Cross country teammates Hannah Peterson and Caleb Davis were both influential in helping their teams break program records at the Koala Invitational in Columbia on Saturday, Oct. 4.
Hannah Peterson, senior elementary education major, broke the program record for a 6K race, 3.7 miles, placing fifth with a time of 23:38.0 and bringing the Lady Bruins to 3rd overall at the Koala SC Classic. Peterson has had other achievements in cross country as well, most notably making the all-American team at nationals last year since she placed into the fifth and final spot on the team.
Peterson describes the few moments before the race as some of the hardest and most intense. “Waiting for the gunshot is probably the scariest part of the race,” she said. Peterson said the race itself is more of a mental game than a physical one. Runners have adequate training but need to maintain positive mindsets to carry them through the race.
Peterson’s running experience began after a friend encouraged her to pick up the sport when an injury prevented her from continuing to play volleyball.
Peterson did not initially consider cross country a competitive sport. Once she started running, Peterson said she realized she was mistaken and has developed a love for running competitively. “It is really cool to see how God can use an injury to turn me from one sport to the sport that I am in now, and how I can love it even more than I did volleyball,” Peterson said. Peterson is completing her fourth season at BJU. She has attended college nationals every year.
Caleb Davis, senior sports management major, was the top finisher for the Bruins, placing 21st overall in the 8k race, five miles, with a time of 26:47.1 and setting his own personal record. The men’s cross country team placed 3rd overall at the Classic, setting a new program best. Davis has placed all-American in the last three nationals.
Davis realized running was for him after participating in a 5K in fifth grade and ran every year in high school and college. Davis said he really enjoys the social aspect of running with others and likes the competition of cross country as well. His goal this season is to break the school record, which is about 50 seconds shorter than his time at the Koala Invitational.
Both Peterson and Davis really appreciate the unity of the cross-country teams. They both agree that there is camaraderie among the men’s and women’s teams because they run together and attend the same meets.
Peterson said one downside to the pandemic has been a lack of fan support. Though whether to allow fans is up to the hosts of meets, all of the meets that the Bruins have participated in thus far have included only competitors.
The Bruins cross country team will host a home meet at BJU on Oct. 31. The women will race at 9:15 a.m. and the men will race at 10 a.m. Fans are encouraged to come watch the races and cheer on the BJU Bruins.