Rhys Williams/Staff Writer
Behind the tennis courts and the press box of the FIU softball field, there is an open field with a few trees laid out for landscape purposes. This is one of the locations that has become home to part of the track team. It is where Assistant Coach Ryan Heberling’s throwers practice shot put, discus, javelin and hammer throw.
Starting November in the Modesto A. Maidique campus, there will be a groundbreaking for an official track and field facility around the soccer field. Until then, the track team still has to travel to track at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Fla., about a 40 minute commute each way.
Having a two hour commute can hamper the team’s practice hours, especially when they travel to the complex two to four times a week. That is roughly eight hours dedicated to commuting a week, not to mention time spent in practice.
The lack of a facility has long been a hindrance for the squad, also cutting into the team’s chances to land big name Division I recruits.
The team was competing at the Florida Pepsi Relays in early March.
“A few years ago, we couldn’t compete with the University of Florida and Florida State University in getting those topnotch recruits. Now we can, but we would definitely be able to get more if we had a track on campus,” Heberling said.
The Panthers will travel to UF for the Tom Jones Memorial Classic on April 20. After, the following meets are the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Pa., which start on April 27, and the Sun Belt Conference Outdoor championships, which begin May 10.