Bailey Continues to Build Coyote Cross Country Program
Mike Hammett - August 20, 2013 5:46 pm
When Brent Bailey took over the Kansas Wesleyan University cross country team two years ago, he had very little to work with.
Bailey was hired late in the summer, and worked with just a pair of varsity runners in his first cross country season.
Now in year three, Bailey has a solid group, with around 20 athletes out for cross country.
“This is going to be the largest team Kansas Wesleyan has had in 15 years,” Bailey said.
Bailey also returns a couple of national qualifiers. Senior Hillary Callaway returns to lead the women’s squad, while senior Hunter Stayton is back to pace the men.
“Both stepped up in getting a lot of these younger kids following their lead,” Bailey said.
Bailey said the younger athletes are copying “the work ethic, and just the little things you want to see in practice.”
Bailey is excited about his women’s team. This year’s squad will have 12 runners.
“I have a very deep team,” Bailey said. “I see them being a top-two team (in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference). I really have no doubt in that fact, as long as everybody stays healthy.”
As for the men, Bailey said he’s looking for a youthful group to grow.
“I believe that with a young team, if we can finish in the middle of the pack, top five hopefully, and at least one or two national qualifiers, that would be an extremely successful season,” Bailey said.
The Coyotes open the season on Saturday, August 31 at Baker. After a couple of weeks off, the Coyotes will take on larger schools in two big meets.
“At Missouri Southern, we’re going to see Division I caliber schools like Arkansas, Tulsa, Oklahoma State,” Bailey said. “The following weekend, we’ll be at the Roy Griak in Minnesota. It will be the largest cross country meet in the United States. We’ll see everybody from the University of Florida, Oregon might be there, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Stanford will be there, so you’ll see the top Division I schools in the nation. For a school our size to be on the starting line with the Stanford’s of the world, it’s a huge opportunity for my athletes to show what they’re made of.”
The Coyotes will also run in the NAIA PreNationals Meet at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence on October 12, the NAIA Mid-States Classic at Southwestern on October 26, and the KCAC Championships, also at Southwestern, on November 9.
The KCAC hosts the national championship meet this season at Lawrence’s Rim Rock Farm on November 23.