It has been a tumultuous two many years for the coaching staff of the Montana State University cross nation ski group. The previous two springs have seen complete shifts in staffing — extended-time head coach Grethe-Lise Hagensen’s contract was not renewed in 2014 and her substitute, Kristina Trygstad-Saari, resigned from her position at the team’s helm earlier this 12 months. The Bozeman, Mont. university not too long ago announced that former Middlebury School racer and Alaska Winter Stars coach Matthew Perry Johnson will be the newest head coach for the Bobcats commencing in August.
In Trygstad-Saari’s 1st 12 months as a coach the MSU Ski Team completed seventh at the 2015 NCAA Championships in Lake Placid, and the nordic team garnered two All-Ammerican honors. Regardless of the achievement, Trygstad-Saari decided to depart the position to investigate paths unrelated to skiing. The thirty-12 months-previous has been in the ski local community as a racer and coach because a her days as a junior with the Bridger Ski Basis, and explained that she needed a adjust. “I’ve spent a whole lot of years moving about in the ski planet, the two racing and coaching, and I haven’t always been one hundred percent positive that it is in which I need to be,” Trygstad-Saari wrote in an electronic mail, incorporating that the selection to leave was exceptionally tough.
Trygstad-Saari explained her encounter with the MSU staff was hugely optimistic, and that a highlight of the season was in Lake Placid in which skiers Cambria McDermott and Forrest Mahlen notched fourth and fifth spot finishes, respectively. The lone yr as head coach didn’t come without challenges, however, as Trygstad-Saari worked to stability athlete’s coaching and travel, in addition to the coaching transition.
“The yr was challenging, and I had a good deal to stability and understand,” she wrote. “Some of our athletes acquired pretty tired later on in the season, and I consider I could have done some issues in a different way with education and travel organizing. Nevertheless, I was generally happy and consider the staff responded effectively to the modifications.”
With her departure from the crew, the single-season coach is ready for what the potential holds. Trygstad-Saari is currently in Vermont finishing up her master’s degree at the Middlebury University Breadloaf College of English. “Hopefully I can check out some choices that will put [the degree] to use!,” she wrote. “As of now, the future is broad open, and I seem forward to some new adventures.”
A huge pool of candidates applied to exchange Trygstad-Saari, but in the end it was Johnson who acquired the job. The new head coach grew up skiing with Alaska Winter Stars in Anchorage and raced for Middlebury University in the years following. Right after graduating he began assistant coaching at Burke Mountain Academy. He left three many years later on to grow to be the system/director and head coach of the Utah Nordic Alliance, and in 2014 he returned to his roots and coached with Alaska Winter Stars.
MSU Athletic Director Peter Fields said in a press release that he was pleased with Johnson’s retain the services of. “Matt possesses a sturdy background in plan and student-athlete development,” Fields stated. “He has also worked on both coasts as effectively as the Rocky Mountain area, and is effectively respected. Matt sees the big picture and is extremely motivated to proceed the degree of excellence the Bobcat ski plan has established.”
Johnson utilized for the open position at MSU since of the possible he noticed in the system. Although it was difficult for the Alaska native to depart his current athletes, he explained the substantial-level juniors he has coached over the many years inspired him to make the progression to collegiate coaching.
“Bozeman is such a wonderful atmosphere for ski coaching yr round and the prospective I see in the MSU Nordic Plan is massive, so in that sense applying for this place particularly was an obvious choice,” Johnson wrote in an e mail. “The much more challenging element of the decision was determining whether or not to move on from coaching juniors, which I’ve made the focus of my profession so far… The way individuals little ones inspire me to work as hard as I can for them definitely pushed me towards pursuing the position with MSU to perform with an entire team at that degree.”
In the coming 12 months, Johnson hopes inspire the staff and its individuals to higher accomplishment. As for the future, nevertheless, he has big hopes for his team such as an NCAA title. “I would like to aid create this group as a place in which athletes who are critical about their skiing as effectively as academics know they will have every opportunity to boost and develop,” Johnson wrote. “I believe this team can win NCAA titles and create athletes who are prepared for Planet Cup competitors soon after graduation.”
To get there, Johnson will have to conquer the challenges associated with getting a new coach on a properly-established crew, especially offered the fact he will be the third head coach in two many years for a lot of of the older athletes. “Any time there is coaching turnover there are challenges to conquer,” he wrote. “It’s a scenario I’ve dealt with from an athlete’s and coach’s point of view so I know that as lengthy as everyone feels comfortable communicating openly, there’s absolutely nothing we can’t conquer with relative ease.”
Even though Trygstad-Saari is leaving, she is fired up to see what Johnson will do with her former staff. “He’s had a wide-selection of coaching knowledge and has the passion and inspiration to assist drive the plan,” she wrote. “He also has the expertise to excel in the position past the ski trails he will be a tremendous asset to the Bozeman nordic neighborhood. I believe the team is in a fantastic area, but I’m confident that Matt will carry even more to MSU and carry on this trajectory.”
Johnson will commence at MSU in August and stated that he has but to come to a last choice regarding an assistant coach.