Men get ready to jump hurdle

Bobby Scott, Staff Writer

It may not be much to start with, but the roots have been planted to bring a Pitt-Johnstown men’s track and field team to life.

Athletic Director Pat Pecora has hired assistant women’s track and field coach Carl Keifer to become the inaugural men’s head coach.

Pitt-Johnstown has had a women’s track and field team for years without the reciprocal men’s team, but is now finally close to making the addition.

Six athletes have signed up for the team, which needs 14 members to compete as a team.

Keifer, who was brought in for the 2013 season to be an assistant on the women’s track team, has been coaching track for 30 years at both high school and college levels.

He started his coaching career at Pitt-Johnstown in 1983 and has most recently coached the St. Francis University Women’s.

Keifer’s most notable accomplishments are in coaching high school athletes to five section titles, four county championships and a district crown.

Keifer said he might have to put more focus on recruiting than a coaching role to increase the team’s members.

“We are looking for men who are interested in track and field and want to be a part of something,” Keifer said.

The six athletes are on the roster can compete as individuals, but will not be eligible as a team.

“Where we are going to build is off of cross-country (recruiting),” Keifer said.

“Cross-country will give us nine athletes. Those are your distance guys.”

The men’s track team is to compete alongside the women’s track team, who started their indoor season Jan. 19 at the West Virginia University Open, where the women competed as individuals.

Men’s track is just a minor piece to a bigger picture as the team’s formation is in its developmental stages, according to Pecora.

If the squad continues to grow, as it should, the sport could yield recruits for the other two sports that the university does not have because of the cross-compatibility of the three sports.

“(The start of the men’s track team) could involve three sports in one,” Pecora said, “a men’s indoor track team, a men’s outdoor track team and a men’s cross-country team.”