Cross Country’s Bobcat Athlete of the Week

Rebecca Meghani, News Editor

After finishing second in a group of 51 runners at the Jaguar Invitational, Philip Bulatao, a sophomore cross country runner, was named Bobcat Athlete of the Week during the first week of September. 

Bulatao has previously been awarded 2021-22 PBC Silver Scholar, and he finished 22 at the 2021 PBC Championship and 79 at the NCAA Regional for Division II. During his 2021 season, his time for the 8k was 26:45 and his 10k was 34:30.

“It’s a pretty big accomplishment, just being a sophomore, and I hope to win it again, but we’ll see how it goes,” Bulatao said. “It’s an honor after going week after week doing my own thing so it’s nice seeing it finally paying off a little bit. It’s a really big motivator because I can see that something is going right.”

During his freshman year, he saw many upperclassmen receive this recognition, which made receiving this as a sophomore special.

“I have to work a lot harder to keep up with everything, and I’m doing almost double of what I did in high school,” Bulatao said. “Last year was my first year doing all kinds of workout and training and my body was not used to it. I remember at the end of the season I was almost getting hurt just from the new training but now this year, I’m used to everything, and it seems kind of normal.”

Since the beginning of his college career, he has changed the way he practices in order to improve his performance. In comparison to last summer, his work ethic has improved.

“The biggest thing is staying consistent,” Bulatao said. “Not going through trying to skip a day because I’m tired  and just staying on top of everything has really been helping me so far.”

Another part of the sport that he deems helpful has been the support from his team.

“I know cross country may seem like an individual sport, which in most aspects, sometimes, but most of the time, you’re putting your body through a lot of pain,” Bulatao said. “Having a support system behind you is really nice because you have other people going through the same thing as you. And it’s nice sharing something in common and getting through it, not just by myself but as a team.”

In addition to his team motivating him, he finds ways that he can improve himself during training. 

“Our coach gives us this piece of paper of what we need to train, and I’ll look at it here and there, but I’ll also keep notes on what felt good, what felt bad, what can I change and I tweak it every single time,” Bulatao said. 

His teammates have seen how he has been beneficial to the team.

“He brings great culture to the team, always enthusiastic, ready to attack the day and always gives a positive attitude,” said Caiden Curtis, a sophomore cross country runner. “He’s always motivated, ready to go, willing to do anything that comes at him. He deserves it, he works harder than anyone.”

This recognition continues to motivate Bulatao as he is currently striving to place all conference and top 16 in the whole Peach belt conference.