Sports preview: A host of new athletic programs next year

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William James
The Broadside

The landscape of the Intramural and Club Sports program will be changing at the start of the 2012-2013 academic year for Central Oregon Community College.
The new programs and clubs will be introduced fall term 2012 and will provide more options for the students of COCC and Oregon State University-Cascades.
The new programs will include running, track and field and triathlon according to Matt Plummer, director of Bobcat Racing, who will be heading up all three programs.
“Now we’re really focusing on just these sports,” said Plummer. “The opportunity that Bend has to be successful with these sports is just huge. I really see these sports as a good draw for high school students graduating or college transfers.”
A rugby club will also be introduced next year upon approval from program director Bill Douglass. Unlike intramural sports which have a more informal setting, a club sport like rugby will demand hard work from all the players from the start according to head coach Woody Bennett.
“Three of my guys have played before,” said Bennett of his 22-man side. “All the rest of them are new. Most of them are in my P.E. class, however, so it gives me more time to work with them.”
The funding for these new sports including the Rugby Club will come solely from the Club Sports program, directed by Douglass and Matt Greenleaf.
“The  funding hasn’t been approved just yet,” said Plummer. “But I expect it will be before the year is over so that we can be prepared for next year.”
Leadership by faculty could serve to provide stability for those sports and ensure longevity as well, according to Plummer.
“With me in charge, I think that we can have consistency starting right now,” said Plummer. “I think that it provides stability as opposed to students who might be transferring or graduating so that the leadership doesn’t change over on a constant basis.”
Activity was on the low end for the cross-country and track programs last year, with the biggest meet last fall only attracting around ten students. Participation this year is expected to be fairly high especially for the non-equipment sports like cross country running and track, according to Plummer.
“On the other hand, stuff like cycling and Cyclocross and cross-country skiing you absolutely need the equipment for,” said Plummer. “I think that those sports are geared towards students who have participated before.”
In the future, Plummer hopes to make the intramural program an outlet for students to hone their athletic skills and increase COCC’s profile within collegiate athletics.
“What my dream is, is to make COCC a highly competitive institution as far as athletics in general,” said Plummer. “I don’t know that we’ll accomplish that next year, but I definitely think we’ll put COCC back on the map.”

(Contact: wjames@cocc.edu)

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