Kokanee swim up 2001-2002 stream without sports
For the first time since 1993, student athletes at Lake Tahoe Community College this fall won’t be able to yell “Go Fish.”
LTCC has decided not to offer cross country running and Nordic skiing for the 2001-02 school year because of waning student interest. Over the past half-decade cross country running and volleyball barely fielded enough participants to compete.
“They’re not gone, they are put on hold,” said Lori Gaskin, LTCC’s vice president. “It’s an inactivation until we get a new facility put up and assess the interests of students relative to intercollegiate athletics.”
The reality of being sportless again is demoralizing to some students.
“It’s definitely a letdown. I just went back to school and this is my opportunity to go back to competition and enjoy it,” said Doug Cichowicz, who competed on the cross country skiing team last winter and planned on running for Terry Adams-Schmidt’s cross country program this fall.
Cross country running was prepared to venture into the new school year by itself, just as it did in 1994. However, Schmidt and her runners learned of the shutdown earlier this week.
“I don’t see any reason for it to be canceled, so I don’t know when they would want it back,” said Mary Buck, a second-year student who was planning to run for the Kokanee for the first time. “All there is now is a jogging class, and it’s not close to this (sport). I hope they realize it takes away from the energy of the college.”
Gaskin is aware of this, but feels the communication network at the school will alleviate this tension.
“We’ve consulted with the student representatives and faculty at the college and they are aware and understand the rationale behind it,” Gaskin said.
Adams-Schmidt, who coached the Kokanee runners for five years, said recruiting impediments kept her from strengthening her program.
“They wanted 12 runners,” Adams-Schmidt said. “I get few recruits moving up here and the rest are walk-ons. We’re going to be brainstorming and seeing what might bring more people in.”
LTCC began offering sports in 1994, starting with cross country running. Volleyball was added in 1995 and cross country skiing provided the school with its first winter athletic offering in 1998.
Proposition 1A is allowing LTCC to build a new gymnasium and cafeteria. The $8.8 million expansion project is in the foundation stage and is scheduled to be completed by September 2002. The new gym will include locker rooms, a full-length basketball court and markings for regulation volleyball and badminton matches.
It’s an asset that will very likely thrust LTCC back into collegiate sports.
With upgraded facilities, LTCC plans to survey students as to which sports they’d like the college to offer in the future.
“Are these three sports the most viable?” Gaskin said. “It’s going to give us pause to stand back and make sure the things we’re doing are right in terms of student interest and in light of the new changes brought about by the new facility.”
Obviously, basketball and volleyball come to mind pending the completion of the new gym.
“The facility is going to change recruiting for our women’s volleyball program,” Gaskin said. “Once we have our own gym where we can practice and play our matches, (it will be easier to recruit players).”
An insufficient volleyball turnout halted that program last fall. Only five players were recruited and not enough walk-ons were added to save the program.
LTCC dropped the cross country skiing program after coach Susan Lannoy resigned following last season.
“If we can’t have someone out recruiting a (skiing) team right now, we’re not going to have a viable team during the winter,” Gaskin said.
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