John Coyle was recently named Big Sky runner of the week for the second time this season, having only run two races. Coyle, a native of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is in his third season as a Weber State University cross-country runner.
He also earned the conference weekly honor after the first meet of the season at Utah State University, finishing in third place overall.
Recently, Coyle finished second overall at the Montana State Invitational, narrowly beating a teammate, the Senior All-American steeplechaser, Brett Hales.
Coyle and Hales’ efforts would lead the men’s team to a first-place finish at the 30th annual Montana State University Cross-Country Invitational, outscoring the nearest team (USU) by seven points.
Hales claimed that one of the reasons for Coyle’s success was the friendly competition and the pushing of one another in the offseason. He also said that Coyle’s high work ethic has helped him achieve success.
“Improvement has been the biggest thing for him this year, and our training has been a lot higher since upping the weekly mileage,” Hales said. “John is definitely the hardest-working person on the team.”
Hales went on to say that some of his success could be attributed to Coyle, as they build off each other’s successes.
“Brett has been a big influence on me throughout my career,” Coyle said. “When Brett runs a successful race, I do as well.”
Coyle finished second in the steeplechase at last year’s Big Sky Outdoor Track and Field Championships, just behind Hales. This year, however, he is working toward a conference title of his own.
Head Cross-Country Coach Paul Pilkington said that Coyle brings a positive attitude to the team, and is a valuable member of WSU’s cross-country team.
“I expect him to be in the top three runners in the conference this year,” Pilkington said. “I also expect him to be conference champion and an All-American in the steeplechase in the outdoor track season.”
Coming off a stellar outdoor track and field season, Coyle has opened this cross-country season with a big bang.
Head Track and Field Coach Daniel Walker said it was amazing to see how far Coyle has come since the time he stepped on campus as a freshman.
“He struggled with races and grades early on, but came together in years to follow,” Walker said. “His cross-country season is going better than anyone could have predicted.”
Coyle said that one of the reasons he’s had such a strong start to the season is because of his offseason workouts.
“I had very good training here this summer,” Coyle said. “I am in better shape now than I have been my whole career.”
Coaches as well as teammates said they have high expectations for Coyle this season.
“The races so far have really been low-key, with just local and Big Sky teams, so I still have room to improve,” Coyle said. “I take things one season at a time, and right now I am cross-country-oriented and really focused on making the NCAAs.”
This weekend, Coyle will lead the Wildcats at the Norte Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind.