New cross country team at Trinidad State starts out 10 strong
Valley Campus / September 17, 2016 / Written by Margaret Sanderson
Ten runners, five gals and five guys, are all pumped about running for ten-time All-American and four-time national champion, 24 year-old Lauren Martin, who is coaching the first team sport to be offered by Trinidad State on the Alamosa Campus.
Last November, while she was on vacation, Martin saw the ad for a cross country coach in the Valley Courier. ‘That’s so awesome!’ she thought. ‘That would be so cool to have a cross country Junior College team in Alamosa.’ “I think there’s no better place in the whole country to be, to do long distance running – just with the elevation and the trails and the places to run, it’s phenomenal. When the opportunity opened up, I applied and went through the interview process and ended up here. I’m really excited.”
Martin graduated with a bachelor’s in Political Science from Adams State in 2014 and earned her master’s there in Business Administration over the summer.
Martin considered herself to be a mediocre runner coming out of high school and she said her dad never interfered with that process. But she wanted to be a really good runner. For that reason, she chose Adams State because she knew her dad was the answer to that dream. Winner of numerous coaching awards, Damon Martin who heads both Track and Cross Country at Adams State University is considered to be one of the best in the country. He has led his teams from victory to victory establishing an impressive track record. His specialty is distance running.
“My dad is a really good coach and he knows how to make people better. Running for my dad was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I worked hard and my improvement from year one to year two was better than most.”
Researching runners using MileSplit, an online network focused on track and field and cross country, Martin worked from February to August recruiting eight of her ten runners. Two others who heard about the new team wanted to train with her as well. They all know about her running record and believe she has the ability to help them excel. Damian said, “I wish someone would have told me that Junior Colleges aren’t a lower step. A lot of people think it’s less than or whatever, but I think it’s a great opportunity for kids that aren’t quite fully developed in the running world. At Adams there’s 70 distance runners. Some of those students may never make the team. Here we have 10. They’re all going to make the team. They’ll get to travel and get one-on-one attention.”
Maggie Jones from Wisconsin, who is studying nursing, ran with Martin at Adams State and wanted the opportunity to train with her. She said, “She is an incredible coach and you can feel her compassion and love for the team and the sport. Every time you are in her office or looking for that last ounce of motivation during a tough workout, her enthusiasm is there to keep you pushing.” Elias Gedyon from California said, “Coach Lauri knows what she’s doing. I’m very excited. She’s very knowledgeable and I trust her. I’m confident I can grow as a student and as an athlete here before I transfer to Adams State to study business management and law.” Manuel Villeggs, a nursing student from La Junta is in National Guard training here in the Valley and feels like working with “Coach” will enhance that training. Cody Latone from the Zuni Reservation south of Gallup, New Mexico, wanted to run cross country. He felt a small school would help him get off to a good start. He wants to be a Game and Fish Warden. Majoring in diesel mechanics, Alamosa native Nick Molina has followed Martin’s whole career and is thrilled to train with her. His sister, Brianna, agrees. She is interested in criminal justice. Daniel Haymes, who knew about Martin’s background, came here from Derby, England. He’s enthusiastic about the massage therapy and holistic health program; and yes, he has a fun accent! Twin sisters Wyonna and Winona Martin from Gallup, New Mexico, are interested in sports medicine. They like motivating each other and they liked the idea of starting at a small school and working up. Mosca resident, Maria Montes, is studying education. She works from 7 am to 4 p.m. and then goes to class from 5 to 7 p.m. Training with the team is challenging but she’s determined to improve her running.
Their first competition, the Adams State University Joe Vigil Open, (Joe Vigil was the widely acclaimed Adams State men’s cross country coach for nearly 30 years) was held at the Cattails Golf Course on Saturday, September 10. Both Trinidad State teams finished in third place. Martin was pleased with her team’s performance and said several of them ran their personal best. She expects them to get better and better. On September 17 they will compete at the Mountaineer/Cowboy Invite hosted by Western State Colorado University in Gunnison.
“Coaching is a lot of fun,” said Martin. “I really enjoy helping kids get better. Weekend before last we wrote our goals which I want to help them achieve. That part is motivating to me. I knew right away that this was going to be a good fit. I love it here.”