Coach Scott Christensen recognized by MSHSL

Levi Gregg, Copy Editor

Coach Scott Christensen’s dedication to Stillwater’s runners finally paid  off when he was inducted into the MSHSL Track hall of Fame.

After coaching 73 track and cross country teams, training 4 runners who have broken 4 minutes in the mile, and winning 8 state titles, Christensen was inducted into the Track hall of fame last spring, by a nearly unanimous ballot.

 “I love Scott, ever since day one he’s just been a cool, down to earth guy. He makes the Cross Country atmosphere so funny and lighthearted, and he takes the time to get to know you.” Senior Riley Call said.

Call is one of over 90 runners on the cross country team this year.  Christensen coached the first thirty years of his career without the an assistant. During this time, he coached between 60 and 80 students each season, while still getting know each individual runner on his team.

Since 2015, Christensen has been aided by assistant coach Ryan Miller.

Photo courtesy Matt Payne
Coach Scott Christensen supports his team in any way possible. “I love Scott, ever since day one he’s just been a cool, down to earth guy. He makes the Cross Country atmosphere so funny and lighthearted, and he takes the time to get to know you,” senior Riley Call says.

“I was trying to get in shape for basketball and I had a few friends who were going out on the team.” Miller, one of Scott’s runners from 2005 to 2007,  said.

One of the most remarkable elements of the cross country and track teams, are their ability to retain runners as alumni.  Every year, alumni attend the Christensen’s landmark workouts and his highest level meets, supporting the team long after they graduate..  

“I guess it’s my sport, it helps me feel good. It just has so many benefits both physically and mentally. Stillwater is a great program and I am very lucky to be a part of it,” Call said.

I guess it’s my sport, it helps me feel good. It just has so many benefits both physically and mentally. Stillwater is a great program and I am very lucky to be a part of it.”

— Riley Call

Most of  Christensen’s athletes stay on the cross country team throughout their high school years, despite the heavy time commitment required for cross country. While the official cross country season goes from Aug. 14 through Oct. 25, many athletes run during the summer, from June 19 to Nike regionals in November. Christensen requires his athletes to be seriously committed to the team making it clear that his runners who “got good” such as olympian Ben Blankenship, had to prioritize running over other activities in their lives.

Through his coaching program, Christensen works to foster a competitive atmosphere that matches his own experiences as a cross country runner.

“I wanted something to help my endurance for wrestling, but I don’t run just to help wrestling anymore, I run to run,” sophomore Luke Bethke said.

During his career, Christensen has become one of the most successful coaches at Stillwater. He trains runners with the perspective of a scientist and has made sizable contributions to coaching literature.

Beyond being a good coach, Christensen has made the cross country team good for the community. Earlier this year, the cross country team participated in a charitable run hosted by the local group, “Youth Advantage”, which helps pay activity fees for low income students. Christensen has made it one of his goals to coach runners who are not only good, but aware, and able to be successful in life.

“As a sophomore, I had Scott for cross country and biology and he helped give me a safe, productive approach to life,” Miller said.