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This page is contains thoughts and comments from the current captains of the Men's Track Team
(Though elected by our teammates to represent them, the views represented on this page are not necessarily the views of the entire team)



03/28/04


We're back!! Fantastic, I wasn't sure it could happen. Before I get into anything else I'd like to thank all of the talented and passionate Alumni who I regard as the driving force behind our reinstatement, Jim McDonald, Peter Weith, and Coach Ed Kusiak, your support has been incredible thanks so much.

I was in California when I heard the news. Though as I mentioned in my last posting I suspected we might hear some good news, I wasn't sure what to expect and had no idea of when to expect it. As the day grew later I received no less than 6 phone calls from friends who were equally elated about our return. I checked my e-mail that night to find my inbox flooded with even more reports and written shouts of joy from so many others. I suppose that when you spend 3 years of your life angry and complaining about something you feel is unjust and it gets turned around there is a great need for you and those you love to radiate happiness from every fiber of your being. The greatest testament to why it was so important to bring this team back however is because of that network created and because of the size of the collective that was sharing in that joy. Friends spanning my 6 years of involvement with the program contacted me that day. And I shared with each one of them the satisfaction of feeling that a wrong had been righted.

I relish the thought of being able to once again throw my support behind the University and team that were my second home and family for such an important period of my life. When Dan Fogel took the helm at UVM I was impressed. Here is a man with vision, he might not win agreement from everyone, but he's looking forward, and challenging everyone around him to stretch him or herself, challenge each other, and push the limits of what we can achieve. In many ways Dan Fogel epitomizes what I tried to model as an athlete, captain, student, and now as a coach and teacher. I'd like to thank both he and UVM's new AD Bob Corran for being courageous enough to not simply leave a sensitive subject alone to settle, but to listen to the impassioned arguments brought forth and to act when they saw what needed to be done.

I would also like to express my regret and sadness over the loss of Tennis, Men's Swimming, and Golf as Varsity sports at UVM. I know the pain of losing your program, and while it's not the end of the world it can certainly seem like you've been abandoned, taken for granted, and passed by despite your numerous athletic accomplishments and contributions to the University. Hopefully someday we can have all of our sports programs supported with the vigor that the marquis sports enjoy, until that day however we have to continue to compete with dignity and grace for ourselves and for the joy of competition.

I'm not sure if I'll write for this page again, or even maintain this website. If you read it and would like me to keep it up please e-mail me and tell me so. That's an important part.

Thanks Again

George


2/12/04


Ok, so less than annual updates are a terrible thing to the captain's page, I apologize for that right off. Unfortunately there's been little to report as of late and so I've become rather despondent and disallusioned in terms of posting anything positive, and like mom always said "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Regardless of that, let me give you just the briefest of updates in terms of the way I see things.

It was kind of a depressing year for this former Catamount captain to watch his old team compete. The XC guys were filled with a lot of heart, but just not a lot of talent. Though heart can take you pretty far in the running game it's tough to really stand up tall when the school you support knocks your legs out from beneath you. The teams did fairly well under the new coaching of Matt and Bonnie Belfield (with the continued support of Joe Gingras of course) and while it wasn't a banner season by any stretch of the imagination at least a few kids were able to run.

The Athletic department at UVM has changed dramatically. More money is being pumped into coaches salaries, it's easier for students to get tickets to and attend games and contests, and the coaching turnover rate seems to have stablized somewhat. I've met Bob Corran once or twice in passing and he seemed like a very pleasant and smart man who is very interested in promoting a positive UVM athletic experience for student-athletes and the general student body alike.

While there have been no outward or public suggestions that the Athletic department may be changing its tune regarding Men's Track, there have been some underground rumblings that yet another restructuring of the Athletic Department is coming about which deffinately would mean more cuts, but also has the slight chance of bringing something back. A great way to help nudge the school in this direction would be to write to the new AD and mention what it would mean to have the Men's track team return. I promise I will do my part with this as well. You can find the AD's e-mail address at the UVM Athletic site, www.uvmathletics.com .

Be Well

George


8/29/02


Hi everyone, and greetings from Burlington. I know itís been months since Iíve written anything and let me apologize if youíve been waiting on the edge of you seat to hear whatís been going on in my head. The last time I wrote about track we were heading into our conference meet with our heads held high ready to represent UVM as a team for one last time. The meet was a tremendous success, there were a number of personal successes, Jeff set a new shot put record for conference competition, and in the final race of the day the 4 X 800 team went out and broke a school record that I have been trying to break since I first ran for UVM in 1998. The season continued for a few of us with Jeff and I winning New England titles, (Jeffís in the 1500, mine in the Shot Put, or was it the other way around?), and Peter Raak ran an astonishing 3000m steeplechase to come in 3rd place. So as far as performance was concerned we couldnít have been happier with how the season turned out.

So whatís been going on at UVM in relation to sports? Well here are things as I see it. Interim President Colodny is no longer at the helm, he received many accolades from people in the University as a person who got things done, however, I would like to recognize that a few of the things he suggested and signed off on were certainly not in the best interest of the University and that he was unwilling or unable to discuss or defend his part in the decision to drop Track and Field. I do feel rather privileged that he took the time to write back to me this spring (see the letters posted on this site) but Iím still quite disappointed that he really didnít understand the point I was trying to get across.

The UVM Cross Country team started this season with 2 fewer upperclassmen than there would have been without the cuts, our team will be running against their friends this year whenever we go up against UNH or Providence. I was sitting in the coaches office a few days ago and looked down at a packet on a desk next to me which said UVM Womenís Track and Field, and it really struck me again that there was to be no season for the Men this year. Though everyone is dealing with it in their own way there is still a tremendous sense of loss around our teammates, a melancholy bitterness that Iím not sure will ever truly go away. I canít say that I feel more sorry for my closest friends, the seniors who wonít have the chance to finish off their years at UVM in the same fashion that I did, or the incoming freshmen, who really wonít know whatís been taken from them. That being said, weíre still trying to keep up the fight and have hope that things can be changed. With things like sports programs it is possible to breathe life into them once again and hopefully the leaders at UVM will recognize that this is something that should be done.

We have a new president and a new athletic director coming in next year so there is great opportunity to rectify these mistakes. To President Fogel I suggest this to you. Your recommendation that UVM reinstate the Track and Field program would enamor you to a great number of people. First, it would show alumni as well as current students that you are listening to what is going on at UVM and that you want to follow a course consistent with the wishes and desires of these groups. Second, it would show the state of Vermont that you were willing to take a look at UVM and make changes where changes need to be made, Track and Field is one of the most participated in sports in the state of Vermont and the state university needs to support the interests of those student athletes looking to compete in state at a high level of competition. Finally working to bring back Track and Field would allow people to see that you realize UVM is not a sports factory school. We do not have the powerhouse national teams that exist at schools like LSU and a very small percentage of our student athletes ever go on to compete professionally in their chosen sports. As a student athlete at UVM the student and athlete have always been melded into one, there arenít just the varsity athletes and those that support them in the stands. By denying athletes that want to compete for UVM that chance, we are dooming our student body to become spectators in life rather than participants, this I believe is the total opposite of our athletic mission at the university.

No matter how many trips to Hawaii the basketball team makes or how much spin we put on a banner season, the students at UVM wonít be tricked into believing that their teams can be more than they are. Likewise, athletes that have had their life support taken away will refuse to believe that they are not worth the time and effort that they have dedicated to their sport, themselves, and their school.


5/2/02
Hey there Track and Field Fans,


Again I must apologize for anyone who still looks at this page, I know we haven't put up anything new in the past few weeks. Hopefully you've been able to stay on top of what's been going on by following our online exploits through the sports information office. Gordon Woodworth has been doing a good job at keeping that updated (he even gave me credit for a win when I came in second at Holy Cross a few weeks ago)! So tomorrow we leave for our final conference meet as a complete Vermont Track and Field team. We are all very positive and are looking forward to some big performances. I'm not going to publish any of them but we've had some absolutely remarkable e-mails going around on the team list for the past few days. The friendship and support that radiate from them are so moving and kind it really shows the spirit of the team. Most remarkable is that they aren't angry or sad, but more hopeful and looking forward to our last great effort. The greatest priviledge that I've had as a captain of this team is to work with such fine people, there really are none better than my teammates and coaches and I will miss them all terribly. We had some disappointing news last night at the Senior Awards Banquet hosted by the Athletic Department. After a nice dinner Jeff Guilmette was awarded with the Sunderland Memorial Trophy which is "And award presented to the senior female student-athlete and male student-athlete who throughout ther college careers have demonstrated a high level of athletic achievement and exemplified qualities of character, leadership and persistence in overcoming obstacles." Don't get me wrong, Jeff by far embodies all of these qualities. They spent about 3 minutes reading over all of his championship achievements, awards and records. However if I may editorialize for a moment here, Jeff Guilmette is the best and most competitive athlete here at the University of Vermont. Period. The award usually reserved for that individual is the J. Edward Donnelly award. I don't want to take anything away from this years winner, but he can't compare to Jeff, and as far as I'm concerned Jeff was robbed and insulted by the folks who decided on the awards this year. Last year another basketball player won the Donnelly award, what happened to him? Sorry, a little of my own bitterness surfacing there, at least Jeff was recognized. In closing I would like to once again thank all of you who have done so much for all of us here through out our year and entire time here at UVM. It hasn't been easy, but we couldn't have weathered the storm half as well if we didn't have the support of our friends and alumni. For those of you at the University who have turned your backs on us, watch us go out in style as one of the best teams at UVM. Realize once and for all what you are putting and end to, and I hope some remorse can make its way into your hearts and minds for you have helped to become a major part of the problem with college sports. Come on Down to UNH everybody! The weather will be nice, the track will be first class, and UVM is going out in style. Thanks again, George Deane


4/2/02
Hey there Track and Field Fans,
Sorry it's been so long since I last updated the page, if there are still people besides my dad looking at the page I'm sure you're all getting antsy for an update. With a successful final indoor season behind us we've now made it into the outdoor season already, having opened up our season on March 30th with a meet at Dartmouth, against our host's B team and UNH. There were a number of exciting performances, I have to say that I was extremely happy to get back onto the track as a Vermont athlete and didn't even cross out the Vermont on my uniform like I had threatened to do. When it all boils down to it, I'm more concerned with concentrating on my race than making a statement about University politics. Though we placed last in team results (we don't have enough people to fill all the events)there were a number of outstanding performances, with a few wins and people placing high in many events. For results go to www.lancertiming.com . Outdoor track is a very hurried season, every weekend until graduation our team will be traveling to another school to compete, if you're interested in going here's a list of where we'll be:
4/6- UNH
4/13 - Central Connecticut
4/20 - Holy Cross
4/25-4/27 - Penn Relays
4/28 - Dartmouth
5/4 - UNH (Conference Championships)
5/10-5/11 - Northeastern (New England Championships)
5/17-5/19- Princeton (IC4A/ECAC Championships)


I hope that some fans will be able to make it out, we still have a lot of competing left in this short season and we're expecting to see some big things happen. In terms of our fight to save the team it's not good news. I recieved an e-mail from the Captain of the UMass Amherst team the other day asking for advice on how to mount a campaign against the cuts. Though I offered what we had done it was quite saddening to realize that there isn't a whole lot of hope for changing the minds of administrators. Hopefully the UMass folks are more reasonable than the leaders at UVM. The best we can do is keep plugging away with what we're doing. Keep writing letters to people and trying to get attention to this issue someday someone will hear us. Thanks very much for your support, I hope to see you at a future meet.
George Deane


2/20/02
Amazing as it is I'm writing an update within a week of my last one, with this in mind please do not be too upset if it is short. The America East Conference meet was a big success for a lot of folks on the team. There were many good performances but the real story which topped them all was Jeff Guilmette's throw of 53' 11 3/4" in the Shot Put to solidify his amazing 4th indoor title and 7th Shot Put title in America East Championship meets. I'm looking forward to watching him complete the clean sweep this Spring when he throws at the outdoor championships held at UNH. Remember who else I said to watch? That's right, Peter Raak the captain of this year's Cross Country squad ran a new PR by 2 seconds to place 3rd in the 1000 Meter run and qualified for the IC4A championships in two weeks. The only two competitors to beat Peter were from schools new to the conference this year and will prove to be a further challenge to us this spring. But with faster competition comes faster times for all of us running so we can't be too down about it.
In terms of the administration I'm afraid that they are sticking to their guns about the need for restructuring the athletic department and are defending their decision to the end. Though it doesn't look good now I'm confident that someday our team, past and present will see justice on this issue. Until that time we can only look to the brief future that we have before us and hope to perform to the best of our ability representing ourselves and our coach under the Green and Gold banner for the last time. I have to thank all of my teammates who went into every competition this year with their heads held high, not willing to sacrifice their dignity and worked their hearts out for the sport that we all love. It's true that our numbers have dwindled but I still believe that the heart which makes our team great still exists.
Coming up for our team, Friday we travel to Boston again where we compete in the New England Championships, Jeff will throw the shot and we will have two relay teams, the 4X400 meters and the Distance Medley relay. The DMR will be looking to put on a good show where we came in 2nd in New England last year and while there is only one returning member of that 2nd place team, I believe that we will have a very interesting and exciting race. The weekend after that we have the IC4A championships again in Boston, as of now we only have 2 competitors who qualified for this meet but one never knows what will happen at New Englands.
Thank you all for your continued support, our Men's team remains proud and tough as ever thanks to the people who stand with us.

~George Deane



2/11/02
Hi everyone, again I must start my writing with an apology for the length of time that has passed since I last wrote anything for the website. Thankfully we have had a lot of new imput from both the fantastic group of alumni who are spearheading the campaign which is actually talking with the administration, and a lot of new letters of support from folks who have written in. I'm sorry to report that I don't have much contact with the folks meeting with the administration, continuing to be a lowly student I suppose that it's probably for the best that I don't step right up and insult the folks who ultimately could have a major affect on me receiving my degree. I realize that might seem a little crazy or paranoid to think that something like that could happen but hey with the events leading up to this it would take a lot to convince me that it couldn't happen.
So pushing those gloomy thoughts aside let me give you all an update on what the team is doing. As hard as it is to believe we're nearly through our indoor season with the conference meet coming up this weekend. The size of the team has dwindled some but we still have around 20 guys I would say when we're all healthy and accounted for. In terms of competition we aren't having our best season as far as the win column is concerned. Though a number of people have put up new PR's and some fairly impressive showings on the individual level we still lack the depth necessary to put ourselves in a winning spot. I don't really want to make excuses so I won't go into how difficult it is to win meets when we don't have nearly enough people to fill all the events let alone create any depth in them, and retaining and recruiting new members to the team has been really tough seeing as how we can't promise much for the future right now.
On the aspect of how the team is developing I couldn't be more pleased. We have 9 new members of the team who have stayed with us, and we are getting to know eachother well and are really starting to have a good time. It's really hard for me to believe that I'm in my 5th year of UVM Track and Field, and there are a few times that I feel really old when I'm talking to the new guys, but I wouldn't trade it for anything else in the world right now and am incredibly saddened when I face the fact that no one else may ever have a similar experience here.
As I went for my run today on one of the coldest but clearest days we've seen this winter I thought a lot about what this team has meant to me and all that I've gotten from it. It's true that our team is in a dark time right now, but despite all of that there is still a stong core of us who continue to go out wearing the green and gold and do our best to run our fastest, and jump and throw our farthest and to me that is what this team is all about.
In related news, our Men's Cross Country team earned Academic All American honors with distinction, garnering the highest fall semester GPA on campus at 3.37, with 5 members of the squad earning over a 3.60. Most of these runners have continued on with Track and Field so we're hoping to see the same type of results for the spring semester.
Thanks so much for being a part of this effort to help continue Men's Track and Field at UVM. If you're in the Boston Area on Saturday the 16th stop by the Armory at BU and watch the America East Championship meet. Captain Jeff Guilmette will be working on his 4th America East Indoor Shot Put title and Senior Peter Raak is in good position to make another run at the 1000 meter title which he narrowly missed by less than half a second last year.

Think good thoughts,
George Deane



 
11/11/01
Hello faithful track and field fans, first let me appologize for not having anything new on the website for weeks. The truth of the matter is those of us who run the website simply do not have anything new to report in terms of our battle to save Men's Track and Field, and at this time of the semester it is easier to fill the hours with school work rather than pondering a fate that we seemingly have no influence on anymore. Please do not take that sentance as an admission of defeat, for I believe that we are far from that point, but there is little else that those of us still directly involved with the program can do at this particular moment. That being said let me give an update on what is going on. Yesterday, our Cross Country team (which also makes up nearly half of the track team) had its final meet, the NCAA regional qualifier meet at Franklin Park in Boston. Both teams performed admirably, the Men specifically exceeding every one of our time goals that we set at the AM meeting that preceeded the race. It was a very proud day as a number of our runners donned the Green and Gold for what might be the last time and ran their hearts out for 6.2 miles. Two weeks ago we ran at the America East conference meet where both teams placed 5th out of 9 teams, a position that is comperable to records of many of the other teams at UVM in terms of fall performances. In terms of the track team, our season of training has truly begun and the sweaty brows of our athletes can be seen around the Oval of the Gardner Collins cage now on a daily basis. Our team (and here I will refer specifically to the Men's team) looks very solid, we have the sprinters, jumpers, throwers, and when the Cross guys get back from their much deserved week off the unit will be complete with our distance running team. Practice will be climbing in intensity as our first meet of the season is less than a month away, The Northeastern Winter Carninval, December 1st at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, MA and we will be looking for some impressive results, last year at this event two of our runners bettered the 3000 meter indoor record. I recently sent a letter out to my team that expressed my feelings about the upcomming seasons, I would like to repeat some of that letter here. This year is not about running angry or getting even with the people that decided that our program was not worth continuing. If we try to run on anger alone we will fail, because anger is so exhausting that we will not be able to sustain that as well as the drive it will take to maintain our competitive edge. Rather, we should compete and train with the same goals that we have always had on the team, to be the best that we can be regardless of what others think of us. There are none of us on the team that do this for any other reason than a love of the sport, believe me there are many other things to do in Burlington than spend 2-3 hours a day busting our butts running around the track or lifting, but we are out there none the less. I do not want this season to be a time where we give up on ourselves and our sport simply because the leadership of the university seems to have given up on us. Compared with past years we have just as much support from them as we always have. It is our responsability to leave at the end of the year knowing that we have done the very best that we could do, our heads held high with no regrets. We still have the opportunity to compete this year so we have to make the most of it. If we continue competing with the integrity and passion that we have in the past then there is no way anyone will be able to look at our team and say 'boy it was a good thing we cut them'. Let's work on what we have control over and be a better team than we ever have been before. That's about all I have to say from this end, I'll keep you posted on any goings on as soon as I hear anything.



Thank you all and take care,
George Deane



10/23/01
Greetings everyone, it's been over a week since I wrote anything so I thought I might tell you where we stand here as well as share some personal thoughts. As one of the student athletes on the front lines of battle in Burlington I'm having trouble with where we are right now. This is not to say that I think we're in a bad position or that our cause is losing steam. The real thing that is getting me down is that we're waiting for action now, and that until we hear some answers from administrators there's nothing we can or really should be doing. It was fantastic being a part of that initial wave of support, the response that we have gotten from Alumni and other folks both in and outside of the track and field community has just been tremendous. It is my hope that all of our letters, calls and pleas have not fallen on deaf ears. Coach Kusiak assures me that good things are in the works and that now is a time when I just have to trust him. My skeptical nature does not reflect that I don't trust and believe in my coach, on the contrary, he is one of the people that I trust and admire most. However my trust in the heads of the University is greatly diminished. It bothers me immensely that the people who signed off so quickly on a hundred year old program are now the people that I have to rely on to help us out of this mess. The lines of communication have been opened and at least we now have some sort of voice and input with the administrators, I'm trying very hard not to look at the negatives that I fear are coming. With that in mind let me talk a little bit about what I've experienced through all of this. First off I have come to realize how deep the roots of this team run. I have friends from my freshman year that I am still close with, yet now I know there is a network that extends far beyond those friendships that I forged. I have always said that the Track team was my fraternity here at UVM and for that reason I had no need to enter into one of those organizations. It's more than that however, it's not just fraternity, it's family. Everyone that I have traveled to meets with, sweatted out workouts with, and cheered at the top of my lungs for are part of my family. Like all families there are different connections and ways that we relate to each other. The experience of the cuts has made me realize that my family extends way beyond what I perceived. Like mom opening up the family photo album, each alumni that writes in and each story I hear adds to the family tree of UVM Track and Field. This is something that I will be forever grateful for and is just another reason why I hope we can help to save the program. This past Friday and Saturday we had tryouts for our team. I was thrilled to see the turnout and am very excited at the prospect of working with my team again. Despite the adversities that we are going through, there are a large number of us that are out to compete regardless of our current status. Once again this demonstrates the pluck and the resiliency of our type of athlete, just give us that chance. The job that Jeff Guilmette and I have as captains this year has not gotten any easier. I'm finding myself struggling to articulate to my teammates that we need to care and put in more this year than we ever have before. However, trying to turn the cuts into motivation to do well will not work. As athletes that will be competing from early December to May with few breaks our competitive edge just cannot be sustained with the anger and confusion that has been surrounding us. It is my belief that the more we focus on that the worse we will become, because there is nothing more draining than the uncertainty that we have no control over. With that I say to my brothers on the team, make sure you take care of your training first and when we are called upon with some purpose to help our team we will be ready, however if we are unwilling to do our part in preparing for a competitive season than how can we justify trying to save our program. To the administrators that hold our fates in their hands; listen to us. Listen to the voices of the past that have come out to support us. Do not be so full of pride that you can't admit a mistake was made, we want to help preserve something great and if you can be remembered for rethinking a rash decision and working to make it right that would do more for your character and I think for your moral conscience than sticking behind something that just can't be defended. We all have to do our jobs folks, and we have to do them to the best of our ability. For me that means being a student, an athlete, a leader, and doing the best I can with what I have within those areas. There is a lull in the action right now but soon I hope we will be able to come forth again, this time in celebration and focused on making our program and University better than it ever was before.
Thank you all and take care,
George Deane

10/11/01
Hi everybody, no giant developments as of late but I'd like to take this opportunity to address a smaller piece of this puzzle where there might be some misunderstanding. One of the reasons we set up this website is so that people could be informed about what kinds of things were going on here. It has come to my attention a number of times in the past few days that there is a real miscommunication in what our efforts are geared towards. The way that I see it we are still working towards our ultimate goal of reinstating Men's Track and Field at UVM. Now we understand that this cannot be done with just a sweep of the hand, we are very willing to do whatever is necessary in terms of fundraising in order to help preserve the Track and Field tradition here. Our other goals when we started off were to get a clear understanding of why this team was cut and the process that was followed in making the cuts. Finally at the very least we as a team would like an apology for the horrendous timing of the decision and the insensitivity that was shown for that release date. From my perspective I don't believe that these demands are asking a lot of our administration nor do I believe that they are unreasonable. One of the most disturbing things that I have seen and heard is Coach Kusiak being referred to as the Osama Bin Laden of UVM. This is totally unacceptable and only shows the skewed views that we are coming up against. Our coach has done nothing but try and save a program that he has dedicated over half his life to. This is a program full of motivated and successful individuals that have given back to this state and this university a great deal. However, it is the belief of some people that our efforts are designed to bring down the university and give it a serious blemish in terms of public relations. Nothing could be further from the truth. We as athletes love our university. Certainly the Track and Field team influenced our decision to come here, but contrary to popular belief most students will not attend a university based on athletic reputation alone. UVM is a wonderful place, there is nothing we would like more to watch it flourish and grow. That has been one of my favorite parts of being a team leader here, meeting new people and helping to be a positive influence. Though there is tremendous anger towards the decision to drop Track and Field, this is because we feel that we have been unfairly dismissed. Even though that anger exists we do not want to "take down UVM". We do not want to hurt admissions, paint the university as an unfriendly place, or encourage alumni not to donate money if our program is not reinstated. Personally I believe that if the university decides not to work with us in correcting their mistake than they have done all those things to UVM without involving us at all. We are not looking for villians in this battle, there has been an error and we have the opportunity to correct it. To err is human, to admit that error and to help correct it shows immense presence of clear thought and character. We want to work with everyone to make UVM the best place it can be, and I for one believe that it is a better place with Men's Track and Field in place.
Thanks for visiting,
George Deane

10/7/01
Hi everyone. It's been a few days since I've wrote anything that I've published on the web so I feel like I should put something up just in case anyone is actually reading about my continuing thought pattern. This entry however will be short for two reasons. First this writing is helping me to procrastinate in terms of my assigned philosophy reading, which I cannot allow to continue much longer or I will be in big trouble. Second, as far as I can see attitude of the athletes, coaches and administration have not made a noticeable change that is worth reporting. I would like to say a thanks to all of my current teammates. We met again as a team for the first time since we were all called together on the 13th and discussed our situation. I was very impressed by the number of people who were able to show up at such short notice (planning has not been one of my strengths as a captain), I was also very pleased that we have such a deep interest still from our younger athletes, there was a large number of first years at the meeting who contributed to the conversation and affirmed my belief that we as a team are comprised of and attract some of the finest people on UVM soil. That being said let me launch into something else.
This weekend I had the pleasure of accompanying the Cross Country team to the University of Maine where we ran in the 10th annual Murray Keatinge Invitational. For those who don't know this is a meet that brings some of the most elite runners in the country together and provides an incredible Cross Country race of tremendous variety and talent at a local venue. Our Men raced against some of the finest runners in the country toeing the line with teams for Michigan, Stanford, Purdue, as well as more local rivals. Though we only beat two out of eight of these teams I believe it is important to put in perspective that Stanford is a nationally ranked team, they finished 4th in the nation last year, and many of the other teams offer scholarship packages to their athletes that we could never dream of. Yet our Men toed the line with them. They went up against Gabe Jennings, an Olympic athlete, and other people that make the headlines in other important running news sources. Our Men were not embarrassed that their school does not provide them with the financial incentives of their opponents, rather they were anxious to prove their skill as they went head to head in a five mile race through the fields in the back of U Maine's Orono campus. On the same day our Men's Hockey team was taking on the defending national champions at home in the Gutterson Field House. Though their results were relatively comparable to that of the Men's Cross Country team I think that Al Gutterson had more fun watching the competition in Maine. Aside from taking cheap shots across the athletic department I would like to state blankly again that our Men who competed with such poise and pride this weekend, albeit on an uneven playing field where a big win was not expected, would not have been there to represent UVM if our Track team was gone. That's it in a nutshell. The opportunity to proudly showcase Vermont talent on a large scale might remain next year, but rest assured that the Vermont talent will not be wearing the Green and Gold. They will be there in colors that aren't of their home state because the opportunity to compete with success will have been removed. If any administrators read this page please think about that, and remember to root for UVM Cross Country this Friday as they will face national powers again at the New England Championships in Boston.
If you would like meet information from this past weekend click here .
-George Deane, Murray Keatinge award winner 1999, 2000
 

9/30/01
Has it only been two days since I first wrote on this page? That hardly seems possible. There is a lot that I could say but I feel that a lot of it would just be repetitive of what has already been said. Whereas I think we should be unrelenting with expressing our displeasure to the administration, I think we can all agree that we can spare each other the same arguments that we've been going over for days. First off I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all the folks who have been writing in to us. Your letters have meant a lot to those of us here on the front lines, personally they really serve as an inspiration to me and have helped to keep me motivated, both in activism and in my running. Keep up the good thoughts and remember, 'an e-mail a day keeps more cuts at bay'. Anyway, enough with that cheese and onto some serious thought. In the past few days I have met with a number of people that provided more interesting insights into our situation. Possibly the most interesting was sitting down with Rick Farnham the current AD at UVM. I went into this meeting feeling very apprehensive about talking with him, wondering what it could accomplish and would my voice be heard. I left feeling that my concerns were adequately voiced, but I feel even more worried that this battle is going to be incredibly difficult with seemingly only two ways to end it. One of these ways is to give in, since we know that's not going to happen it seems like all we are left with is the issue of funding. It's no secret that UVM has had a real crisis in terms of funding in general. Despite being one of the most expensive institutions in the country for both in-state and out of state tuition there seems to be a black hole where all the funds disappear to. Well after careful investigation I can assure you that said monies are not to be found in Men's Track and Field, Gymnastics or the Volleyball program. Regardless of that fact from everyone I have talked to that may have had a part in eliminating the sports (even though we still have no one that will really own up to it) readily admits that the only way to reinstate the sports is with funding. This is not meant to be a cry for cash from supporters, though it may turn into that. I think it is incredibly unfair to make the teams who give everything they have to competition for the love of the game cough up more money just to be able to continue the pursuit of excellence in their sport. But at the same time I think it speaks volumes about the people who are involved with these sports, because we are so ready and willing to fund raise, and sacrifice some personal dignity so we might enhance it once again on the playing fields. I think the University should look closely at this. The last thing I want to do is start a battle with other teams who might not have even known about the cuts, but would our tier 3 scholarship athletes do this? Especially if they could have gone to another school to play for money. Maybe not all of the athletes who had their programs cut had the opportunity to get paid to play, but we certainly could have all competed at other institutions and would have if UVM did not have the sports programs we wanted to be part of our college experience. Setting up an endowment for the Track team is an issue that is beginning to raise its head, though I admit I have no firsthand knowledge when it comes to this. If it comes about that this is the only way to save the team I will give what I can, but not for the University which has shown where its loyalties lie. I will give for the students who would like to continue in the tradition of the finest student athletes here at UVM, so that they might have the same opportunities I have had to grow and build relationships amongst their peers. To the amateur athletes who go out and compete not because someone is paying their bills but because they truly believe that sport helps to make them a better person. It is my hope that there are others out there who can agree with me on this point and see that by preserving teams that helped make UVM the great place it was while we were here, we can preserve it as the Alma Mater we want it to be.
 

9/28/01
The past two weeks have been filled with so many activities that it seems almost unreal. Dealing with the national tragedy was such a task to deal with on its own, that when the University abolished one of the few things that I expected to help me through the crisis, I wasn't sure what to do. Thankfully, even though everyone on the team was put into such a terrible position, the brotherhood and family that we have set up was still in place to offer the support that we so desperately needed. Though I have completed my undergraduate work already and have started towards a masters in education, this experience alone has already helped to transform me as a person. The day two weeks ago when we were gathered together I wasn't sure what to do. I had some sort of idea about what was going to happen because there was a somber mood that could just be felt coming from our coaches as they ran us through the Cross Country workout. I was faced with the difficult task of addressing my team as a leader right after we were told, when in all honesty I felt like anything but a strong leader at that point. Years of being a captain of my teams had not prepared me to address this situation, and I watched the mixed reactions of my best friends as well as a number of new first year students that I had met just a half an hour before. People were shocked, disheartened and confused as to why this happened to us. This is a team that has never asked anything more than a chance to compete for our university, and even managed to do quite well despite the odds being stacked up against us.
Needless to say that in the past two weeks everyone on the team has been working through a lot. Probably one of the most interesting things that I have dealt with is the presence of the media. As a track and field athlete I have enjoyed almost never being recognized for my accomplishments by the mass media. With four school records to my name the first time I was ever interviewed by a person from the Burlington Free Press was the night when I found out we were losing what I had helped to build. Overall however I am optimistic. There is a large (and growing) number of people that disagree with UVM's decision to end the Men's track and field program. The amount of effort that has already been put forward by coaches, members of the team, alumni and supporters has been truly phenomenal. Quite possibly the best thing about the situation is that in messing with endurance athletes who participate in a sport simply because we love it and we want to improve, UVM's administration will finally get a close look at what kind of a team has been in existence here for a century.
Let's keep up the fight until this injustice is corrected. The University made these cuts in part so that our teams could win more, well we're not giving up until we do.
-George Deane