Ready, set and its a go: Menlo College reinstates two sports


Menlo College is starting to make good on its efforts to expand the athletic department after dropping football. The school announced this week the addition of cross country and track and field for men and women.

With the addition of these sports, Menlo will sponsor 15 sports in the fall.

Dan Noel
"Adding cross country and track further aligns our department with the Golden State Athletic Conference and the championship sports they offer" Menlo Director of Athletics Keith Spataro said. "The teams in our new conference have seen tremendous success in both of these sports and we look forward to competing with them."

Veteran coach Dan Noel will head both cross country and track and field. He was previously an assistant coach at San Francisco State, where he was in charge of training hurdlers.

Over the course of the indoor and outdoor season, Gators' hurdlers set school records in both the 60-meter and 400-meter hurdles.

In addition to two top-10 performances in the 100 meter hurdles, SF State athletes also recorded a conference title in the 400 hurdles and produced a national qualifier.

Noel has also coached at Humboldt State, where he oversaw all aspects of the sprints, jumps and hurdles disciplines and helped them to top-10 finishes in the long jump, triple jump, 100m, 200m, 100H, and 400H.

In 2012, Noel structured the weight-training program for Olympian Sonali Merrill in preparation for the London Games.

"I am honored to join a college and athletics department with a reputation as outstanding as Menlo's, and I am excited to build on its strong history of excellence in track and cross country," said Noel. "From the moment I walked on campus, I was struck by the genuine sense of community shared by the students, faculty, and staff. I look forward to contributing to that community, and recruiting athletes eager to thrive in Menlo's personalized approach to the college experience."

Noel competed in hurdles and sprints at UC San Diego and was named the team's Men's Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

"We're excited to have Dan aboard to bring cross country and track back to Menlo College," Spataro said. "I expect that his enthusiasm for and knowledge of the sport will help him lead these programs to great things."

Track and field has a long history at Menlo College. It was one of the original four sports sponsored by then Menlo Junior College during the 1929-30 academic year.

Menlo grad Bill Toomey went to win a gold medal in the Decathalon at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

Fellow Menlo College Hall of Fame member Rink Babka from Palo Alto High competed for the Oaks during the 1954-55 seasons and won silver in the discus at the 1960 Rome Olympics.

Cross country rejoins Menlo's varsity sports ranks after a one-year hiatus.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Menlo Athletics

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