Patterson alum Jeffcoat running for ULM
Patterson High School alum Jonathan Jeffcoat completed his first season of cross country this fall at the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Now, the former local prep standout, above in action during this past cross country season, now has turned his attention to ULM’s track and field season. (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Genelle Rose)
Former Patterson High School standout Jonathan Jeffcoat walked on to the University of Louisiana at Monroe cross country team and ran his way to the Sun Belt Conference meet during his freshman season with the Warhawks.
Jeffcoat, who completed his freshman season this fall and is now in the midst of the ULM track and field indoor season, said he was one of a few freshmen male cross country runners that the ULM team accepted this fall.
He said he was going to attend ULM regardless of whether he got a shot at joining the team because it is the only school statewide that had his major, atmospheric sciences.
“I just talked to the coach, and he agreed to let me walk on, compete,” Jeffcoat said.
He said things were “interesting” during his first season of cross country, noting he was not only competing at races but competing in practices to make the travel squad.
He said the cross country team took seven male runners to races.
That competition on the team, he said, was one of the biggest adjustments.
“Coming from Patterson, I was pretty much the only distance runner that we really had at the school so I didn’t have to compete to go to meets or anything else,” he said. “It was pretty much locked in that I was going to be there.”
Jeffcoat also had to adjust to finishes at meets.
“You’re used to being top runner at most meets (in high school) to being in college, you’re lucky to be middle of the pack much less anywhere else,” he said. “It’s tough to keep yourself motivated.”
However, Jeffcoat said he reminded himself he was a freshman, and he is working toward the future.
Improvements, though, like he made during his freshman year, do help with the motivation.
In his first 8K (roughly five miles) he had run a 30:21 at ULM’s Warhawk Invitational and placed eighth.
While nearly a month to the day later, he placed 235th at the Chile Pepper Festival, but he shaved virtually two minutes off his time as he finished in 28:22.2.
Jeffcoat nearly matched that time approximately two weeks later at the Crimson Classic before finishing 61st at the Sun Belt Conference meet in 29:53.6.
In addition to watching and learning from his teammates and coach Karoly Varga, he said he also has learned how to approach workouts.
“If you go in with the attitude that, ‘Oh, I don’t feel like being here, I don’t want to do this,’ you’re not going to get a lot out of it as opposed to coming in and at least finding at least one good thing to get out of the workout, even if it was a bad run,” he said.
Jeffcoat said he expected to run the 5,000 and 10,000 meter runs in track, distances similar to what he runs in cross country.
“I think I can be better suited to compete at those distances,” he said.
In his first meet this past weekend at the Texas A&M-Texas Invitational in College Station, Texas, Jeffcoat finished in 16:38.74, good enough for ninth place.
The ULM indoor team will continue their season at the KMS Invite in Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 30.