Track and field is a sport dominated by individual events. These events include throwing, sprinting, distance running, and jumping. But in the UAAP, track and field is considered a team sport in that, individual efforts are scored and totaled to garner a team score. The team with the highest grand total will be crowned champion at the end of the games.
Since the foundation of the UAAP in 1938, the University of the Philippines Track and Field team has been champion 18 times-- second most wins in the history of UAAP Athletics.
A number of these championships were orchestrated by former Olympian, Pete Subido. Subido, who was once called the "asia's fastest man on the bend," led UP to multiple championships both as a star athlete and as a coach.
Dominant as the team was, their winning ways came to a halt in 1982 when UP won its last UAAP track and field championship led by their captain, Gap Legaspi. Gap, who was recently elected to be PGH chairman, was a consistent medalist in the hurdle events while his two younger brothers dominated the sprints and middle distance races.
The UP Track and Field team may not have been as successful since then, but there were still athletes who shone despite the team falling short of podium finishes. Athletes such as Rio de la Cruz, Karl Francisco, Javier Luis Gomez, Sandino Yuzon, Joanne Lu, Precious de Leon just to name a few.
From 2001 to 2005, Rio de la Cruz was able to set the records for the 1500, 5000, and 10000m runs and bag the Rookie of the Year award; from 2007-2009, Karl Francisco won three consecutive gold medals in the hammer throw; from 2006-2009 Javier Luis Gomez set the records for both the Javelin throw and the decathlon; while Sandino, Joanne, and Precious were gold medalists in their respective events in the years 2007 and 2010.
In recent competitions, the team seems to have found its stride with athletes performing better and the whole group placing higher in UAAP rankings. In the last four years, Felix Camagay, Percival Quiambao, and Fel Quetulio were able to bag gold medals in the hammer throw; Kat Baron won two consecutive golds in the pole vault; Mic Baguisa and Elijah Guevara were champions in the discus throw; Gabriel Soriano won Gold in the 400m dash; David Managuelod and Jao Nasis won silver in the pole vault and high jump respectively, Beth Capioso won silver for both the 5000 and 10000m race walks; Jaime Mejia won bronze in the 110m and 400m hurdles; the men's relay teams won silver in both the 4x100m and 4x400m relays; and twice in the last 3 years, the men's team finished third in the overall standings.
This year, with alumnus Rio de la Cruz at the helm, and led by captains Fel Quetulio and Steff Legaspi, the UP Track and field team is looking to surpass last year's third place finish and uphold the University's mantra: Honor and Excellence.