Before the school year even started, the Timber Creek Cross Country Team practiced everyday. This was not unfamiliar for most members of the team, but there was something different this summer: Josh Allen was the new head coach.
At the end of last year, long time cross country and girls track coach, Jeridan Strong, announced that he would not be coaching anymore in order to spend more time with his family. The team continued to run with loosely organized practices throughout June while waiting for the new coach, but in July, it became official as Allen began his job.
“I’ve just been really impressed [by] how well the team works together and how they go about their routines,” said Allen. “They’ve been welcoming and, you know, given me a lot of grace as far as the learning curve.”
Previously coaching at Northwest High School, Allen also he ran cross country in high school, however considering himself more of a “track guy”.
“I wanted to be a track coach and cross country kind of came in the territory,” commented Allen. “I liked track better when I was running, but when I started coaching, I really developed a passion for cross country. I think it’s the ultimate team sport.”
Now, he hopes to build on the past successes of the Timber Creek program, having admired the program for a long time. As the runners train for a highly competitive season, Allen is focused on more than just attaining silverware, hoping to stretch the “positive culture” at Timber Creek further than just the athletes he coaches.
“I take it as a big responsibility to be here,” Allen explained. “The teams have set goals of making it to state, so I hope to help them achieve that goal. I think ultimately the goal of any coach, any season is just for everybody to reach their potential, continue to improve, stay healthy, have a good experience,” expressed Allen. “I really want to emphasize the importance of team culture and making sure everybody feels included.”
With previous coaching instilling in these athletes that success is found through accomplishing their goals, the new coach hopes to create a great atmosphere for the team, creating a supportive group that holds each other accountable to push to their limits.
“Whether it’s cross country, track, [or] in the halls, you know, everybody’s pretty positive and supportive of each other,” said Allen. “To me, that’s the most important thing. Whether we win or lose, I think the culture’s the most important thing and what the kids take with them when they graduate. I think that says a lot about the success of a program when kids come back, and they still want to be a part of things. I just [want to] keep the program strong and moving forward.”