BY MEGAN KEIM
A new track and field season means something different to everyone on the team this year. It can either mean another chance, a better time or a last hurrah. But for athletes at MSUM it also means a new head coach and a transition into a new program. Whether it’s the last year of eligibility or the first year of college, competitors are in for an interesting ride.
This year marks Darren Schneider’s first year as head coach at MSUM. He has coached at Texas A&M, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater and University of Wisconsin- Plateville.
Schneider has been a head coach for around 17 years and has been very successful in the past. He is excited about his first season here and states that “improving a program is very enjoyable.”
With an improving program the season is full of opportunities and development.
Opportunity in Moorhead is one of the many reasons why Schneider moved his family up from Texas this season. Though he had been coaching larger scale programs in the past, he believes that MSUM has “potential to have a very good program,” and notes that his family will benefit from the opportunities that lie here.
It is Schneider’s first year coaching at MSUM, and he explains that he is an “optimistic person and believes the season will be a challenge but ultimately will be a great success.”
Keeping the eye on the prize is a way of motivating athletes, but according to Schneider’s new program the athletes are actually the motivators.
Mallory Stier, a senior thrower and captain on the team, likes the changes in the program. She explains that Schneider is “very into captains being motivators which is very different from last year, but now it’s more student centered.”
Being a captain for two straight years, Stier has a good view on how the seasons are different.
Stier said the transition between coaches was “rough at first because her teammates weren’t entirely confident in the new coaching situation” but now everything is “so much better.”
There have been many changes from the previous season, and the coaching staff is only one of them.
Stier comments on all of the changes Schneider has made, including new uniforms and warm-ups, but the strengths and weaknesses of the team have changed, too. Stier and Schneider both agree that the greatest change has been in the form of the dynamics on the team.
Stier said that the women’s team “struggles with some drama” but explains that it is mostly because “the team has gained a lot of new girls and is now a very young team,” so she is ultimately okay dealing with the drama because of the new talent.
Coach Schneider agrees with Stier on the talent on the women’s side but has a different look for the men’s team.
The men’s and women’s teams are similar but have some key differences. While the women’s team is very young and talented, the men’s team is simply struggling because, according to Schneider, “they lost a lot of key members.”
He comments about how young the team is but is positive that “everyone will be contributing to find success.”
Schneider knows that all 60-70 individuals are unique but has high expectations to how the season will go this year.
Schneider is not the only one with high expectations for the new season. Stier explains that she is “very excited about the season and has hopes to make it to nationals this year.” Stier talks about how she simply hopes to enjoy the ride of the season and is excited to see where it takes them.
Both the men’s and women’s teams competed at the Concordia Duals on Saturday.