The Marion cross-country team is hoping a new coach means new fire for their state competition aspirations.
Rebecca Hofer, who teaches fourth grade at Marion elementary, will begin her first season coaching cross country.
But this is not her first experience with running.
“I was the assistant coach under Bethany Carlson during the 2008 and 2009 seasons,” Hofer said. “I personally love to run and I hope I can share that passion with my cross-country runners.”
In the past few years Hofer has completed five half-marathon races and one full marathon race, and plans to run additional races in the future.
“I am excited to be the new cross-country coach, because it combines my love of running and joy of working with kids,” she said. “At the same time it is both an individual and team sport where athletes work hard to reach both personal and shared goals.”
Hofer said her goal this season is to help the runners reach the running potential that she knows they can achieve.
“I believe the boys’ team has a great chance to make it to state and I would love to help them reach that goal,” she said. “Right now, we don’t have a full girls’ team, so I hope that several of the girls can make it to state on an individual level.”
Jordan Hett will lead the boys’ team after finishing sixth at the Class 3A state race in Wamego last year. As a team, Marion placed ninth among 12 teams.
Another returning runner, Patrick McCarty, placed 22nd at state, missing a state medal by only two spots. Also coming back from the state team are Jacob Cope, who placed 48th, and Clark Kroupa, who finished 95th.
Hofer said she plans to emphasize running endurance, strength running hills and overall speed as she prepares her runners for this season.
However, she also acknowledges that the road to success could be a bit bumpy.
“I am sure that there might be some challenges as I take over the head coaching position,” Hofer said. “I know that I still have things to learn, and the runners will have to get used to my coaching style.”
She said the Bennington and Hutch Trinity cross-country teams will likely present the biggest competition to the Warriors.
“They performed very well last season and have strong teams,” Hofer said.
The Warriors will start their season with a meet at Abilene Sept. 1.