Life in community college athletics is typically rebuilding nearly every year. Every so often a team will have more than half the players coming back and when they do they usually look for a banner year.
But this year at Barton Community College is a bit, well, out of the ordinary.
The entire athletic department has about 60 sophomores returning from last year. That is all the sports combined. Think about this for a quick minute.
Barton has 11 ‘returning’ sports. Wrestling is a new sport so we won’t count it. Combining track and cross country as one sport there are on average less than six kids back for each sport.
The number of freshmen athletes on campus this year – nearly 250. I know wrestling has upped the numbers and they are all new but that number is staggering.
In my close to 20 years working with 2-year programs I can’t remember a year with that many new kids. Barton athletic trainer Ken Henderson has been at it even longer than me. He is in his 35th year at Barton and says it is the first time he has seen anything like it.
Those are record numbers at the school for freshmen athletes. Granted wresting changes that quite a bit but take away wrestling and that freshman count would still be a record high.
Most of the coaches seem be good with that for this year. The sophomores that are coming back, while small in number, tend to be important pieces to their teams.
Let’s hope there is a lot of quality in that quantity of freshmen.
Volleyball will be the first to trot out the large class of freshman when they travel to Lamar, Colo. this weekend for tournament action.
Men’s and women’s soccer will get started within the week as well.
Cross Country will not start tomorrow as had been previously reported but will instead start on Sept. 5 with a trip to Augusta and the JK Gold Invitational.
The men’s and women’s golf teams will tee off their fall season later in September.
The IAAF World Track and Field Championships is just around the corner. The event kicks off Saturday and runs nine days in total.
A handful of former Cougar athletes will take part in the game headlined by the trio of Tyson Gay, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Leevan Sands.
I will get everyone up to speed with a short preview on that event tomorrow in the Tribune.
The football pads went on the high school teams yesterday. That means summer is now official over. Enjoy the fall.