New cross country coach pushes team to improve

Posted September 22, 2015

The UW-River Falls men’s and women’s cross country team has a new coach this season. Danielle Douglas, who took over after former Head Coach Matt Cole resigned in May, also will coach the track and field team.

Douglas is a native of Memphis, Tennessee, and has years of prior experience as a coach. She had been the head coach for both the men’s and women’s cross country and the track and field teams at Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) since 2012 before taking the job at UWRF this year.

Douglas had not heard of UWRF before taking the job but after researching the school thought it would be a good fit for her as she was looking for something different compared to her previous coaching jobs. So far Douglas has enjoyed the transition to UWRF.

“I’m very impressed and happy that I made this decision,” Douglas said.

At MVSU Douglas led the men’s cross country team to back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championships in 2012 and 2013. She also was named SWAC men’s cross country coach of the year in both 2012 and 2013.

Members of the men’s and women’s team have been impressed by Douglas so far. Senior Zach Ambrose is among them.

“She’s the type of person you want to impress and also someone you can look for during a race to motivate you and push you to run harder and faster,” Ambrose said. “I think she was an excellent hire for the cross country and track and field team.”

Senior Rachel Stairs also had good things to say about her new coach.

“So far Coach Douglas has brought a lot of energy to the team. She is very passionate about coaching and is excited to make our team work hard and be successful,” Stairs said.

The cross country season is just starting, but so far Douglas has been impressed by both the men and women.

“We have a lot of potential, a lot of potential, we’re young and their doing great,” she said. “I was very impressed with the first meet, we had a lot of person records, a lot of PRs compared to last year.”

Douglas doesn’t expect the team to be placing at the bottom of the conference and told the team she is looking for it to place fifth in the conference this year. Team members also expect to do well this year. Senior Daniel Borash said she believes this year’s men’s team could be the best in school history.

“I am very optimistic about this season, with the experience of our upperclassmen and some solid talent in our newcomers I can see this team being the best cross country team in our school history,” Borash said.

For the next meet Douglas has set goals for each of the athletes on the team and hopes to see them improve from previous meets, while also making sure they have fun at the same time. The men’s and women’s cross country team will travel to the University of Minnesota for the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 26.