Distance runner helps TCC launch track and field team
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
When the administrative discussions were over about the next sports that Tallahassee Community College should add, Rob Chaney figured having a track and field team would be a no-brainer.
Having a track team shouldn’t be difficult to piggyback on the popularity of running in the city, he said.
“It’s definitely another positive step,” Chaney said. “Young men and women see us growing the department; it’s a way to create new opportunities. It’s just an extension of being a part of a strong running community.
He didn’t have to look far to get the program going – although it’s what he considers a “soft launching” with just one runner.
Meagan Giddens is now the face of the new track program. The former Taylor County High soccer player turned runner had already established herself as a formidable cross country runner on a women’s team that TCC started in 2016.
She now has hopes of walking on to the FSU team and figures representing the Eagles as an only runner has its advantages. It will help her make the standards that would improve her chances of becoming a Seminole, she said.
“It’s a lot of commitment,” Giddens said. “I have to train year-round and put in a lot of miles.”
She has already started preparations for the season with Garry Droze, who coaches the Eagles’ cross-country team. She will make her debut in track and field, competing at the middle distance and 5,000-meters, Droze said.
Giddens’ official debut is set for the FAMU Relays later this spring.
Her work ethic is good enough for her to turn in competitive times during the season, Droze said. He harkened back to last fall when she won the junior college Region 8 state title with the TCC team at a meet where she wasn’t favored.
“She is not afraid to try to push as far as she can in terms of her best,” he said. “She doesn’t shy away from hard work. She is not afraid to put in the work to get to the next level.
“She is absolutely up to the task to make the most out of the talent that she was handed.”
While the plan is to have Giddens represent the Eagles in as many meets as possible, Chaney said it all will be part of a study of the logistics and cost of running a track and field team.
“We want to have a full-fledge track team and this allows us to jump into it even a little bit more,” he said. “It’s something that I have put out there but we just have to know we have all of the logistics in place.”