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Opening Day is always a special time for athletes. The first game or meet of the season gives each person a chance to join with his or her teammates to compete after many hours of off-season practice.

For the Keystone Giants men’s and women’s track teams, the opening of the 2016-17 season was all of that and more. In addition to experiencing the hope and joy of the first track meet of the year, the teams had the opportunity to visit one of the most memorable venues in United States by participating in the Crowell Invitational at the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

The competition and visit to West Point

As far as the competition itself, both squads performed admirably, competing against mostly Division I opponents. Keystone records were set by Corey Allegrucci on the men’s team while Malley Bowen set two school records for the women’s team.

But the afternoon meant much more to the team than simply scores and times. Before the meet, both teams toured the campus to fully experience the history and lore of West Point itself.

“The trip was really the perfect way to open our season. In addition to competing against some very talented athletes, our young people had the opportunity to understand what West Point means in terms of the history of our nation.”

~ Giants Track coach Chris Kibler.

What the students think about competing at West Point

Team members wholeheartedly agreed. “I love to compete anywhere but going to West Point was truly special,” said Corey. “The entire day helped me realize the sacrifices that our military has made to help protect our country.”

“I think the trip to West Point was beneficial in so many ways. We were able to compete at the highest level and come together as a team at one of the most historic places in the nation,” said Malley.

For Coach Kibler, the West Point experience demonstrated what the Keystone athletic tradition is all about.

“We always believe that athletics must exist as part of the entire educational experience. Our goal isn’t just to produce the best athletes but the best student-athletes possible. That was our goal when we scheduled the trip to West Point and that is our goal every single day of the year,” he said.

Photo Caption: Keystone College sophomore Kristy Hansen competes in a track meet at the United State Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.