Matthew Kolodzieczyk is the new cross country coach for the Trojans and has been teaching at Pahrump Valley High School for several years now.
He came to Pahrump after graduating from Western Michigan University in 2004 and teaches both regular English classes and honors English classes at school.
Kolodzieczyk had been the assistant to the former cross country coach Andy Andersen for several years.
The team starts its regular season practices on Aug. 19.
During the week of Aug. 26 Kolodzieczyk must decide on his lineup for the first meet Aug. 31 at Palo Verde High School.
“To determine who will run at the invitational we will have a run-off during one of the practices. We will have a simulated meet and the top seven runners will run,” he said. “The goal is always to get us to state.”
The team missed going the finals last year by one place.
He said taking over for Andersen was not too difficult because the former coach left him with a good team.
“I have worked under Andy for a few years so I don’t think my coaching style will be too different,” the coach said. “If you were to say my style of coaching was similar to Andy’s I would take it as a compliment. He was a pretty good coach for the team. I would like to follow in his footsteps and eventually find my own style.”
The girls have some strong runners coming back like Stefanie Thelaner, Jackie Sanchez, Alex Terry and Elizabeth Terry.
Like last year, the boys will be the weaker of the two teams.
The boys will have Shane Webber, Jacob Stearns and newcomer to the team, Devon Montgomery.
Montgomery ran track last year and took the state championship in the 110-meter hurdles.
“The boys’ numbers are still low. We lost a couple to graduation. We are pretty much where we were last year as far as boys,” he said. “Our boys have always been a small team. I think mostly because they just do not know what cross country entails. I think they see it as just running. They don’t see the competitive nature of it. You’ve got the crowds too. You get quite a few people showing up and that gets the adrenalin going. The boys are just not seeing it.”
He also said the sport competes with soccer and football which takes away a lot of athletes.