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Meet the Coach: Christine Engle

by Rebecca Smith,
  • Photo courtesy of Elon University Media Relations.

In the two years that head coach Christine Engel has been at Elon University, the program has reached many milestones.

During her first year coaching, records were broken and program firsts occurred. During her second season, the women's and men's teams finished second and fifth, respectively. And Engel has already started priming the team for her third year.

During trainings Engel uses the following quote: "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare."

"Her whole idea about the program is that what you put into it is what you are going to get out of it," senior captain Emily Fournier said.

The teammates meet with the coach every week to discuss individual strategy. Before each meet there is a meeting where the team discusses its perspective, creates a goal and forms a strategy. The night before a race, there is a team meeting to make sure everyone is on board.

"Each week she builds us up by individually talking to us, and she debriefs us as a team," Fournier said. "She gives us a lot of encouragement."

One of the things Engel tries to reinforce in her players is focus. She trys to instill a good work ethic in her runners by emphasizing all the small decisions that go into running the best time possible at the races.

"She teaches us to pay attention to the details," senior Justin Gianni said. "That is probably the biggest thing. It's important to pay attention to training and not just on the larger races. Focus on the running but also keep on top of the abdomen work, stretching, nutrition, diet and just staying healthy."

Another way Engel has helped the team improve is through recruitments.
"She is setting a new foundation for this team and building it up," Fournier said. "Every year she brings in new recruits that are better. She has her eyes set on some huge goals. She has the knowledge to really bring the team there, and I think she has done a great job of transitioning the program."

The hard work does not end when the season ends, Gianni said. The teams continue to train in order to prepare for the following year.

"Right after the season ends we all train just to fill time, and it is really fun to be lighthearted during training," Gianni said. "Coach Engel really creates an environment where we all work hard, but can still have fun doing it at the end of the day."