Cross country starts season on the right foot

Fall season sports are in full swing at John Brown University. Among those are the cross country teams, whose season so far has had a promising beginning, with a championship for both the men and women under their belts.

Scott Schochler, coach of the JBU cross country team, claimed training has gone well so far this semester and the team’s first meet was a complete success.

“Both the men’s and the women’s team won the meet that was held in Fort Smith in September. We won eight of the top ten spots,” Schochler said.

Schochler described his experience as the coach at JBU as going far beyond his expectations.

“I have been privileged to get to work with other outstanding coaches within the athletic department, and our student athletes are some of the best young men and women anywhere,” Schochler said.

Schochler explained that he has thoroughly enjoyed the athletes he is able to work with, mostly due to the spiritual mentorship component of his coaching style.

“It is great to hear our athletes discussing things we have read, are learning or have experienced in our lives trying to follow Christ,” Schochler said.

Schochler has also loved working to build the JBU cross country program into a nationally competitive program.

Schochler said the large amount of new athletes on his team and their fresh ambition, along with the support from the experienced runners, would translate into success for the entire team.

Abbie Melby, sophomore at JBU and second-year cross country team member, finds challenge and gratification in the sport and in her team.

Melby said that being a part of the cross country team at JBU is “like having a family who cares for you and is there for you on and off the course.”

Melby claimed that although cross country is typically understood as an individual sport, the team depends on one another for encouragement through every lap.

“The top five runners are the scorers, but it takes all 11 of us to push each other to the finish,” Melby explained.

Melby described the team’s dynamic as ideal and mentioned how difficult the long distance races and the strenuous practices would be without each of her teammates by her side.

Schochler said that the team has three meets in October. The team competed Oct. 4 in Fayetteville at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival, which, Schochler added, is one of the largest meets in the nation.

The team also travelled to Lawrence, KA on Oct. 11 to compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Nationals Preview Meet against most of the top NAIA schools in the country. The team’s final competition before their conference meet will be held at University of Arkansas Little Rock on Oct. 18.