Katie Hand, Contributing Writer
This year’s track-and-field season marks a significant change— the numbers for this team have grown. Under Coach Matt Buchhorn’s direction, the track team has progressed from only five women competing at the conference meet in 2012 to 14 competing in 2013; the men’s team grew from seven to 17.
“This year was a starting point to show that we can be a strong competitor within the SCAC conference,” said Buchhorn.
The team included many incoming freshmen, six returning Romers, a great junior showing and four seniors: Matt Barber, Clinton Heyer, Matt Mayor and Tanner Bruffey.
“Try comparing a team of under 10 people to one of about 30,” said Barber. “You can attribute that growth to Coach [Buchhorn] more than anyone.”
Buchhorn attended Hardin-Simmons University, where he was a two-time national qualifier and a nine-time school record-holder. From 2010 to 2011, he worked as an assistant coach for Southwestern University, a school the University of Dallas women’s team recently beat at the conference meet. He has also worked as an assistant coach at the University of the Incarnate Word.
Buchhorn began coaching the UD track team in the spring of last year, and has already proved his coaching abilities with the acquisition of a solid cross-country team. In addition to his job as head coach at UD, he works as a personal trainer. His fiancée, Aubrey Lindberg, often comes to meets to support the team.
“Buchhorn is a boss,” said Barber. “His mix of talent, proximity in age [to the athletes] and genuine care pushes the team forward.”
An assistant coach will soon be necessary if the team continues to grow as it has under Buchhorn, predicted Heyer.
Despite difficulties, Buchhorn said it was rewarding to see his team set nineteen school records, many personal-best records and produce 15 all-conference athletes.
Inspired by Buchhorn, freshman Emma Polefko said she hopes to return to the track team next spring.
“I never want to let him down. He’s believed in me even when I haven’t believed in myself; that’s the best thing anyone could hope for,” said Polefko.
Buchhorn hopes to see the team become more competitive.
“My hope for next year and the future of the program,” he said, “is to see the size of the team increase as well as have even greater conference success.”