Strong Year for Track, Cross Country


By Kyle Stengel

Coach CJ Fowler is a youth-invested and dedicated coach from Dallas, Texas. He ran track at North Texas University. Fowler is excited to return as the Director of Track and Field, and Cross Country. He has high hopes for this year’s athletes.

What are some things the student body needs to know about this team?
“We are here to serve you. We are here if your organization needs volunteers, help, or anything else. We have a lot of school record holders on our roster, congratulate them when you see them.”

What is the potential of this team?
“I am very excited about our recruiting class and our returners are key contributors. I believe we can have the highest conference finish in school history. We are confident in our roster.”

What are some of your goals as a team this upcoming season?
1. As a team we average a 3.0 GPA or higher.
2. We get in 200+ volunteer hours
3. We finished in the top three at the Conference Championships.

How do you rally community support?
“Our team is very tied to the Downtown Raleigh area. During the 2021-2022 academic year we achieved over 300+ community service hours. Instilling selflessness in our athletes is a top priority.”

Service Hours around Raleigh:
1. Marbles Kids’ Museum
2. The Women’s Center
3. WPU Campus

What are some of your favorite things about WPU?
1. The staff is very helpful and selfless.
2. I love campus events.
3. Internships being embedded in the degree plan is also one of my favorite things.

What are your core values?
“I tell everyone that I am a people person and that I am in the people business. My core values are centered around building student athletes into productive adults.”

Fowler focuses on eight core values:
Shared Governance

What is the typical practice like?
“In track, there are a lot of event groups. Every practice is unique. However, all disciplines are centered around efficient movement, fitness, and skill development.

Our sprint group uses the warm-up to ignite desired muscle groups and gain muscle memory for desired skills. The workout builds fitness, power, and speed development. Our cool down begins the recovery process.”

Fowler describes the practice in four steps:
Prehab: Injury prevention exercises
Warm Up: Prepares body for the workout and reinforcement of skills
Workout: Varies between fitness, power, and speed development
Cool down: Recovery activities

How would you deal with a struggling team?
“When the team is struggling. I respond in three different ways.
1. Meet with individual athletes to get a gauge of athlete morale and feelings.
2. I challenge them to respond to negative performances for great practices.
3. I remind them that everyone struggles. The response to struggle is what defines us.”

How do you manage School vs. Athletics?
“We are all students first. Nurturing academics is our main priority. All of our athletes will compete in their last meet one day, the resources and knowledge we instill in our athletes lasts forever. We study as a team and meet about academics weekly.”

Why did you want to become a coach?
“Honestly, it was not a choice, It’s in me, not on me. I’ve been leading teams since Little League. My mom used to come to the sidelines and tell me ‘CJ you can’t be the coach and the player too’. I have a passion for investing in other people. I see real value in sharing experience and knowledge to our next generation of leaders. I coach because I was born to.”

Photo courtesy of WPU Athletics