More than a cross country state champion coach

Ella Gag, Social Media Editor

“Coaching is about change and adjustment, coaching is being in the moment,” Scott Christensen cross country and track coach said. Christensen has won many awards and championships during his coaching years. He has also been a part of the district for close to 40 years.

Christensen has won 13 Minnesota State Championships and 27 Individual Minnesota State Champions. In 1997, Christensen’s team was nicknamed “the magnificent seven”. The team was ranked as the number one high school team in the United States. In addition, four of his alumni broke four minutes in the mile, including Olympic runner and 2007 graduate Ben Blankenship. Christensen’s passion in running shows through all his successes.

Christensen explained when he discovered running, it opened up his personality.

Photo submitted by Corinna Stansbury
Head cross country coach Scott Christensen preparing his team for the start of the race. He gives them last minute inspiration for crossing the finish line.

Christensen is a well-known coach in the running realm. He travels around the country in conferences explaining his running tactics to grow a team. Along with conferences, he has written articles on his rigorous and effective training. Christensen exceeds in his knowledge regarding what makes a strong runner and team. The love of the sport he has obtained rubs off on his own runners and encourages growth. His resilient and heavy working strategies for his runners make them top runners in the state.

“Scott can always find a bit more in someone, even if they think they are going one hundred percent, Scott can find more,” junior Jack Hesse-Withbroe said.

Christensen’s significant understanding and passion for the sport has a scientific aspect. As well as conferences and articles, he creates his own lessons titled “Advanced Topics in Cross Country Training Symposium” breaking running down, especially emphasizing scientific evidence, for other coaches.

“I really like the science of training, distance running has a lot of physiology to it, it has the art of coaching and developing kids along so they can run faster,” Christensen explained.

Along with Christensen’s knowledge of the sport, he adds another element. Christensen takes chunks of time out of his practices to talk to the team, giving them motivation. Christensen aims to develop a strong impact and make differences in his team’s personal lives. Not only does he focus on his runners’ improvement for the races, but also on the runners’ improvement in the real world.

A coach is not a parent, a coach is not a best friend. A coach occupies a very special place in a person’s life.”

“Scott likes to emphasize that practice does not start and end during our three hour get together, but every action or choice that we make throughout the day can and will affect our later performance,” senior Dan Beletsky said.

Christensen can develop runners from scratch to state meet runners. An important aspect of a coach includes finding systems that grow the majority of the team. Christensen works with varsity runners daily to keep the momentum, however he focuses and works to improve his junior varsity runners as well, even though they do not make a difference in his team’s points. Christensen won the 2018 MSHSCA Hall of Fame Coach from all the development he has made in the teams’ times.

Hesse-Withbroe’s time has dropped down to the low sixteens starting from right under 20 minutes from Scott’s tremendous program.

Christensen’s devotedness to the runner world not only motivates his teams to improve, but it motivates other teams as well. Running creates struggles for people. On the other hand, even with Christensen’s passion inspires the team, making them eager for upcoming practices and difficult workouts.

“The thought of running turns many people off, but Scott’s passion and love for coaching this team plays a major role in how I look at running. Although running can hurt at times and is not always rewarding, Scott is able to make every workout or run worthwhile,” Beletsky added.

“A coach is not a parent, a coach is not a best friend. A coach occupies a very special place in a person’s life,” Christensen said.