Sterling College, on Craftsbury Common, is known for its small size, its agricultural and environmental programs, and its liberal philosophy. It is not known for its sports teams. In fact, until now, it didn't actually have any sports teams to speak of. But that all changed this fall, with the creation of two teams.
Sterling College is now home to a shooting team – part of the campus Hunter-Gatherer Club. And last weekend the Sterling College mountain and trail running team competed in its inaugural race.
Never heard of a collegiate mountain and trail running team? That's because Sterling's team is also the first of its kind, at any U.S. college.
Since running is an individual sport, and there aren't any other college teams to compete against anyway, the Sterling athletes enter existing regional races as individuals. The team's first race, on Saturday, was the 10K Jack London Trail Race in Nashua, NH.
"Sterling College proves that being community-oriented and supportive doesn't mean we can't be competitive," said Allison Van Akkeren, faculty in Outdoor Education. "Each race is a personal challenge, and students will be able to support each other through these challenges."
And once the trail running season is over, Sterling College will field its first Nordic ski team, a collaboration with the Craftsbury Outdoor Center.
Adrian Owens, Sterling faculty in Outdoor Education, said, "The ski team will not only be able to take advantage of the Craftsbury Outdoor Center's trails, but we have great trails right on campus as well." He added, "The team is a great opportunity for students to explore the self motivation needed for individual endurance sports."
The Sterling Nordic Team will work with Outdoor Center coaches as well as Sterling College faculty, and will have the opportunity to ski in Division 3 collegiate competitions, as well as local and regional races.