College of the Ozarks will add the men’s and women’s Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Program to their athletic roster, beginning with the 2016-17 season.
According to Athletic Director Steve Shepherd, the 2016 teams will be coached by Justin Carswell, who also serves as the College’s vice president for Christian ministries. Carswell competed in the long, high, and triple jump while attending NCAA Division I Baylor University and is the son of a Hall of Fame high school track coach.
“We are pleased with the College’s continued commitment to add sports which provide more opportunities for our students to participate in intercollegiate athletics,” Shepherd said. “With the addition of indoor/outdoor track, the total number of sports offered by College of the Ozarks will grow to 10.”
“I am very excited and humbled to work with the student athletes at College of the Ozarks,” Carswell said. “The athletic department has consistently shown its commitment to excellence over the years in all of its sports, both in the quality of the coaches and in its commitment to improving facilities. Bringing back track and field as another opportunity for students to be involved in intercollegiate athletics speaks to the College’s commitment to a well-rounded education of the head, heart, and hands.”
Shepherd said an indoor and outdoor schedule will be compiled in the near future for the coming season. A meeting will be held in the coming weeks to gauge interest of the current student body with regard to participating on the men’s and women’s teams.
“I’m excited to see the interest level of students and what hidden talent we already have on campus,” Carswell said. “I want our students to experience a quality training program that gets them ready to compete on the collegiate level. I believe we have some students who will be running at the NAIA National Championship next May.”
Dedication of outdoor track
On Tuesday, April 5, College of the Ozarks dedicated its recently renovated outdoor track in honor of Coach Robert Osburn. The School of the Ozarks Patriots will use the newly renovated facility for their spring 2016 season. It includes a rubberized track, new jump pits, and throwing areas.
“We have a new track, and with this nice facility, it is natural for the addition of the track & field program to follow,” Shepherd said. “The program is a great fit for us. It will integrate perfectly with our athletic and work programs at the College.”
College of the Ozarks had a track & field program previously from the 1960s to 80s, and Shepherd is pleased to see it resurrected after an almost 30-year hiatus.
For additional information regarding the College’s track and field program, contact Steve Shepherd at (417) 690-2569 or Justin Carswell at (417) 690-3446.
Pictured: Head Coach Justin Carswell