Adding men’s/women’s track & field to varsity programs
Plymouth — With the construction of a new indoor track and field facility underway at Plymouth State University, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field will become the newest varsity athletic programs, with student-athletes to compete for the Panthers in the 2015-16 seasons.
Construction began in May on PSU’s ALLWell North project (which stands for Active Living, Learning and Wellness), a state-of-the-art indoor track facility for students, staff and community members that is slated to open in October 2015.
The PSU athletic department is also pleased to announce the new head coach of all six Panther running programs (cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track & field for both men and women), and he is John Ostler, a former Hamilton College assistant coach and former league champion and record holding distance runner at Saint Lawrence University.
Ostler will coach the Panther cross country programs beginning this fall, replacing PSU Athletic Hall of Famer Dave Severance, who coached the teams last year in their first varsity seasons but recently resigned for personal reasons. Ostler will recruit the next generation of Panther track and field student-athletes this year, with competition set to begin in 2015-16.
“We are extremely excited to be returning men’s indoor and outdoor track and field as an offering for our students and equally as excited to be adding women’s indoor and outdoor track and field,” said PSU Athletic Director John Clark. “Track and field is a very popular high school sport. We will now be able to allow students to continue their passion for this sport at the collegiate level.”
“Most of all, they will be able to call home in one of the finest indoor track and field facilities in New England in the ALLWell Center,” Clark added.
The Panthers will compete in the Little East Conference in track and field, aiming to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championships. The addition of the four track teams bump Plymouth State’s number of varsity programs to 24, including 13 women’s and 11 men’s.
This will be the first women’s track and field team in the school’s history; there was previously a men’s program that started in the late 1960s under coach Paul Arold and continued in the 1970s under coach Gerd Lutter. The program featured some outstanding runners, such as Dave Stevens and Severance, who both became All-Americans and ended up in the PSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Stevens became the school’s first All-American in the 800 meters, while Severance became the first New England Collegiate Outdoor 10,000 meter champion in school history and record holder in 1978, and he earned NCAA All-America honors with a runner-up finish in the 10,000 at the 1978 Division III Championships.
Ostler comes to Plymouth State from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., where he was an assistant with the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field coaching staffs.
“I feel very fortunate to join the Plymouth State University athletic department,” Ostler said. “I want to thank Athletic Director John Clark for giving me the opportunity to lead the men’s and women’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field programs, and I look forward to working with our current student-athletes to help them reach their goals this season.”
“I am eager to grow the cross country team and lay the foundation for an excellent first year of track and field in 2015-16.”
Ostler has coached NCAA National Championship qualifiers at Hamilton in cross country, indoor and outdoor track and field, including one All-American and a national runner-up. He helped guide the women’s team to a 32nd national ranking and a fifth-place finish at the 2013 New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championships. He coached a male heptathlete to a school record and served as Meet Director for the 2013 New York State Collegiate Track Conference (NYSCTC) Cross Country Championships.
A 2008 graduate of Saint Lawrence University with a degree in English, Ostler was a four-year letterman on both the cross country and track teams, serving as co-captain of both teams his junior and senior years.
He was a U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Region runner and a NYSCTC All-Conference performer for cross country in 2007. Ostler captured the Liberty League outdoor 5,000-meter championship with a meet record time of 15:08.29.
“I’m excited that we’ve hired John Ostler as our new cross country and track coach,” said Courtney O’Clair, search committee chair, “and we believe he will be a great addition to our department. The energy and enthusiasm that he brings to Plymouth State will be a big help and will set the foundation for current and future track & field student-athletes. We feel like he’s the right guy to take over our programs.”
Ostler, who earned his Master’s degree in Sports Management from SUNY Cortland in 2013, is a USATF Level I Certified Coach. A native of Morrisville, Vermont (Peoples Academy), Ostler was a teacher and an assistant cross country and track & field coach at U-32 High School in Montpelier, Vt., from 2009 to 2011. He trained 1,600- and 3,200-meter relay teams that qualified for the 2010 New England Championships.
“I’m happy for high school student-athletes from New Hampshire and beyond who want to pursue collegiate track and field now have an excellent option in Plymouth State,” Ostler pointed out. “I am very excited to mentor Plymouth State student-athletes as they strive to achieve great things athletically, academically and build a bright future.”