Avila University cuts track and field team one month before first meet

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The track and field athletes at Avila University had no idea last spring would be their final season suiting up for the Eagles.

They say the school let them know this past Friday, the program is being cut. Now their athletic careers have been put on hold.

"The best thing to say is that it's sad," Avila junior, Ethan Lind said.

Avila's track athletes wish they were practicing for an upcoming meet. Instead, they're trying to figure out their next move.

"Everybody always tells you, you have next year. Next year was taken away from me completely," senior Breonne Maltbia said.

They said this past Friday, the school broke some bad news. The Eagles head coach, Je'Kel Smith was being let go and there would no longer be a track team.

"There was really no warning. I mean, we were gearing up for competition in a month," Lind said.

In a statement to FOX4, the university said these cuts were made for budget reasons. For an up-and-coming team with lots of promise, this feels like a big blow to the gut.

"In many relays, many individual races have a couple of national qualifiers, have a couple of All-Americans. We feel there was no effort to keep us," Maltbia said.

Some say they plan on transferring to different programs. But for others who are seniors like Maltbia, they'll just have to sit this season out.

"I think it's one of the hardest things I've dealt with since I've been here. To run your last track meet and not know it's your last," Maltbia said.

The University said the cross country team will remain. They will also continue to honor the track and field athletes' scholarships.

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