Wesleyan has made an impact on the SAC with two athletic players of the week in the first athletic week of the season.
A year ago this month it was announced that Texas Wesleyan University would be transferring out of the Red River Athletic Conference, and would be joining the Sooner Athletic Conference during the 2013-14 academic season.
After being a longtime member of the RRAC, the Rams walked away from the league with their third consecutive All-Sports championship for the conference in 2012-13.
At the time of the switch, there were two other Texas teams leaving the RRAC and joining the SAC as well: Northwood University from Cedar Hill and Southwestern Assemblies of God from Waxahachie. The RRAC teams were much more spread out from the Metroplex while most of the teams were from the southern parts of Texas such as Houston and San Antonio.
Long road trips to LSU-Shreveport and Bacone in Muskogee, Okla., also were expensive and caused ample missed class time in the Red River configuration.
Now that Wesleyan has joined the SAC, most of the 10 other members are only a few hours trip up to Oklahoma; while the rest are from Texas, with the exception of Wayland Baptist in West Texas and John Brown (Ark.).
Cal Clyde had the opportunity to interview Steve Trachier, the Wesleyan athletics director, and Kevin Millikan, assistant AD, former AD and head women’s golf coach at Wesleyan.
“We were excited to accept the invitation to join the Sooner Athletic Conference when given to us, and we accepted,” said Trachier. “This will help us geographically with traveling arrangements and students not missing as much class. Our programs will become better by competing against top tier teams.”
“You could be in the top three in the Sooner Conference and also be in the Top 10 in the nation,” Millikan noted, “which could happen on both the women’s and men’s sides. This will make you a better team by regularly competing against the best.”
Junior Denis Ushakov of the men’s soccer team had similar thoughts about the new levels of competition.
“It is a lot more challenging,” he stated. “I like it because it is more challenging.”
While leaving the Red River Athletic Conference as All-Sport Champs each year since 2010, the new opposition gives fans an opportunity to see different schools with solid student-athletes.
Administrators and observers are noting that the new competition is stiff, but the men’s and women’s soccer seasons are just beginning with a composite 5-0 match mark (5-0 men, 3-0-1 women) prior to the start of intra-conference activity.
Let’s hope that they keep up the hard work and continue to rise and meet this new challenge.