Giving Back The Team USA Minnesota Way

Team USA Minnesota athletes like Matt Gabrielson are giving back to the sport. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Team USA Minnesota athletes like Matt Gabrielson are giving back to the sport. Photo: PhotoRun.net

The runners are sharing their expertise by helping coach local schools.

From: Running USA

MINNEAPOLIS – (June 19, 2011) – Seven Team USA Minnesota distance runners – Heather Kampf, Jason Lehmkuhle, Matt Gabrielson, Meghan Peyton, Chris Rombough, Jamie Cheever and Megan Hogan – served as assistant track coaches this spring at either high school or college programs in the Twin Cities.

Kampf is in her first year working as the girls’ assistant distance coach at Apple Valley High School. “My team is far and away the most positive, close-knit and classy group of young women so coming to practice each day is such a joy,” said Kampf. “I’m so proud of who they are as people and what they are accomplishing on the track. It is fun as a coach to see my athletes improving as the season progresses. It makes me feel like I must be doing something right.

“My favorite memory from the year was seeing all of them at the finish line of the USA Road Mile Championships in May in downtown Minneapolis,” continued Kampf, who finished second in the race. “They were easy to spot, not only because they were all dressed in their Apple Valley gold team warm-ups, but because they had all picked up cow bells and inflatable clappers and were along the race course. I am quite certain no one had better fans out there.”

Lehmkuhle and Gabrielson both are assistant coaches with the Edina High School varsity and junior varsity distance runners, with Lehmkuhle in his sixth year with the school and Gabrielson marking his fifth year. “I love helping – even if it’s in a small way – kids become passionate about distance running,” said Lehmkuhle, who is a nationally ranked marathoner. “I’ve now been at Edina long enough that I’ve watched kids come in as seventh graders and then grow, develop and go on to run in college.”

At the college level, Peyton serves as the women’s assistant track coach at Augsburg College and Rombough is a volunteer assistant coach with the men’s distance and middle-distance squad at the University of Minnesota, with both in their first year of coaching. “Working with the Augsburg women is extremely rewarding,” said Peyton. “Helping head coach Dennis Barker (who is also the coach of Team USA Minnesota) foster the girls’ growth as both athletes and young women is one of the best feelings. I want to continue to help them grow for years to come and hopefully will inspire them along the way with my own running.”

Rombough is coaching at his alma mater, having finished his collegiate career at the University of Minnesota in 2010. “I enjoy working with the men because I know that they are fully committed so it allows me to be fully committed to them,” said Rombough. “Our men have been fighting for Big Ten Championships the last three years and to see the joy when we win and the heartbreak when we lose shows their full commitment.”

Also helping out at the high school level are new Team USA Minnesota athletes Cheever, who is assisting at Southwest High School in Minneapolis, and Hogan who has volunteered part-time to help out with the girls’ distance team at Eden Prairie High School. “I work with the mid-distance and distance athletes at Southwest,” said Cheever, who is a graduate of the high school. “I enjoy sharing my love for the sport and helping the high school students grow as both athletes and people.”

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