A new coach for MVL Cross Country
August 25, 2012 · Crystal Eskelsen
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The Mount Vernon-Lisbon cross country team recently endured the retirement of longtime coach Roger Johanson.
With that came inevitable change.
But the focus of the Mount Vernon-Lisbon cross country team remains: to work hard and be ready to compete at a high level.
The new head coach is Kory Swart. He comes to the cross country family from Cornell College, where he was the assistant track coach for nine years and also helped out on a volunteer basis with the Rams' cross country team. Swart ran cross country and track for the University of Northern Iowa and went to high school at Belmond-Klemme.
"I want to help athletes be the best runners they can be," said Swart. "I want running to be a great experience and I want the athletes to make running a lifelong pursuit."
Swart and Sue Deibner team-coach the boys' and girls' cross country program, and together they are changing a few things and keeping others the same.
"Kory is fabulous," Deibner said. "He is energetic, serious about our efforts and completely on board with our possibilities for great success this season."
The Mount Vernon-Lisbon boys' cross country team is ranked No. 15 in Class 3A in a preseason poll. They return James Wenzel, Austin Springsteen, Caleb Schmidt and Caleb Morningstar from last season's state qualifying team. The Mustangs finished fourth in 2011, led by meet runner-up Conner Smock, who graduated.
"The strengths of this team are its past success and experience," Swart said. "They are a very motivated group that is hungry to do well."
The Mount Vernon-Lisbon girls' cross country team is ranked No. 8 in Class 3A in the preseason polls. They return Kendra Schmidt, Lauren Wilch, Signe Jeppson, Lucy Conroy and Bea Thornton from last season's state-qualifying team. They finished 10th at state last year.
"The girls are running as a team and are very supportive," Deibner said. "Lauren and Signe are turning into some great, inspirational leaders."
The season kicked off with a timetrial Tuesday. Saturday the teams run at Cedar Rapids Prairie.