SCUSATF annual meeting Saturday in Columbia

The South Carolina USATF association is holding its annual meeting this Saturday at Dreher in Columbia. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. Interim association president Tim Tyler talks about USATF in the state and the past year.

scrunners: What is your title with the association?
tyler: For the past four months, I have been the interim president for the S.C. association of the USATF (SCUSATF). When I first took over this role, I thought we needed to focus on two major projects.  One, we wanted to make sure we came together as an association so that we could pull off a successful state track meet. I think we did that. We increased our level of communications as a group and got it done.  Linda Ellis did a fantastic job as our Youth Chair. Secondly, we were (and still are) in the middle of our accreditation process with the USATF.  With the help of many, including Valerie Jacobs, we have submitted our necessary information and have been able to move closer to fulfilling our requirements as an association.  We have a little more work to do, but we are getting there. Stay tuned for some more changes and improvements.

scrunners: What is expected to happen at the annual meeting?
tyler: First of all, this is an exciting year for our association in that it is an election year. Not only are we electing a new executive board, we will be celebrating a highly successful year in both cross country and track. We will also be providing our members with an update on our club’s committees over the past year.

scrunners: What do you hope to see happen with the association in the future?
tyler: I am convinced that this association will continue to grow in the next few years in both membership and number of participating athletes.  Our intent is to conduct more meets throughout the year, in addition to the Junior Olympic state meets and to improve the awareness of track events to all ages throughout the state. With the help of Chad Bernhardt, our webmaster, we will continue to utilize our website as a major method of communication to our members.

scrunners: What is your role and how did you get involved and when?
tyler: Currently, I am acting as the interim president of the SCUSATF.  I have been involved with  track and field in South Carolina for the past seven to eight years, when my two sons, Timothy and Andrew, began running for Coach Tami Dennis of the Mt. Pleasant Track Club. Through the years, I became involved in creating the MPTC’s booster club and served as its first president.  Today, the Mt. Pleasant Track Club is the largest track club in the state. During that time, I became involved at the state association level as the announcer for the state’s Junior Olympic cross country and track meets, and have been now for the past few years.  Last year, there was a vacancy in the second vice president role of the SCUSATF, and I was voted into that position. Then this past spring, our president resigned and I volunteered to take over the role of president on an interim basis until the election in August.

scrunners: What importance do you see USATF having with making an impact on the sport?
tyler: There are so many sports that are growing at a rapid rate. Whether it is track, soccer, or swimming, the governing body of the sport plays such a vital role. In our sport, USATF gained so much exposure recently in the way that our athletes excelled at the London Olympics.

scrunners: Will there be any awards given at the meeting?
tyler: We will be honoring our 54 All-Americans in a ceremony prior to the meeting, and then we will doing some other recognition at the event for volunteers.

scrunners: What did you think of the past track season in USATF at state level and state athletes?
tyler: I thought we had a phenomenal year.  Our state association had over 1,000 athletes participate in the state track and field meet this past June in Myrtle Beach. Our athletes continued to excel at both the region and the national levels. As mentioned, we had 54 All-Americans at the National Junior Olympics Track and Field meet last month, which is a great accomplishment for our state.  The athletes that we are watching in our state could be our next Olympians.
scrunners: What do you see happening this upcoming cross country season?
tyler: This next cross country season should be a lot of fun.  Many of our clubs have been growing each and every year, and excitement and awareness of running is at a peak.  We always send a large number of athletes to the national Junior Olympics cross country events, and we intend to send many more this year when it is held in New Mexico.

scrunners: Just finishing a busy two years with several national meets, what did you gain and experience from that?
tyler: From the time I have been involved at this level, I have really learned that these meets can’t be done successfully by just one or two people. Fortunately, we have had great participation from our club chairs, volunteers, coaches, parents, and officials.  We could not pull these meets off without all of their efforts. Linda Ellis did a fantastic job as Youth Chair, Norman Venyah and Perry Funnie assembled a talented group of officials, and our volunteers, parents, and coaches did what they do best.  We assembled a leadership group of Linda, Perry, Norman, Cathy Koziel, Anthony Washington, Valerie Jacobs, Chad Haffa and others to make sure we pulled this off.

scrunners: What do you feel having national meets in South Carolina did to our state and the sport?
tyler: Hosting the event provided tremendous exposure for the state of South Carolina as well as for our athletes.  It also was an additional source of revenue for our state. We had clubs from throughout the country that traveled to Myrtle Beach to participate and I know our athletes enjoyed participating in front of a “home” crowd.