The SNHU outdoor track and field team won their first championship on May 7 (image courtesy: Brian Foley)

On May 7, SNHU’s track and field team accomplished what every NE10 team hopes to do: win the NE10 championship.

Since its establishment in 2015, the team has grown from a club sport to a regionally ranked Division II program. The core of this team has been together since the fall, competing in cross country, indoor track and field, and now, outdoor track and field.

All year, SNHU rode in the coattails of American International College, who took home the NE10 championships in both cross country and indoor track and field. The Penmen prevailed this spring and now look to build upon their success going forward. Head coach, Lex Butler, has been with the team since its inception and is a major reason for the team’s continual growth.

“It’s a special team,” said Butler. “They really came together as a group. It’s a very well-rounded team and is still relatively young, as well. From indoor, being runners-up in the championship, I think that put them on notice that we can compete with anyone in this league. They had a new focus, come outdoor, to do their best, and take home a championship.”

The success of the team not only comes from the talented group of athletes, but from the bonds formed between them. “A lot of it is that they like to [succeed] for each other,” said Butler. “It’s a selfless team; they don’t want to let their teammates down and [want to] do their best for their teammates. That had a real positive thru-line for the entire team to put the team before themselves.”

Butler looks forward to seeing how this year’s successes and hardships will influence the upcoming season. “It felt really good. Our cross country season didn’t end as well as we had hoped it would,” said Butler. “In indoors, we were runners-up by ten points, which was our highest finish ever, but still felt a little disappointing for some of the members of the team. To finish on a high note with a championship really adds momentum going into the summer and into cross country next fall.”

Going into Regionals this weekend, SNHU is the number one ranked team in the East Region, according to the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) InfoZone: Polls & Rankings Hub. The Penmen look to further their season and qualify for Nationals, which are being held at Grand Valley State in Allendale, MI, from May 26-28.