Glenwood Springs High School names Justin Baum new XC coach
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
After assisting the Glenwood Springs Middle School cross country program last season, Justin Baum is set to take a massive jump to coaching varsity cross country.
The Ohio native will take over for former GSHS head coach Mike Schneiter, who helped build a very successful Glenwood Springs High School program during his 11 years at the helm.
Prior to moving to Glenwood three years ago, Baum served as the head coach at Sandy Valley High School in Magnolia, Ohio, so he brings plenty of varsity experience as a head coach in cross country.
Getting the chance to take over a strong program like Glenwood is an opportunity Baum said he couldn’t pass up. He applied within an hour of the job opening up.
“I’m pretty excited to get the chance to take over this program,” Baum said. “Both teams have very strong runners, and Mike did a fantastic job building this program into what it is right now.
“This is a really good situation to step into for me, considering the level of talent, the organization within the program and the junior and senior leadership.”
Working with the middle school program last season gave Baum a chance to get to know some of the incoming freshmen runners, but there’s still an adjustment period to go through for Baum and the returning Glenwood varsity numbers.
For a coach who’s gone through those adjustment periods back in Ohio before, he’s more than prepared to go through the transition with the athletes available to him at Glenwood this fall.
“Any transition from one coach to another is tough,” Baum said. “There are routines that are already in place that might be changed up some, but transitioning here I’ve set realistic goals for us this upcoming season.
“The end goal is for both the boys and the girls teams to make the state meet, but at the same time I’m the type of coach that also likes to focus on the meet in front of us,” he said. “It’s important to continue to focus on the week-to-week performances because this sport and season is a process. I want the athletes to embrace the process and enjoy it.”
Last season under Schneiter, the Glenwood boys made the state meet as a team, while the girls just missed the state meet by a few points. Fortunately for Baum, top athletes like Henry Barth, Erica Diemoz, Emily Worline, Gavin Harden, Ian Richardson, Sedona Kellog, Claudia Hirons, Elle Murphy and Mathew Thrun return for the fall season.
Adding in young freshmen such as Sophia Vigil, Will Berkheimer and Dalton Deter gives the Demons some impressive depth for the fall, which should help Baum continue the strong roll the Glenwood program was on under Schneiter.
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Teams have two more weekends of racing before the scheduled regional meet on Oct. 9 in Durango. The state cross country meet is slated for Oct. 17 in Colorado Springs.