Commentary: Winning conference championships an annual thing for indoor track team

It is an exciting time to be a Roadrunner. The basketball teams are fighting for seeding in next month’s Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament and baseball and softball are playing well early in their seasons. While these sports are in various stages of their season, the men’s indoor track and field team just won another conference championship.
The indoor Roadrunners have made winning a tradition, and they have continued that tradition this weekend by winning their eighth consecutive conference championship at the WAC Indoor championships in Albuquerque, N.M., from Feb. 21-23.
The Roadrunners bested UT-system rival UT Arlington by finishing the event with a school-record 159 points, 22 better than Arlington, who had entered the day 19 points up on the Roadrunners.
It was their first conference championship in the WAC, a conference they will leave in July for new challenges in Conference USA. The previous seven came while the Roadrunners were members of the Southland Conference.
The eight consecutive indoor championships are part of the successful tradition of UTSA’s track and field programs, both men and women. Since the founding of the track and field program in 1982, the Roadrunner track athletes have won 33 conference championships while being members of three different conferences.
In addition to their eight straight indoor titles, the men have also claimed four outdoor championships in the Southland (most recently in 2012) and eight cross-country conference championships in the Trans American Athletic Conference and the Southland Conference.
The women finished second this weekend to rival Texas State. In their history, they have contributed 13 conference championships to the university. The Roadrunner women haven’t won a conference championship since the 1997 Southland outdoor event, but between 1991-97 they were dominant, winning three straight indoor championships from 1992-94, five outdoor (1992-94; 96, 97) and five cross country (1991-93; 95. 96).
The 33 conference championships won by the UTSA track program are the most by any sport on campus. Yet there is hardly any mention of their accomplishments on campus. We should be proud that our school has been so successfully represented by the track athletes.
To show that pride, we should celebrate the track team’s winning tradition in the same way we celebrate the championships of our other teams. It could be simple as a banner hanging in the Convocation Center next to the exploits of our volleyball team as well as those of the two basketball teams.
Perhaps when the track stadium opens at Park West they will showcase the accolades won by UTSA’s track athletes. For now, at least, there ought to be some recognition of our track team in a highly public location such as the Convocation Center.
We should celebrate these Roadrunners for their accomplishments in the last eight years, and we should also remember the winning tradition on which they are building with each successful conference championship victory.
They are just as much Roadrunners as the football team or the basketball teams. The track-and-field Roadrunners are also the most successful Roadrunners. They should be celebrated as such by their school.

Stephen Whitaker
Managing Editor