Through competition, the college
enjoys long-standing, friendly rivalries
with other institutions. Engagement
with the public at large, which is
enhanced by local media coverage of
the teams, draws the college and the
community closer together. This is especially true when the team mascot plays a
role in educational outreach. These mascots relate well to younger students in
elementary school, bringing the college
to life for them in powerful ways.
Connectivity also is enhanced when
teams participate in community service projects together. Activities such as
shoveling snow and serving meals keep
our student-athletes grounded and civic
engagement reminds them of the role we
all play in society. Community members,
many of whom would not otherwise
come to campus, will show up to support
athletic teams who have engaged them.
Athletics plays a pivotal role as a key
enrollment management tool, particularly for rural colleges. Athletic recruiting
complements the general recruitment
strategies of the institution, reaching
additional populations of prospective
students. Coaches must seek and bring
talented individuals together into teams
and prospective students are often drawn
to the opportunity to continue competing
in the sport they love. Doing so provides a unique option for postsecondary
education for them, opening doors that
may otherwise have remained closed.
Through athletics, students learn unique
teamwork and goal-setting skills. When
executed well, team members encourage
one another to remain academically eligible while performing to the best of their
Institutional recognition for academic success, such as team grade point
averages, as well as their athletic win-loss records, is paramount. Successful
student-athletes are able to transfer to
four-year institutions to continue their
collegiate careers. On occasion, former
student-athletes, now alumni members,
may go on to compete professionally.
These positive role models encourage
others to follow in their footsteps.
The fledgling cross country program
at Trinidad State has created a new
transfer pathway. The team at Adams
State University, which is co-located
in Alamosa, is a national powerhouse
in the sport, competing through the
National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA). At least one student-athlete
from our original cross country team
now successfully competes for this local
university. His success has encouraged
others to follow.
SUCCESS BEGETS SUCCESS
Cross country competitions led
seamlessly into indoor track and
field, which was quickly followed
by the outdoor season. Because this
sport is so individualized, one of
our gunsmithing students asked for
permission to compete in the jave-
lin, which he threw in high school.
He practiced alone and competed
as part of the track and field team.
Unbelievably, he placed and earned a
spot at the national championships.
The gunsmith who became a field star
was an unexpected and especially
sweet ending to the storied rebirth of
running at Trinidad State. One college,
two great campuses. All Trojans.
Carmen M. Simone is president of Trinidad State Junior
College in Trinidad, Colorado.
“Athletics plays a pivotal role as a key enrollment
management tool, particularly for rural colleges.”
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