After their initial season last spring, the Bruins track and field team is preparing for their second season of competition.
Landon Bright, who coaches the track and field team, also coaches the cross country team.
Bright said track and field is a natural companion to cross country, although it is its own unique sport.
In contrast to cross country, which is a race run through a natural landscape like a forest, track and field consists of three different events—running, jumping and throwing.
Running competitions take place on an outdoor track while the jumping and throwing competitions take place on a field.
The Bruins track and field team has an emphasis on distance track.
“Ninety to ninety-five percent of schools who have cross country also have track and field,” Bright said.
“It also gives us a different angle on recruiting.”
Coach Bright has been involved in track and field since a young age and was a distance runner in high school.
Bright previously coached for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, before joining the BJU Bruins staff in 2013.
This spring will be the track and field team’s second official season.
Last season, the track and field team sent four men and one woman to the NCCAA national meet.
“We did well, but there is a lot of room to improve,” Bright said.
For athletes to qualify for the NCCAA track and field championships, they must run under the qualifying standard set by the NCCAA. For example, men have to run the 1,500 meters, under 4:08 in order to compete at the national championships.
If they don’t run under this time before May’s national championships, they are not eligible to compete at the meet for that event.
The track and field team consists of five athletes.
Matthew Hopkins said he decided to join because it allows him to build up strength and speed for cross country season.
Hopkins said he has already set goals for himself and is excited to have a chance to qualify for another national championship meet.
Molly Campbell said she uses the shorter distances in track and field to help her break through barriers and go faster on the longer distances for cross country.
Campbell also said that God has blessed her with a great coach and with great teammates who push her to do the best she can and to run every race for God’s glory.
One of the goals Bright has set for the track and field team is for the athletes to gain more experience overall.
Coach Bright also said he is looking forward to setting school records and representing the Bruins.