Several Track and Field Set Personal Record Performances
MONTREAT, N.C. – The Bryan College outdoor track and field team had several Lions set new personal records at the Appalachian Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Friday and Saturday, Apr. 27-28 hosted by Montreat College at the Cavalier’s Pulliam Stadium, but it was James Eliezer who extended his season and raced his way to a spot at the 2018 67th Annual Men’s NAIA Outdoor T&F Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The junior from Port-au-Prince, Haiti has steadily improved while at Bryan, and his hard work and determination paid off as he broke his previous personal record, which was also the program record, in the 400-meter to secure a place at Nationals. His best was 48.83 seconds, but he blazed his way to an impressive 48.24-second mark. While at the meet, he also competed in the 100-meter, 200-meter, and 4×400-meter relay, but the 400-meter is where he shined.
“We have been working on his start for the 400-meter,” explained Bryan Head Cross Country/Track and Field Coach Josh Bradley. “James got a good lane draw (lane two) so he could see the entire field. This allowed him to get where he needed to be to pace off the other racers instead of running blind. He’s a competitor, so he wants to battle against others and not a time. Being in lane two played to his strength.”
There were two challengers from Tennessee Wesleyan University and one from Montreat that Eliezer knew he needed to focus on. During the event, he pulled up behind the third-place racer rather quickly and coming out of the second turn, Coach Bradley knew his time was going to be close to the qualifying time. “I was telling him to compete early, but also that he had to push all the way through the line,” said Coach Bradley. “I wanted to him to get top-5 since coming into the AAC Championships he was the 6th-best entry time. He went head-to-head with those guys all the way to the line. The four created a gap, and you could just tell it was a race between those few as they left behind the rest of the pack.”
Eliezer needed to hit 48.30 to lock in an A-qualifying time, which would punch his ticket to Gulf Shores, and he did even better than that as he crossed the finish line at 48.24 for fourth place overall. As Eliezer has shaved seconds off his time, so have the rest of the AAC as the conference has become a cross country/track & field powerhouse in the NAIA. His time in Montreat would have made him the medalist winner last year and even the season before, but this shows how improved the AAC has become. In order to stay sharp for Nationals, Eliezer will take place in a last-chance meet at University of Montevallo in Birmingham, Ala. on May 12.
Coach Bradley mentioned, “James has been training for three years, and this has been a big goal since coming into the program, but this is far from the last stop. We want to go and put together a big performance at Nationals. He’s also got one more year, so we expect a lot more for him and have other big goals in place.”
Despite the men’s team placing 8th and the women’s team recording an 11th-place finish, Coach Bradley expressed that the team ran well overall and peaked at the right time. This was the part of the season that the Lions were training for, and several individuals set new PR’s.