One Echo: A Spotlight on Marian University’s Cross Country and Track Team

Cross Country and Track Coach, Christopher Scott

Cross Country and Track Coach, Christopher Scott

Brenda Ordoñez, Reporter

It is 3 p.m. and you walk into the Sadoff Gymnasium here on Marian’s campus. Upon entering you are startled by echoing, and all that surrounds you is the phrase, “chop em!” Confused, you are determined to find the origin of these echoes, so you follow the voice. The echoes become louder, faster, more aggressive. You quicken your pace and suddenly you’re there. You have found the source of the piercing echoes and you are now standing in the middle of the gym gazing at 15 red-faced athletes. They are fully clothed wearing sweats and sweatshirts with their hoods up. The sweat drips from each of their faces creating small pools next to their feet. You are staring at them, yet they don’t even acknowledge you. Their sole focus is on the man creating the echoes. This man is Christopher Scott, but they call him Coach. 

Coach Scott is Marian University’s Cross Country and Track Coach. This is his first year coaching at Marian and is excited to help his athletes “… reach potential they didn’t know they had whether that’s in athletics or life in general…” During his childhood, Scott had to battle adversity as he grew up with a single mother of three and was constantly told he would not graduate high school or college. He also faced a heavily prejudiced society that did not believe African American men were capable of amounting to anything. Track thus became his outlet, his “exit out of reality… a place he could live without worries.” Because of this and the support of his mother, sister, brother, and his father-like-figure Pierre Bentz, he was able to beat adversity and use it as fuel to achieve greater. He was recruited by Kentucky State University in Frankfort Kentucky to run in Division II, and graduated with a major in physical education and a minor in coaching. 

Scott knew he wanted to be a coach since he was 16 years old. It was at that age he began coaching at a football camp for kids ages 8-12. Scott recalls that by the end of the camp, “95% of the kids wanted to be coached under me [him].” This solidified his passion for not only the sport of track but for coaching. Now being Marian’s track and cross country coach, Scott puts his blood, sweat and tears into helping his athletes “find their true identity in the sport. In saying that, their love, their passion, their hate, their energy, all go hand in hand with making them who they are as an athlete and person.” His athletes are aware of this commitment to the team. Freshman thrower Kamajjae Patterson feels that Scott pushes her to accomplish things that she didn’t think she could. She has never had a coach that treats them as a unit, and has not only created a strong team, but a family. Patterson feels as though Scott “is like a father figure to us, he has made a family out of a team. We work and do everything as one.” 

Scott has not only created a strong family-like bond within his team, but he is also spearheading rigorous practices that challenge his athletes’ minds, hearts, and bodies. Distance runner Jacob Leiden, also known as the guy with the colorful tights running around Marian, agrees with several others on the team that Scott’s “workouts are more intense multiple times a week instead of once or twice a week.” Leiden also shared that he is constantly sore due to the intense practices, but believes that these practices have helped improve his sprint time significantly and even motivate him further. Leiden feels that Scott’s encouragement and support while he is running fuels him even in the face of struggle.  

Coach Scott has been at Marian for a short amount of time, yet in this time he has managed to change the dynamic of the cross country and track program. What once was a team that had little to no commitment is now a developed athletic program that requires heart, skill, and passion. 

Now, your eyes roam from the red-faced, sweat-drenched athletes to Scott. He turns to his team and commands, “drop and give me 20!” and just like that, in a fluid motion the 15 athletes are down creating more pools, their heavy breathing seeming to come together as one. They are exhausted, sore, and out of breath, yet this does not stop them. They are each getting stronger and better. You keep watching as they come together and in one powerful voice, “family” echoes through the gym.