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Colin Shawgo Named State Cross Country Coach the Year

"Interpersonal relationships," was Colin Shawgo's response when asked what the main factor was in his cross country teams' success. Shawgo was recently named the class 1A "Coach of the Year" by the Iowa Track Coaches Association following the ACGC boys' state championship.

"Cross country is not a skill based sport so motivation is the primary task of a coach," the veteran Charger mentor offered in a recent interview. "Building relationships among the team members is the main ingredient of successful cross country programs."

Having just completed his eighth season as cross country coach of Guthrie Center and ACGC, Shawgo thinks last year's fourth place finish was a catalyst in setting higher expectations for this season.

"After the state meet last year where we finished fourth, the conversations that the boys and I had included talk of winning the state title this year. With everyone returning for this year, it was clear that we could win it all."

Shawgo attributes the summer running program as a key factor in the successful cross country programs for both boys and girls. "We have between twenty and thirty kids running on a daily basis. They divide into three groups of about ten each and run throughout the community."

Winter running may be added for the first time this year. Shawgo mentioned that twenty five students recently attended a meeting regarding a winter running program for high school students.

With five of the top seven runners returning next year Shawgo thinks that next year's team could repeat as state champion. With three sophomores and two freshman coming back for the next two years, things looks bright in the near future.

Shawgo has been named regional coach on two occasions, including last year. A graduate of Nevada High School and Central College, Shawgo says he enjoys the small town atmosphere that Guthrie Center offers.

As far as his own running is concerned, he is registered to run in the Boston Marathon which will include up to three thousand participants. He has some experience in running the twenty six mile distance, as he participated in a marathon in Duluth, Minnesota earlier this year.

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