WASHINGTON – The Gallaudet University men's track and field program has made significant strides this decade, growing the program with intentions of becoming a respected, well-recognized NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field school. However, the program wants to maintain that family-oriented, small homely community feel where student-athletes and the coaches are united in both their personal and athletics ambitions to grow and succeed.
Head coach Byron Moore, in his second year as head coach, has bigger goals this year for his program, namely making his first trip to the NCAA Division III outdoor championships this May and has the program scheduled to host two outdoor track and field meets at Thomas O. Berg Track on campus this upcoming season.
A big part of the growth of the track and field program here has been the continued emphasis of the concept of 'family.' Moore has continually emphasized to his student-athletes to support and look out for each other whether it is on the paved lanes or in the classrooms. Despite the fact that a majority of the track and field events are individual-oriented, the Bison teammates have to continually reinforce each other and strive for greatness on a daily basis either competing alongside each other during daily practices or against fellow track and field athletes from competing schools at official meets.
"One of our goals this year as a program is to become officially recognized by the NCAA as an indoor track and field program and break Gallaudet University's 25+ years old 4x100 meters relay record," said Moore.
The school record has not been threatened since April 29, 1989, when the 4x100 team of Rohan Smith, Michael Cross, Jr., Eric Roberts and Phillip Nojoku crossed the finish line in 42.86 seconds at the Millersville Invitational meet.
"There is a lot of competition for these four relay spots, and it is probably going to be the fastest unit I've ever coached here yet," added Moore.
Highlight: Hosted the Bison Invitational Meet, the first home meet since April 1992. The Bison placed second overall.
Alex Close (Tallahassee, Fla.), Sr.
Close returns for his senior year as one of the team captains. He recently finished a strong campaign last fall with the cross country team where he earned All-NEAC second team honors. This season, Close plans on focusing primarily on the 800-meter run with ambitions of accomplishing a sub-two minute time. Close will also contribute on the 4x400 meter relay team and will be counted on as a role model and a leader.
John Isaacson (Clive, Iowa), Jr.
Isaacson is one of the captains on the track and field team. The junior hurdler looks to have a strong year after signs of improvement on the cross country team last fall. Isaacson will add the 110-meter hurdles event in addition to his 400-meter hurdles event this season. He hasn't run the 110-meter hurdles since high school, but Coach Moore is confident that he will post some solid times this year and help out the Bison in the team points category.
Toraneau Varice (Deerfield Beach, Fla.), So.
Varice, a rising sophomore for the Bison Track and Field program, has been touted as a potential breakout sprinter this season. He was a member of the Bison cross country team last fall season, which has greatly helped his strength and stamina.
Vianney Boum-Yamb (Silver Spring, Md.)
Boum-Yamb was one of Gallaudet University's premier sprinters the last four seasons, finishing his career with four school records (one outdoor, three indoor). He closed out his career on a strong note, finishing third in the 100-meter dash and fifth in the 200-meter dash in his final meet last season held at Salisbury University. However, Boum-Yamb will stay on with the program as an assistant coach, coaching the Bison's sprinters, jumpers and the relay teams.
Otto Kingstedt (Stockholm, Sweden), Fr.
The Swede runner is a newcomer to the Bison track and field program, however he is no stranger to GU as he had a sensational rookie campaign with the cross country team last fall. Kingstedt won the 2015 NEAC Men's Cross Country Runner of the Year as well as the Rookie of the Year awards. He will be participating in the distance events ranging from 3,000-meter to the 10,000-meter and could potentially break some long-standing school distance records this year.
Vicente Perez (Cicero, Ill.), Fr.
Perez, another Bison freshman, had a great season with the cross country team and earned All-NEAC first team honors will make his debut with the track and field program this spring. He finished second to Kingstedt in most every event last fall and is poised to have an impressive rookie campaign. Coach Moore commented that Perez's experience in distance events should greatly help as he will focus on the 5,000-meter run event this spring.
"I am looking forward to an exciting season this year. We have a lot of new talent to accompany returning veterans and I think there will be a good mix of student athletes to help put Gallaudet Track and Field back on the map." Byron Moore, Gallaudet University track and field head coach
- Indoor season opener: at Liberty University (Jan. 29-30)
- Outdoor season opener: at Salisbury University (March 5)
- Gallaudet University Invitational: March 26
- Captains Classic at Christopher Newport (April 15-16)
- Bison Invitational/Senior Day: April 30
- Salisbury University Elite Meet (May 20)
The Bison men's track team is looking forward to the upcoming competition of the spring schedule. The number of meets has greatly increased this season, as Coach Moore has made it a mission to go to 12 total meets (five indoor meets and seven outdoor) as a full team. There was a meet last year that was cancelled by inclement weather, so Moore is hoping to avoid the same this season by having backup meets scheduled in case. For the first time, the Bison have several two-day meets scheduled on weekends this season.
Coach Moore and the team are excited to travel to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., a Division I school for an indoor meet, and Salisbury University for the Salisbury University Elite Meet. These two well-reputed meets have added a higher level of competition to the Bison schedule that has raised expectation and motivation for the team. The program also plans on traveling to Susquehanna University three times in February for indoor meets as well as a trip to Frostburg State and two trips to Christopher Newport University in April.
In addition to the second annual Gallaudet University Invitational on March 26, the track and field plans on hosting a Senior Day event at the Bison Invitational on April 30 as a proper way to commemorate the seniors who have dedicated so much to the program the last four years.
"Some of our student-athletes have the potential to go to the postseason meets and continue their season; however as far as regional meets, especially here at home on campus, this would be the last one for them. This would be their last home meet, so I really hope that there's a great fan turnout and make it sort of a homecoming in the spring for these tremendous student-athletes," said Moore.
The 2016 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships will be held on May 26-28 at Wartburg College's Walston Hoover Stadium in Waverly, Iowa.