Flagler’s athletic programs, coaches looking forward to challenges
By Gian Louis Thompson | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Saints finally have a home. The Peach Belt Conference accepted Flagler into its ranks this year and the Saints are looking forward to rivalry and championship possibilities that the conference presents.
“Its nice to be back in a conference with a championship to play for,” said men’s soccer Coach John Lynch.
Conference participation will also give the Saints a chance to play in a consistent medium rather than the unreliable independent status of years past.
“After being independent for years, it means a lot,” women’s soccer Coach Teddy Meyer said. “It gives us more of an identity than we had before when going through the transition process.”
Flagler is on the geographic extremity of the conference, though. It’s the school farthest south of the 13 programs in the Peach Belt, but new athletic director Jud Damon views this as a way to put Flagler on the map.
“It will bring more exposure to Flagler College,” Damon said. “People who haven’t heard of Flagler before will start to.”
The Flagler coaches have different views on the long distances they’ll have to travel for away games. Volleyball Coach Taylor Mott says the distance factor is a disadvantage, but thinks being at the beach is a plus for volleyballers.
Lynch said he’s looking forward to traveling north of Florida. He said it’ll be nice for the other teams too, as they’ll get to come to here.
Most Flagler squads have had little exposure to Peach Belt teams and the Saints will need to make some adjustments to the new opponents.
“The only team we’ve played from the Peach Belt is Georgia Southwestern,” Lynch said. “I don’t know what the style of play and tactics are for these teams. We’ll have to figure it out. Much the same way, they’ll have to learn our style and tactics.”
As for rivals, Damon and his coaches aren’t quite sure what will happen yet. Damon says each sport will develop different rival programs throughout the Peach Belt.
Mott said Armstrong Atlantic may emerge as the Saints volleyball rivals.
“They won it last year and they are closest to us,” Mott said. “I think that makes for a great rivalry.”
Damon is excited for school to start and optimistic about the upcoming year.
“The student body will experience great college athletics,” Damon said.