The Sunflower

Wichita Shocker Track Club could use more sponsors

Sports Reporter

The Elite and Developmental teams of the Shocker Track Club have entered their third season and are still looking for sponsors.

 Because the club is a nonprofit organization, both teams would benefit greatly from community support, in the form of donations, sponsorships or passing along the athlete’s needs as they continue to pursue their dreams of post-collegiate track and field.

 To qualify for the Elite and Developmental teams, athletes have to go through a selection process that’s voted on by a committee of coaches and officials. Depending on the caliber of athlete, they will then be selected for either — or neither — team, in which case, athletes then have the option of running for the open team.

There are several former Shocker athletes that are now on the Elite team of the Shocker Track Club.

Former NCAA All-American Austin Bahner and his decathlon teammate Tobias Boise are the newest members of the Elite squad and know firsthand what it is like to go from competing on a sponsored track team WSU to competing as a sponsorless individual.

“So far the biggest challenge is financial aid,” Bahner said. “I am grateful that I have received partial aid through Shocker Track Club and Asics with gear and some travel expenses, but it’s still pretty tough at times.”

Unlike Bahner, Boise isn’t as fortunate to have sponsorships, which means depending on how he performs, he may or may not attract sponsors. Nothing is guaranteed in post-collegiate athletics.

Unlike competing with a team, everything is on the athete. Whether an athlete succeeds or fails is solely dependent on their everyday habits. WSU’s sprint coach John Wise, who’s also the head coach for the Shocker Track Club, said if athletes can stay on top of their training through the first year, they typically have a greater chance of succeeding through the years.

“What usually throws athletes off is having to schedule their own practice times in the midst of working and other off-the-track activities,” Wise said. “But through the years, I’ve seen athletes that were able to overcome some of these obstacles [and] sustain continued progress.

Bahner and other former Shocker athletes will continue competing this year and could use help within the community as they continue to pursue their dreams of the world championships and Olympics.

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