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Waldorf University gets a new track coach

Coach Rod Wortley joins the Waldorf University track and field program as the new head coach from Cornerstone University in Michigan.

By Naomi Alvarez

The Waldorf University track and field program announced their new head coach this fall after many zoom meetings where the athletes could hear from potential coaches and ask them questions about their own coaching philosophy.

The team proudly announced on Sept. 14 Coach Rod Wortley was chosen for the position.

Although the outdoor track season doesn’t begin until spring and the indoor season starts up in January, the team has began practicing at the track at Bolstroff Field.

Coach Wortley is from Michigan and comes from a competitive collegiate track and field program.

“It’s a nine-month commitment, 24 weeks of practice for indoor and 24 weeks of practice for outdoor,” Wortley said.

He described how competitive programs use the entire school year to their full advantage and because of the indoor and outdoor seasons, they can accomplish more in the conference and national meets compared to other sports with a single season.

Wortley also began competing in road races in 1981 and ran Cross country in high school. He has competed in 26 marathons, including the Boston marathon three times.

He began his coaching career in 1996 at Cornerstone University and was there for 23 years. Today, Wortley runs recreationally and has goals for the team’s upcoming seasons.

“I have only been here for two weeks, but I do want to build on what the program accomplished last year,” Wortley said.

In the mean time, Wortley is trying to get a good feeling of what the time is like.

“I’m still gathering information and processing it, but they are polite and approachable and ready to get to work,” Worley said.

Wortley’s hope for every athlete in his program is to first and foremost get a higher education and graduate and second to use the four seasons of eligibility.

“One of my foundational principles is to treat my student athletes like the adults they are, sometimes that means the priorities in their life change,” said Wortley. “When that happens, that’s just how life goes, and that’s okay.”

He realizes how difficult it can be to be a student athlete, recalling times where past seniors said there were times when they wanted to quit, but because of perseverance and the close relationships with their teammates, they overcame those difficult times.

A question on the minds of some Warrior track athletes is whether Coach Wortley will still be with the program four years from now and Wortley expressed his thoughts.

“I spent 23 years coaching one program in the NAIA,” Wortley said. “I lived in the same city for 29 years. I did not come to Waldorf to climb the coaching career ladder. My wife and I love to travel, but we’re not big fans of moving.”

The Waldorf warriors have their first indoor track and field meet on Jan. 16 at Dordt College. Right now, the clock is ticking for the Waldorf track and field team, who are focused on ten weeks of conditioning in order to prepare for the indoor track season.