New Sports Set to Begin Competition at Washington College


The golf team, formed as a club last year, begins varsity play this fall. Cross-country and track and field to start in the 2024-25 academic year.

A student wearing a Washington College tank top runs past campus.

In ongoing efforts to provide a robust variety of athletic options for student-athletes, Washington College is adding three sports over the next two years, following a model of early recruitment into a club team that then becomes a varsity sport in the second year. 

“We’re committed to the student-athlete experience,” said Thad Moore, associate vice president and athletic director. “We’re trying to create an atmosphere that is attractive to a diverse population of student-athletes." 

This year, Washington College will become the seventh school in the Centennial Conference with a varsity golf team, which will compete in the fall and spring, the latter being its championship season. The golf team began as a club last year and plays at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club just south of Chestertown, two miles from Washington’s main campus. 

"The first year went pretty well as we got to know each other. As a club sport, the players come from the current student body so there was discovery in regard to the level of play each had. But I was happy to learn we had some good players already at the school,” said Dan Philippon, PGA, head coach. “As a coach, my main focus is helping the team members reach their full potential. My passion is teaching, and I'm looking forward to working with these athletes and giving them a path to raise the level of their game. I'm also looking forward to seeing our students play in events to see where we are versus our competition.” 

While golf may be a somewhat niche sport at the college level, the addition of track and field and cross-country could allow Washington College to attract dozens of new student-athletes. The two sports combined provide year-long opportunities for runners, with cross-country in the fall, indoor track and field in the winter, and outdoor track and field in the spring.  

The College plans to hire a coach in the summer of 2024 and begin club competition that fall. Both cross-country and track and field will become varsity sports for the 2025-26 school year.  

Moore said that the College researched the popularity of high school sports in addition to weighing what is offered elsewhere in the Centennial Conference in deciding on new sports to invest in. 

“We’re doing it strategically. We’re not adding sports just to add sports. We want to make sure they will be sustainable and thrive,” he said. “It allows the athletics department to provide a broader, more well-rounded student-athlete experience.” 

Moore said initial concepts are in place for a cross-country course on the River and Field Campus and a track and field facility by the softball field, but the timeline for those is still being worked out. Even without those new amenities, Moore said the College can support both sports when they start out. Johnson Fitness Center has an indoor track, and “the Eastern Shore is very cross-country friendly.” 

Current and prospective Washington College students interested in the golf team should contact Philippon directly at [email protected], and students who want to know more about joining the cross-country or track and field options coming next year can reach out to Moore at [email protected].