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Let’s Take It Indoors

Shortly after university and city officials gathered in April around the Crow’s Nest on the historic Gainesville front campus to officially commemorate the naming of Golden Tiger Way, the four-year-old Tigers track and field team shot out of the blocks for a road trip to Mobile, Alabama, for the Southern States Athletic Conference outdoor championship meet. The toddler-age team came home with grown-up stats: a fourth-straight SSAC title; the fourth-straight coach-of-the-year-accolades for a Brenau team skipper; the conference Field Athlete of the Year title for junior Aubrey Fearnow from Arnoldsville, Georgia; Freshman Field Athlete of the Year accolades for Ayana Daniels from Snellville, Georgia; 17 Golden Tigers on the SSAC All-Conference selections because of first-place finishes in championship events and seven on the second team; and nine on the SSAC Academic All-Conference team.

The team would go on to finish 15th in a field of 66 teams at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics 2016 Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championships, the university’s highest ever placement at the event. Two seniors turned in All-American performances, with SSAC All-Conference selection Olamide Sokunbi of Marietta, Georgia, coming in second in the triple jump and fifth in the 100-meter dash and Deishane Honeycutt of Stone Mountain, Georgia, finishing sixth in the 500 meters.

“Based on how we’re competing right now, I could kick myself that we didn’t already have indoor track,” said Brenau Athletics Director Mike Lochstampfor, who in 2013 started the Golden Tigers track and field program. So, in 2016, he corrects his short-sightedness with the addition of the indoor sport starting next fall when indoor competitions occur.

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics considers indoor track separate from outdoor track, so the team will become Brenau’s 14th athletics unit. The university recently announced the addition of lacrosse, which will be the 15th unit, slated to put players into training during the fall semester of 2017, with competition beginning in 2018. Currently, the Tigers participate in cross-country (which has some cross-over participation with track and field), soccer, volleyball, basketball, swimming, softball, golf and tennis. In addition to competitive cheerleading, Brenau has spirit cheer and dance teams. Also, there are junior varsity squads for basketball and softball.

Currently, 145 schools participate in NAIA indoor track (compared to 175 in outdoor track), with competition running from November to March.

The addition of the fall sport will not require the university to recruit a full team of new specialists, since the seasons do not overlap and athletes can participate in both the indoor and outdoor sports. Lochstampfor expects the track and field team size, now numbering 27, to increase by five to 10 athletes.

The Tigers’ outdoor team will compete at the new athletics park when it’s complete, but there are no plans for indoor track facilities.


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