We’ve all heard the cliché, “teamwork makes the dream work,” but this takes on a much deeper meaning for the men of Taylor University’s cross-country team.
After winning the national championship in 2020, then proceeding to finish 11th, 16th and then 11th again the following three years in nationals; expectations have been set high for this young squad.
Of the 22 members on the team, 14 of them are lowerclassmen.
Senior runner, Ben Eiffert, said this season is poised to be a great year of growth.
“We’re a young team but we’re a hungry team,” Eiffert said.
The freshmen have fully bought into the comradery and competition, and that energy has helped propel this team onward. Only four practices a week are mandatory, but these men go the extra mile, quite literally, and train during off days. The team is now practicing up to six days a week.
“Whatever we’re doing, we’re always doing it together and you can go so much further doing it together,” Eiffert said.
It isn’t uncommon for some runners to shine above the rest, but this isn’t true of Taylor’s team. The gap between the fastest and slowest runners is not exceptionally large, further demonstrating how they run as one cohesive unit.
“I’ve grown a lot through the relationships I’ve built on the team, not just as a runner but as a person. “It’s so much easier to go through hard things with people. You can’t do it alone. They’ve been my support system on and off the course,” Eiffert said.
Taylor’s course presents unique challenges to the runners which may prove to be a decisive edge for the Trojans.
“It’s hilly and it's hard, but that’s what makes it fun,” Eiffert said.
Other teams primarily practice on the notoriously flat plains of central Indiana. Coming to a meet held on more sloping terrain may provide a new challenge for visiting teams.
Regardless of how the season turns out, Eiffert stresses the importance of their broader mission as a team in saying, “Our number one goal that we put up in our locker room is to glorify Christ with what we’re doing, and if we’re not doing that then we’re doing it wrong.”
Eiffert also noted the importance of supporters coming out to spectate saying you can feel the difference when the fans are there.
Taylor University will be hosting the Crossroads League Championships on Nov. 3.
With an abundance of young talent that exudes brotherly love, the men’s cross-country team has high hopes for not only this season but more to come.