Van-Far graduate Ryan Bontz continued making his move in the collegiate coaching ranks this past Fall after serving as an assistant for the cross country program at Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas.
Bontz, who served as an assistant coach last year at Ohio Christian University, joined the second year Eagles program and helped the boys and girls teams break through some barriers for the young program. The Lady Eagles team had 12 runners, which included an individual champion at a meet held in Clarksville, Ark.
Williams Baptist girls also took second place overall in two races and had three other top four finishes. The Lady Eagles finished third in the American Midwest Conference (AMC) Championships after being ranked sixth in the preseason. Two runners earned all-conference honors with top 10 finishes. The team’s top runner was just a few spots from going to nationals.
“The girls improved a lot over the season,” Bontz said. “They really developed from the first part of the season to the last part of the season and competed in every meet.”
Bontz said one of the runners broke into the 18’s in the 5K race.
There were 13 guys on the boys team as Bontz assisted second year head coach Andrew Watson.
Some of the runners improved their times by at least two minutes. The squad took fifth in the AMC Championships.
Bontz said one runner cut his time down and into the 27’s in the 8K.
“We had a good pack of runners, which is good team wise for scoring,” he added.
Overall, Bontz enjoyed the opportunity of returning to AMC competition as it is the same conference his alma mater, Hannibal LaGrange University, competes in. His former collegiate coach is now an assistant at Columbia College.
“It was good to be back in the same conference,” he said. “I competed against one of my best friend’s sisters and a former coach.”
Since Williams Baptist doesn’t have a track and field program in the Spring, Bontz will be returning home to work while staying in touch with the cross country program in the offseason.
Discussion has started, though in the preliminary stages, for Williams Baptist College to start a competitive track and field program.