Built from the ground up, Bryant University XC/track & field on the rise
Based in Smithfield, Rhode Island, Bryant University is a small, accredited university composed of its College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, and School of Health and Behavioral Sciences. Bryant is home to a full cross country and track and field program on both the men’s and women’s sides, competing in the America East Conference. Under head coach Mitchell Switzer, Bryant University’s men’s and women’s programs look to make steps forward in their quest to reach the top of the America East. A former D1 athlete in his own right at the University of Vermont, Switzer has built the Bryant University program from the ground up.
Having recently placed an athlete in the top seven at the America East Championships this season in both the men’s and women’s races, the program looks to be improving on all fronts as the indoor track season begins.
“On the individual side, it went phenomenal. On the men's side, we had Ryan Slaney who finished second, which is our highest finish in the conference ever for an individual. He ran our fastest 8K ever,” said Switzer. “And on the women's side, we have Jasmine Trott finish sixth overall, all conference for us. She's been on fire this year and she is making up for last year where she got a little banged up and didn't quite do as well. I think this year was more of a redemption year for her and it definitely showed.”
On the team side, Switzer acknowledges that they have some work to do if they’re going to make the jump towards fighting for top honors in the conference and qualifying for the NCAA championship.
“On the team side of things, you know, I think we did okay. I was a little more hopeful that we do a little bit better overall as a team, but you know, we finished about where we finished last year,” said Switzer. “I just think we had a couple people who kind of struggled on the day and when it comes across, you need all five, all seven to, you know, really kind of show up.”
After conference championships, Switzer and his team quickly began to reorganize and ready up for the NCAA Northeast Regional.
“I think when I go back to what I was saying about the team side of things, I think America East left a lot to be desired for a lot of the men and women on the team and I know they're really getting after regionals next week. In their eyes, they don't think that they got to truly show how good they were this year,” said Switzer. “And so from our side of things, last year we made a pretty big jump in our region, almost 10 places for each gender. I know this year when I talked with them, we're looking to one, show that that wasn't a fluke and two, continue to make another big jump because I think we can overall.”
When the metric is better than the year before, Bryant University continues to impress, achieving their best women’s team performance, best individual men's performance, and second best men's team performance in school history at the NCAA regional. As for what Switzer attributes the team’s success and performance to, it is a combination of strong pack running and team culture.
“The team doesn’t care if you're the best and they don't care if you’re the worst. They care that you're putting everything you can and to be the best that you can be. It's a very uplifting environment,” said Switzer. “I think it's the culture. It's one of the things we are most proud of. We talk a lot about developing people and developing athletes. I'm a very firm believer in what happens when you're surrounded by others who have the same mindset and mentality you do.
The team could be described as one big family, a group all coming together to make each other faster, stronger and all around better than the day before.
“They're a group that has a ton of fun. They really enjoy and love the sport, love what they're doing. They love each other. They love pushing each other. I think it makes it a positive environment to be in every day at practice. I think that's where a lot of our success comes from because you look at it and we'll have people who will run way better than they ever expected,” said Switzer.
With a quick shift over to indoor after the cross country season, the Bryant Bulldogs have started off with a great showing at the Alden Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island after the women placed 2nd and the men ended up 5th.
If you’re interested in Bryant University and/or exploring your recruitment opportunities, check out this helpful resources:
- College track and field recruitment standards
- Create your free Streamline Athletes account
- Book your 30% off recruitment advising session with an expert (and get a personalized recruitment plan)
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