Two years ago I embarked on a journey to Salina, KS, to become the Head XC and Track Coach. I honestly had no idea of what to expect. Looking back, I remember then looking at two individuals who raced that first XC meet with me as their coach in Nebraska, one girl and one guy, standing on a line next to 20 or more teams. They seemed alone, having only a coach to cheer them on and themselves to trust. I would have been scared, but I knew there was something special about them; they both knew Christ. As the season continued and more runners joined our team, we began to build a family. Last year I took a small but mighty group of runners to Colorado to build and instill the values I wanted to see in them each and every day. I wanted them to know that hiking Pikes Peak would teach them something about themselves, making them aware of an inner courage and strength they never knew they had.
This fall there will be 20 distance runners at KWU, walking around the campus and getting an education. While some may not see this is a large team, I look at it as a huge team. The numbers have grown, and so have the bonds of family. After arriving back in Salina yesterday from my 2nd team camp in Colorado with the XC team, I could not be happier or more excited. It is already clear that I have some very talented and truly awesome young runners. The journey that they all began this week will have many ups and down, good times and bad.
I have no doubt that God has brought me to Salina to be a leader for these young men and women. Even though some of them may not be religious, I do pray that my faith, love, and caring will be contagious. God can do amazing things through people, and what better way would there be to reach young men and women fresh out of high school. The journey is not just for the runners but for me as well, for me to share God's love, to share my passion for running, and to share the love that my amazing parents, coaches, and friends have given me as a runner.
I wish the best of luck to each runner who is embarking on their cross country season. I pray that you will have a coach who cares the way mine did. In no way will I be a perfect coach, the same way I am not a perfect human being, but I will not give up, and I will trust in the Lord to give me strength and direction. Good Luck and GO COYOTES!