By Adam Zaki
Published: April 1st, 2017
After months of anticipation, Brooklyn College’s athletic director Bruce Filosa has officially announced the creation of the newest athletic program on campus: a co-ed Racewalking Team.
“We’re preparing to win consecutive championships,” said head coach Stanley Fevrine. After being a longtime assistant on the women’s basketball coaching staff, Fevrine finally has an opportunity to lead a squad representing Brooklyn College with complete autonomy. “We will practice hard, focusing on the fundamentals and discipline of long-distance walking,” said Fevrine.
“We’re super excited to bring the new program aboard,” said Alex Lang, who pushed for the team’s creation last summer. As head coach of the women’s basketball program, Lang has allowed Fevrine to simultaneously coach racewalking and basketball for the near future. “As long as [Fevrine] continues to help us win basketball games, his value to the program doesn’t change based upon his new position,” Lang said.
Brooklyn College is the first of many teams competing next season, and the full CUNYAC competition is set to begin in Fall of 2020. Alongside Lehman College and College of Staten Island, the Bulldogs will compete for the first ever CUNYAC Racewalking Championship, beginning this fall.
“We need to focus on more than just speed, these players need to understand moving as fast as you can is just one event,” said Fevrine. Each team will compete in up to three events, including speed, speed with weight, and tie-breaking three-legged races. A team must sweep its opponent in both speed and speed with weight competitions in order to avoid the three-legged race.
“We are working extremely hard to walk very fast,” said team captain Zainab Iqbal. “Lately we’ve been doing this drill called ‘Anderson jams’, where we walk from campus to Bay Ridge and back.” While carrying backpacks filled with books, messenger bags with laptops or potato sacks with dumbbells, the team has been training all over Brooklyn in preparation for their first round of optional summer workouts.
“We are excited to finally get things going,” said Harry Walker, a speed with weight specialist. Walker has funneled his passion of computers into racewalking, something he has become fully accustomed to after moving to Brooklyn.
“I’m always walking fast,” said Walker. “It was one of the first things I learned how to do when I was a baby.” A computer science major, Walker uses his talents as a racewalker to keep in shape while playing video games. “I walk a lot when I’m not playing video games,” he said. “Whether it’s to get pizza, beer, cigarettes, I’m always walking to get wherever I need to go.” Walker has large hopes for his team in the fall, and doesn’t think trash talk will put any extra pressure on his teammates. “We are only facing CSI and Lehman. Have you ever seen a Dolphin or Lightning that could walk? Neither one even has legs!”
“I’m excited to help in whatever way I can,” said Quikla Eggs, the team’s leading distance walker. “I walk from [campus] to Williamsburg almost every day,” said Eggs.
Lots of self-confidence in her own performance will help Eggs to compete against tough play from her opponents. “I know [opponents] are going to come hungry, so I just have to focus on what I can control and whatever I can do to make my teammates better.”
“We are making lots of progress on fundamentals and concepts of strategy,” said Gratespa Eed, assistant coach of the program. “Along with [Fevrine] and the athletic department, this campus should expect a colossal impact in school spirit,” said Eed.
With the program’s first matchups set for the last week of August, the campus community is crawling with excitement. Baruch College and Medgar Evers College will be joining competition play in 2018, and CUNYAC is well on its way to making history by being the leading competitive racewalking league in New York.