Coach Rodney Wortley- CornerStone University Coach
Cornerstone University Coach
Grand Rapids, MI
Cornerstone University has been quickly becoming a national class NAIA track and field/cross country program. Coach Wortely and his staff, in addition to their team, can now claim an 11th place finish at the NAIA Cross Country Championships. Read on to find out more about their national race, program and school.
RM: Congratulations on your 11th place finish at the NAIA XC Nationals. Your highest ranking of the season had you guys at 12th place and heading into the national meet you were ranked 19th. How did you feel about your teams preparation leading up to nationals and did your team accomplish what you set out to accomplish?
CW: Our ultimate goal at the beginning of the season was to be top ten at nationals. There were many other goals leading up to that, but top ten was the big one. Finishing three points away from tenth and nine points away from ninth, gives us some great momentum going into next season.
RM: What are some of your theories on training with regard to volume, intensity and recovery?
CW: Our assistant coach for distance/mid distance, Nate Van Holten put together the training plan for the guys this season. He used several ranges of volume for the various groups (freshmen/upperclassmen, middle distance/long distance). Intensity was usually between 3k and 8k race pace with the recovery varying throughout the season.
RM: Why should a high school senior take a look at Cornerstone University? What are some of the things that make it a special place to be?
CW: 1. As a private, Christian university, you can expect to be challenged to grow spiritually as well as in the classroom and as an athlete.
2. One of our expectations for our XC/T&F athletes is for every one of them to qualify for the NAIA National Championships at some point. Since we added track in 1999, 100% of our women and all but one guy have made it to nationals at least one time if they competed for four years and graduate. That’s pretty significant. If you want to compete at the national level in the NAIA, we can get you there.
3. The administration at Cornerstone (Athletics Director up to the President) supports XC/T&F. In eleven years of coaching at this level, I’ve found it’s often the exception, rather than the rule for the AD and school administration to truly support the XC/T&F programs and encourage them to be successful. We started with literally nothing in 1999 and since then T&F has brought home more All-American plaques than every other sport at CU combined (and our other sports are very good).
4. Our XC/T&F athletes are a great group of people. We work very hard to maintain a close family atmosphere. That doesn’t always happen at the collegiate level, but it’s one of our top priorities. Sometimes we’re a dysfunctional family, but our goals are to be servant leaders and to take exceptional care of one another.
5. A lot of people make some of the best friends they’ll ever have while they are in college. Cornerstone University is a great place to make those relationships because it’s those friends who will get you through four or five of the most significant years of your life. Who you surround yourself with during that time will either build you up and help you be successful, or bring you down. Every year our seniors tell the freshman how fast four years comes and goes. It’s important to know what you want out of college and then put yourself at a school that will help you achieve that.
Thanks for the great interview Coach! (Interview conducted by Nick Cordes)