Cross-country team to compete in track, field events, emphasizes training for next season

Following a successful first season, the Bruins cross-country team will begin track and field competition on Feb. 8, providing the athletes with opportunities to participate in spring events.

“Cross-country is usually in close conjunction with track and field, with the runners competing in the spring with distance events on the track,” Coach Landon Bright said. “Track is a continuation of the fall season for them. I thought it was important to keep training and stay sharp through the year.”

The spring season will be a trial period of sorts for track and field, as the program is not yet official, and athletes are not eligible to qualify for the national championship. The possibility of adding an official track and field schedule to the Bruins program exists, but no plans have been solidified.

Track and field for the Bruins includes the same athletes on the cross-country team and will focus solely on running events this season.

“Since most of our athletes are distance runners and cross-country runners, we will be focusing on the distance running right now,” Bright said. “We are working to be ready for the fall [cross-country season].”

The Bruins, focusing mainly on the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter races for this spring, have placed a bigger emphasis on speed training to prepare for the upcoming meets. To put it in perspective, a 5,000-meter race is about 12 1/2 laps around the Alumni Stadium track, and a 10,000-meter race would roughly equal 25 laps, run at an average time of 35 minutes.

While the current emphasis is on running, Coach Bright said he would like to see the Bruins participate in additional track events in the future.

“We would love to see the program evolve to include athletes who can compete in some of the other events, such as throwing, jumping and sprinting. Maybe a few years down the road, as the Lord continues to grow the [BJU Department of Athletics], we can potentially see a full track-and-field program where all the events are represented by different student athletes who are gifted with those abilities.”

The Bruins will compete Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Green Valley 8K and 10-mile run.