Attention Virginia Wesleyan University… get on your marks, get set, and get ready to meet the new Cross Country and Track and Field head coach, Jesse Weiner. He is a former head coach at Alderson Broaddus University for the last eight years, and is coming to Virginia Wesleyan University to conduct change within the Cross Country and Track and Field programs. The Cross Country team has been on a roll this past season by taking third at the ODAC Championships for the men’s team and by taking 30th at the NCAA Regional tournament for the women’s team. Weiner is excited for a new start with a group of talented runners at Virginia Wesleyan University, “I am blessed that President Miller and Athletic Director Tina Hill have chosen me for this position and would like to thank them both. I see this team competing for an ODAC Title and having some National Qualifiers,” Weiner said.
Weiner has had some previous coaching experience. He completed his Graduate Assistant Coaching at the Division II East Stroudsburg University. He continued his coaching career at the Division III Adrian College. Weiner then went on to become the head coach for Cross Country and Track and Field at Alderson Broaddus University for eight years. Virginia Wesleyan University was on the search for a new head coach when they came across Weiner. “I thought it was a great opportunity,” he said, “Virginia Wesleyan University has a great group of athletes that I know can win a conference title in the near future.” Weiner is focused on creating an environment that is revolved around one team by uniting the women’s and men’s teams, “I’m not going to change a lot but WE will be ONE TEAM. In the past there was a Men’s team and a Women’s team.” Weiner wants to ensure that his teams work together in becoming successful and understands how to make that happen, “We will practice and travel together as a start.” The one character trait that each runner must have in order to promote change within the program is accountability. Weiner said, “If everyone holds themselves and each other accountable everything will click.” The Cross Country and Track and Field team will be preparing to host these meets by getting the track ready, “You will be able to see a lot more of equipment coming to the track over the next year.” This will allow VWU to host High School and Collegiate meets as well as conference meets,” Weiner says. The Virginia Wesleyan University Track and Field team will also be hosting the ODAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships in April of 2021.
Senior Abel Owusu, a thrower on the Track and Field team, mentioned his concerns for funding, “Funding for the program has been a great struggle for our team over the years. I hope in the future greater importance will be placed on the program.” Senior Louis Wolverton, a distance runner for the Cross Country team, elaborates on the concerns for funding. “A track and field team requires a lot of athletes considering the many different events, and this requires a large budget. With roughly 12 competitions for track and field and 18 for the distance runners, that is a lot of travel, meet fees, food and hotels. In order to fund this work needs to be done in order to be able to travel as the team grows in the coming years,” Wolverton said.
Although the Cross Country and Track and Field program recently lost their former coaching staff, Weiner is a great new addition to the team. Although Weiner is the new coach, the Littleton’s will be remembered throughout the program. remembers the Littletons by saying, “The motto the Littletons put behind the program, “We build winners in life” is something that will live on in the program.” In regards to the new coaching staff, Wolverton is excited to see new changes within the program. “With Jesse Weiner at the wheel, I expect to see an improvement in recruiting for the team. His positive attitude and good humor, along with a reputation as a good recruiter will help the program grow.” Wolverton believes that Weiner has the skills to lead the team to success. “His background at ESU and his time coaching at other universities gives him vital experience and knowledge to coach track and field.” Just like other sports, Cross Country is a technical sport. “This sport requires a great knowledge to be successful. The job of coach in this sport is one that teaches and guides the athlete in the most productive direction while keeping each athletes goals in mind,” Wolverton said.“I am excited to have a new face added to the program. Coach Jesse seems like a good fit for a program ready for some change.” The need for change is a constant theme that is heard throughout the members of the program. Owusu is one member who is vocal about needing change. “I expect there to be a clean up of the program since leadership will be changing, providing a whole new look for the track team.” Owusu said.
Virginia Wesleyan University’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams are ready for a better future within their program.