Wartenburg Steps Down From Aggie Cross Country and Track

Drew Wartenburg
 
Drew Wartenburg
 

July 21, 2014

DAVIS, Calif. - Drew Wartenburg, who guided UC Davis to five Big West Conference championships in cross country and track and field since arriving on campus in 2009, has stepped down as director of the two programs in order to pursue other coaching opportunities, it was announced on Monday by Director of Athletics Terry Tumey.

Wartenburg joined the UC Davis coaching staff as men's and women's cross country coach and assistant track and field coach before assuming leadership over the two programs in 2011. He's won two Big West cross country titles - one each for the men and women - as well as the last three Big West Women's Track and Feld Championships.

"The gift and power of working in capacities that allow me to invest and shape human capital, on the physical and emotional levels, is something that I will never take for granted," Wartenburg said. "The decision to pursue other coaching avenues is not one that has come easily or been made without a virtually all-consuming amount of thought and reflection."

It didn't take long for Wartenburg to make an impact on the program. Under his leadership, UC Davis won its first Big West men's cross country championship in 2010, a year before the women's team matched it with their first-ever Big West title. The Aggies' Jonathan Peterson won the men's individual title during their banner year while Sarah Sumpter did the same for the UC Davis women in 2011. For his efforts, Wartenburg was named the Big West Coach of the Year following both teams' championships.

The UC Davis women also finished runner-up in 2009, 2012 and 2013 while the men were third-place finishers in 2009 and 2013. The teams have combined to finished third or higher in seven of 10 cross country championship appearances. Additionally, Peterson finished 14th at the 2010 national championships, earning All-America honors.

Wartenburg's success has been just as prevalent with the track and field teams. Since becoming the programs' director three years ago, he's helped push UC Davis to one of the most prominent in the Big West.

Behind Sumpter, the 2012 Big West Women's Track Athlete of the Year  who won both the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs at the conference championship, the Aggies won their first-ever Big West track title that year with a thrilling half-point win over UC Santa Barbara.

They returned to back up that title with another in 2013, this time dominating the rest of the conference by scoring 172.5 points, well-ahead of second-place UCSB which tallied 128.5. UC Davis completed the three-peat this May, roaring to a Big West championship on its own Woody Wilson Track as sprinter Ashley Marshall won both the 100 and 200 for the second straight year. That led to her second consecutive Big West Track Athlete of the Year Award, and the program's third.

Wartenburg added Big West Coach of the Year honors each season of its championship run as UC Davis became the first team since Cal State Northridge (2006-11) to win at least three straight titles. Holly Tokar, winner in the pole vault, added to the Aggies' podium parade by being named the Big West Freshman of the Year this spring.

The Aggie men also had a prominent showing, challenging for the conference title for part of the Big West Championship's second day before eventually finishing third; a marked improvement over its previous finish. That helped give UC Davis its best combined men's-women's showing at the meet during its Big West tenure.

The Aggies sent 21 competitors - its largest contingent ever - to the NCAA West Prelim Meet at the University of Arkansas this May. Ashley Hearn (discus, 2012) and Lauren Wallace (800 meters, 2013) have each earned All-America honors at the NCAA Finals since Wartenburg took over as director while Marshall (100, 2013-14), Katie Fry (steeplechase, 2013) and Raquel Lambdin (1,500, 2014) each earned All-America honorable mention.

In the classroom, the women's cross country team has won UC Davis' Lysle Leach Team Academic Award for highest average GPA each of the past three years while distance runner Trevor Halsted is a prestigious 2014 Capital One Academic All-America third-team winner.

"Drew has been a wonderful representative of our program, both in and out of competition, and we're grateful for the success and prominence he's brought to our track and field and cross country programs," said Tumey. "We wish him the best as he pursue's the next chapter of his outstanding coaching career."

Tumey said plans to replace Wartenburg are still being considered.