CASTLETON, Vt. – After establishing the Castleton track and field program as head coach over the past three years, Dave Heitkamp has announced his retirement from the position, effective immediately.
Heitkamp will still serve as head coach of the Castleton men's cross country team and still plans to stay involved with the men's and women's track and field squads as they move into the Little East Conference.
Heitkamp led the transition of the track and field program from club sport to NCAA varsity status, making an immediate impact as the Castleton men finished second while the women finished fourth in the 2016 North Atlantic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Six different Spartans, four men and two women, won individual NAC titles, and Tayler Larmie was selected as the NAC Rookie of the Year.
The progression of the track and field program continued in 2017 with four more individual conference titles, with the men finishing in fourth place and the women taking third place. The Spartans repeated those team performances in 2018, led by three individual league titles for the women and eight top-five finishes on the men's side. In addition, several Spartans qualified for both the indoor and outdoor versions of the New England Division III Track and Field Championships.
The men's cross country team has improved each season under Heitkamp's guidance, finishing fifth at the NAC Cross Country Championships in 2015, third in 2016, and second in 2017. Grandon Smith won back-to-back individual conference titles for Runner of the Year honors and qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships last November with an 11th place finish at the NCAA New England Regional Championships.
Heitkamp came to Castleton after spending 24 years as the head track and field coach at nearby Fair Haven Union High School. He won numerous awards with the Slaters, including the National Federation Coaches Association Boys Indoor Track Coach of the Year in 2000. Additionally, he was named the Vermont Indoor Track Association (VITA) Indoor Track Coach of the Year eight times in a 12-year span. He captured 23 team state titles as well as produced countless individual state champions, four New England champions, and one All-American.
A search for the new men's and women's track and field head coach will begin immediately.