From the coach’s view: Matthew Bliss on sophomore season
Published: Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 00:10
Matthew Bliss has been PUC’s men and women’s cross country coach for two seasons. Before joining the PUC faculty, he was the assistant women’s cross country coach while teaching at Griffith High School.
“I had been looking for a long time and once a position opened at the high school, I did what I could to get it,” Bliss explained.
He enjoyed those years of coaching runners he calls “some of the greatest athletes in the area” and working with wonderful coaches as well.
PUC’s cross country team has improved in both talent and size. An additional male and five new women have joined the team this year. PUC has also picked up more talent in the team through freshman Josh Keith and sophomore Phillip Espinosa.
Bliss reveals that many “newcomers are making direct and immediate contributions.” Courtney Wagner and Abigail Trader have also greatly contributed to the cross country team statistics.
Many of his runners have already improved their high school personal records and continue to lower their times each week. Bliss describes them as hardworking and determined to work through obstacles such as sickness, injury and class conflicts that can occur.
The schedule has also improved to fit more races and competitions. This is the first year PUC runners have competed in the Indiana Intercollegiate race.
“We feel this will help make our team more competitive by having one more race than last season,” Bliss says.
Core workouts and plyometrics have also been added to the training program to improve endurance, strength and stamina.
“Running is a sport where you lose it if you don’t use it,” Bliss says. “I expect all runners to come to every practice and give it their all while staying positive and motivated to not only improve their running, but their teammates’.”
He also claims that all of his runners possess the same qualities that most runners must have.
“Many people say that to be a runner, you have to be a little crazy. I tend to agree with this,” Bliss joked.
The team works extremely hard to push themselves every workout, as well as to encourage their fellow teammates. Communication is also a big key to the team’s success.
Bliss’s goal for his runners is to improve their times every race and improve on the team’s standing at the conference meets.
“We are a newer program and headed in the right direction,” he said.
He loves coaching and his favorite part is helping and preparing students for life after college.
He tries to offer any advice he can relate to about running, life and school.
“I love seeing my athletes do well in all aspects of their lives,” Bliss said.
Bliss also enjoys the social aspect of cross country.
“Meeting new people that provide the same inspiration and receiving great advice from them is always a welcome experience,” he said.