By Greg Dudek
For Brian Espinosa, he would rather count his blessings than the number of accolades he has received over the past few months.
The junior sprinter and jumper for the Bridgewater State University men’s outdoor track and field team has ridden a wave of excellence, but credits a driven focus on his faith than anything else for his success.
“The more I focus on the outcome, the more I focus on being successful, I don’t usually do as well,” Espinosa said. “When I focus on God and I put him first, I am running for the joy of it and there is nothing better than that.”
It is Espinosa’s faith in his religion and in himself that has pushed him to new heights this season. During the indoor season, Espinosa captured All-American honors in the 200-meter dash.
With that behind him now, his focus is on the outdoor season where he is proving he is up for another All-American run.
Espinosa has put on a show through the first three meets of the outdoor season. At this past weekend’s UMass Dartmouth Corsair Classic, Espinosa placed first in both the long jump and the 100-meter dash while also running a leg of the winning 4×100-meter relay team.
With his performances, there are early indications that Espinosa could run several events at the national meet. As of right now, Espinosa ranks third in the long jump and ninth in the 100 in all of Div. III.
“Brian is one of those rare athletic types,” said assistant coach Kevin Coyle. “He has all the natural ability in the world. I think this year was a turning point for him because he is really starting to hone in on the fact that you have to put in a lot of hard work to reach that national level.”
Even with his standout performances, there has not been a shift in Espinosa’s demeanor.
“I don’t look at him as Brian Espinosa the All-American, he’s been my teammate since before he was an All-American,” said senior sprinter and jumper Joshua Danner-Hicks. “Nothing has really changed. We kind of just look at him as the same guy that he has always been.”
With expectations now at an all-time high, Espinosa faces considerable pressure from the outside to turn in top notch performances week after week.
However, Espinosa isn’t letting it impact him. Instead, he remains intent on looking straight ahead and sticking to what has got him here to make it past the finish line.
“The pressure does sweep in sometimes,” Espinosa said. “All I can do is just give my all and enjoy doing it. You got to do it because you love it and it is a passion of mine. You can’t add stress into the equation. Then it is just no fun anymore.”
It was not always a smooth journey for Espinosa. He started off his collegiate career at Worcester State University, but had to leave the track and field team and school due to illness as a freshman.
He then attended Community College of Rhode Island, but decided to leave track and field behind for a year.
Now at Bridgewater State, Espinosa is finally seeing the bigger picture.
He credits his trust in God for where he is now. He feels his life is more balanced, especially this season as he joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group on campus to connect with other members of his faith.
A lot has changed since his freshman year, giving him a new outlook on his recent success.
“I have matured so much,” Espinosa said. “My habits are much better. I have just surrounded myself with just the right people. My lifestyle has changed big time.”
While all the accolades and attention has followed Espinosa into this outdoor season, many would think anything short of another All-American title would be a disappointment.
But not Espinosa. Just putting his talents on display for Bridgewater State is just one of a countless line of blessings Espinosa is thankful for.
“If I don’t become All-American again I wouldn’t hang my head,” Espinosa said. “As long as I leave my all out on the track that is all that matters.”
Greg Dudek is The Comment’s Editor-In-Chief. Follow him on Twitter at gdudek10 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.