Members of Cape Breton University's track and field team are excited to be competing on a larger stage.
The team is preparing to compete in the upcoming Atlantic University Sport track and field championships at UNB starting Feb. 21.
CBU has had a club team for several years but this will be its first AUS championship meet.
John Hudec, a professor at CBU and one of the team's coaches, said the team feels welcomed by the AUS.
"The other universities and … AUS are really happy to see us, they're happy to see Cape Breton" said Hudec.
"We went to a couple meets this year and we had the orange jerseys on and we were really welcomed into the competitive group."
CBU's track team is still at the club level, which means it doesn't get full financial support from the university, but is registered with the AUS.
Athletes competing for CBU in the event will be considered university sport athletes, meaning they will use varsity eligibility to participate.
Hudec said CBU hopes this will be a step toward becoming a varsity program. Hudec said he is in talks with the university's athletic department to make that happen.
Students eager to compete
Runner Maddy Johnson is excited to be a part of the team's first AUS championship. She also plays on the CBU varsity women's soccer team and said it's great to see the track and field team move in that direction, too.
"To actually be a part of it and for this to be the first year CBU's ever going to be at track AUS is really incredible, and it just really shows the growth the school is doing in the athletics department."
Johnson is competing in the 600 and 1,000 metres at the championships.
Promise Akachkwu, a sprinter, is also eager to compete under the AUS banner.
"It's something I grew up with, in my family we're all athletes… it's something that's in my blood" he said.
Akachkwu, from Nigeria and studying law at CBU, said this is his first big competition and he said he's looking forward to competing alongside his teammates.
"I have the best team in Canada, all of my teammates are the best, we laugh, we train, and I'm aiming to become the best with the help of my team," he said.
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