This time history didn’t repeat itself- Grambling’s Men’s Cross-Country fall to fourth place in the conference championship. Mississippi State Valley was crowned SWAC champions on Monday in Clinton, Mississippi.
“It was a little disappointing to me because we usually finish in the top two. But starting from almost scratch, you have to work your self up,” said Coach Bertram Lovell, the men’s and women’s cross country and track and field coach.
Lovell believes that his runners have learned a great deal through this season.
“Sometimes you have to lose in order to learn how to win,” said Lovell.
Finishing in eighth place, Deonte Pope leads Grambling with a time of 26:54.14. Alfred Bartie and Trevor Gayten landed in the top 10 of runners with times of 27:05.86 and 27:34.21. Grambling ran a total of nine men in this race.
Lovell notes that in the last race, his runners ran faster than they have in pervious competitions but it still was not enough. Other SWAC teams improved from last season with new acquisitions, some schools recruited runners from overseas Lovell notes.
Grambling struggle finding runners who are true “long distance runners.” Lovell requires most runners who run in races longer than 800M to join the team. He encourages some “track athletes” to join the cross country team as a way become stronger.
“Speed is strength and strength is speed. The stronger you are the longer you can hold your speed,” said Lovell.
Every race is different: the weather, the mileage and the trail. The temperature affects some students who haven’t adapted to extremely cold or hot weather. In the conference championship, the temperature dropped near 40 degrees.
The Tigers prefer trails that are nice and smooth compare to the rocky, hilly trails.
Lovell also notes his team must learn how to “run as a team.” They should run in groups until near the end than break free. Running in groups allow for them to motivate each other.
“Cross country takes a team effort to win,” and Lovell reminds his players “it makes no since to win the battle but lose the war.”
“We will be so much better on the track, I can predict that,” said Lovell. “I usually don’t make predictions.”
The Grambling’s Men’s and Women’s Track and Field will start practice next week. Their first meet is at the University of Oklahoma on Jan. 19.