Fayette, IA (KWSN) - Upper Iowa University will reinstate the Peacock women's indoor and outdoor track and field programs, effective for the 2015-16 academic year.
"Women's track and field has a strong and positive history at Upper Iowa University, and we are pleased to bring it back as an option for current and future Peacock student-athletes," said President William R. Duffy II. "The caliber of student-athletes who compete in track and field will be an asset for our university, and we look forward to these young women becoming UIU leaders inside and outside of the classroom." Women's indoor and outdoor track and field are the third and fourth programs to be reinstated by the University since UIU became Iowa's only NCAA Division II university.
The Peacock women's tennis program returned for the 2006-07 season and earned a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championship in 2008 and a berth to the NCAA Regional in 2009. UIU's women's cross country program returned to the course this past fall and placed ahead of three NSIC teams at its first NCAA DII Regional."
The Peacock Athletics Department is proud to expand its intercollegiate participation opportunities to deserving student-athletes on behalf of Upper Iowa University," said David Miller, UIU Director of Athletics. "We look forward to our women's indoor and outdoor track and field teams participating in the highly-competitive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and providing them with a positive student-athlete experience consistent with the philosophy of NCAA Division II." UIU suspended all of its cross country, track and tennis programs for men and women following the 2003-04 academic year as the University moved up to the NCAA Division II.
In total, the NSIC will have 15 members competing in 2015-16 including Upper Iowa and the current 14 members; Southwest Minnesota State University just wrapped its first season of competition in this past winter and spring. "We are excited to be able to bring life back to the initiatives of former Peacock leaders with this announcement," Miller added. "We have put together a five-year plan for full implementation of the two track and field programs and the recruitment of 50-60 quality student-athletes to the Fayette campus. We are excited to begin the development of two successful programs within the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and NCAA Division II."
Historically, Upper Iowa University reorganized and developed its track and field and cross country programs into a full-time part of UIU Athletic programs in 1983 under the leadership of then newly-appointed Athletic Director Don Butterbaugh. Previously, the University had relied on student-athletes from other Peacock athletic programs to compete in track and field and cross country rather than recruiting student-athletes solely for those programs. While slow to develop, the program grew. The Upper Iowa women's track and field program has seen a number of quality student-athletes compete for the Peacocks as the top marks in its record book span more than ten years of results from competition as a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.
Nate Rucker, who led the women's cross country through its first season in the NSIC and NCAA Division II, will be the Head Women's Track and Field Coach as well.