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The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Track and Field merges under one coaching staff

Eric Ford at Penn Relays in April 2022. PHOTO: MITCHELL SHIELDS ’22/THE HAWK

On June 24, the reconstruction of the men’s and women’s track and field and cross country programs was announced by director of athletics, Jill Bodensteiner. 

The new structure, proposed by Bodensteiner, merged the men’s and women’s programs under one coaching staff, led by Mike Glavin, now director of men’s and women’s cross country and track and field. The coaching staff is supported by assistant coaches Chris Tarello, Yvonne Harrison and Brian Hirshblond. 

According to Glavin, athletes will have more specialized coaching and more eyes on them during practice under this style, helping them improve technique and receive more direct feedback. Harrison and Hirshblond are focusing on sprints, hurdles and jumps, while Glavin and Tarello are focusing on middle and long distance runners. 

“The two of them collaborate weekly on the workouts that are best for all the male and female athletes depending on what events those athletes run and what technique they need,” Glavin said. “It’s not separated by gender, it’s by event.”

Despite the release of former women’s track and field and cross country head coach, Melody O’Reilly, the new structure offers a reconstruction of both the men’s and women’s teams, rather than the absorption of the women’s team under the men’s head coach. The women’s team has been open to the changes and understanding of how this process is meant to benefit them. 

“They have been completely supportive of the change, and they are all in as far as any feedback I’ve gotten,” said Glavin. “The feedback really shows in the workouts and the training and the attitude they bring to practice”.

Athletes from the women’s team have verbally expressed their support for the changes as well. Senior Darynn Minus-Vincent said that coaching from both Harrison and Hirshblond, focusing on a specific group of athletes, has offered a more personal approach to each athlete’s training. 

“I think we get two different perspectives,” said Minus-Vincent. “We cover all aspects of our training.” 

Operating under one set of coaches and practicing together has brought both teams together. Junior Eric Ford said he believes that it is not just the coaching staff that is responsible for the benefits the teams have experienced so far, but also encouragement between the runners. 

“Now we all feel like a unit,” Ford said. “Everyone’s working together, and we’re all pushing each other, and it’s been all really good vibes so far.”

The reconstruction has been an adjustment for both the coaches and the athletes but has already proven beneficial so far. Minus-Vincent said that the changes have benefited the athletes physically and have also caused a shift in the team’s mentality. 

“It’s obviously a big change with working out with the men,” Minus-Vincent said.” But the workouts have been great and the atmosphere overall has been really positive.” 

According to Ford, everyone on the team has been happy with how the shift in coaching and culture has led to growth and unity amongst the two teams. 

 “I remember on the first day, Coach Harrison and Coach Hirsch gave a speech and everyone just looked and smiled,” Ford said. “We are all super excited to see what this year has in store for us.”

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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