Track and Field prepares for success


Shadera Moore

Coach Bryiana Richardson helps criminal justice freshman Morgan Wakefield at track and field practice in the University Sports Complex on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020.

Breanna Henry

After the previous head coach signed off, it was up to Bryiana Richardson, interim head coach of cross country and track and field at Loyola, to pick up where the team left off.

Richardson became interim head coach in September, so with a quick turnaround, it was quite a task.

“Everything kind of fell on me,” Richardson said. “I’ve only ever been an assistant coach, so going from that to interim head coach within a week was overwhelming.”

Richardson noted her transition as interim head coach was better than she imagined.

“It ended up not being as bad as I thought it would be,” she said. “It wasn’t easy, but I was more prepared than I thought I was.”

Richardson’s preparation led to her reaping rewards. She was named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Coach of the Year after the men’s cross country team claimed the Southern States Athletic Conference championship back in November.

“This title showed me that all my work wasn’t going in vain,” she said. “It was like validation for the team.”

Richardson doesn’t hesitate to give credit where credit is due.

“If it weren’t for the athletes, I wouldn’t have gotten that title,” she said. “That just goes to show how much work they put in.”

Having seen the athletes’ hard work, Richardson continues to lift them up.

“They’ve had quite a few coaches come through and for them to still want to be a part of the team and do well says a lot about who they are,” Richardson said. “I love their resilience, it’s contagious.”

The athletes Richardson mentioned are now preparing for the upcoming track and field season.

Amber Byrd, a freshman biochemistry pre-med major, said she has been training hard during the first week of track practices.

“Getting adjusted to new workouts again was difficult, but that comes with the territory of being a runner,” Byrd said. “A highlight of this season would be finding a coach that was able to transition and keep up the work the previous coach started.”

Byrd noticed she had to train differently for track and field than cross country.

“We have to incorporate more speed work into our runs while still keeping our mileage relatively the same,” Byrd said.

Micah Sells, a freshman biology major, has also been training in preparation for this season.

“We have been doing a lot of general strength and speed technique training,” Sells said. “The most difficult days were when we worked on our speed endurance.”

While training, Sells had a few goals in mind.

“I want to qualify for outdoor nationals in the 100 and 400 hurdles this season,” she said.

To perform better on the team, Sells plans to stay healthy on and off the track.

Loyola’s track and field teams kick off their season Friday, Jan. 31, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. With the hiring of Geoff Masanet as the new track and cross country coach Richardson will be returning to her former position as assistant coach.