Mountain Vista Coach: ‘My kids deserve the credit'
Jonathan Dalby named Colorado Cross Country Coach of the Year
HIGHLANDS RANCH – Even in the middle of the winter, Mountain Vista’s runners are in top shape, setting their sights for a potential run to next year’s Cross Country National Championship. Their enthusiasm is, in part, due to the support of their coaches, including Jonathan Dalby, who was recently named a Colorado Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Dalby was one of two Colorado coaches to receive the inaugural award from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The other was Fort Collins High School’s Mike Collar.
“It is a credit to what the kids have done,” Dalby said. “If anyone should get an award, it should be the kids. They are the ones that put in the work and run the miles.”
Last fall, Mountain Vista’s Boys Cross Country team won their third state championship in a row. In November, the Board of Education recognized the team's win.
After that long season, it would be understandable if Dalby and co-coach Eric Selle wanted to take a break. Instead, the two have been busy over the winter, supporting their runners.
“We give them an opportunity to run throughout the year, if they choose to do it,” Dalby said. “We meet with them summer, fall, winter and spring. Right now we are getting ready for the track season.”
While some students choose to focus on other sports like basketball or swimming in the winter and spring, Dalby says the 50-or-so student-athletes who continue year-round know it gives them a bit of an advantage next season.
“This allows them to develop slowly over the years so when their time comes, when they are older, they are ready for it,” Dalby said.
Regardless of the time of year, the coaches support and encourage all of the runners, not just the seniors.
“We make a big deal with kids that run in our open division and Junior Varsity,” Dalby said. “Someday they will be our varsity. We like to make it about everybody, not just our top seven varsity kids.”
Dalby has co-coached Mountain Vista for eight years and the results speak for themselves.
In addition to the back-to-back-to-back state titles earned by the boys’ team, the girls’ team has won three of the past four Continental League championships.
Last fall, members from the team traveled to Arizona for the Nike Southwest Cross Country Regional meet. MVHS boys competed in the championship race and the open race. The Junior Varsity team won the open division against varsity teams that didn't qualify for the championship race. The Varsity team finished fifth in the championship race ending the season ranked 34 in the country. Meanwhile, MVHS girls finished sixth in the championship race.
Next year, the team is even aiming higher.
“The boys are already talking about that being the goal for next year to try to make it to the National Championships and to be one of the top 10 or 15 teams in the country next year,” Dalby said.
Next week, Dalby and some of the team members are going to Boulder to watch the USA Cross Country Championships.
It wouldn’t be too surprising if some of the Mountain Vista runners make it to this level in the future. You can bet Dalby and a sea of Mountain Vista fans dressed in their trademark neon green shirts will be there to cheer them on.
Keep tabs on the team moving forward, or relive some of the team's big wins from last season on its blog: www.vistanationxc.com