We’re now halfway through the fall sports season at Castleton. As of October 4, the field hockey team was 3-7 with a 3-0 North Atlantic Conference record, the women’s tennis team was 11-2 with a 6-0 NAC record, the women’s soccer team was 5-5-1 with a 3-0 NAC record, and the men’s squad was 6-4-1 with a 2-1 record in the NAC. I have seen a recent trend with Castleton sports. That trend is that most of our teams are cleaning up in the NAC, and they deserve some recognition. Also, some teams I have watched are playing much more enticing games against non-conference foes than they are against teams within their own conference. But does this trend speak badly for the NAC? Or is it a compliment to our athletic program?
Castleton has been a name to fear recently in the NAC as some of our teams have been dominating the entire conference. The women’s tennis team has won two of the four NAC championships it has played in. It also had an undefeated season a year ago as it as 3-0 in NAC play and won the Vermont State College Tournament. The men’s soccer team has won two straight NAC championships, and it has a good shot at number three this year. Field hockey will be going for a NAC repeat after the team won its first NAC championship last season. If Castleton were to move up, I think a more solid conference tossed in with our beautiful new stadium, athletic complex and surrounding athletic fields could draw in even more recruits, boosting the talent level that our teams already have. Maybe then Castleton will get the nationally recognized Division III status a lot our teams deserve.
But are we ready?
I am going to ultimately say that, no, it is not time for Castleton to move to a larger, more recognized conference. Not yet at least. Though Castleton may have teams that blow out a lot of conference opponents, we still aren’t anywhere near enough total NAC championships between our teams to find a new conference elsewhere. Some teams are right at home in the NAC, battling out great game after great game to the delight of Spartan fans. In the end, it seems like every Spartan team is battling for a title, and that is great for this school.
My hat goes off to those Castleton teams continuing to claim the NAC as their own, and also to those gunning and mucking it up each year getting closer to their own NAC title.