Leblow hired to coach cross-country at Central
Ted Leblow heard Central High School once had a strong cross-country program. To be sure, he did some research.
“From 1990 to 2000, they were going to state every year,” Leblow said.
That perennial success seems like a long time ago, as Central has endured some lean years since then in cross-country.
Now, Leblow hopes he can return Central to that consistent level of success the Warriors experienced in the 1990s, because he’s getting the chance.
Central Athletic Director Randy Powell announced Wednesday that Leblow was hired to coach the Warriors’ boys and girls cross-country teams. Leblow succeeds Jeena Williams, who had been an English teacher at Central and coached cross-country the past two seasons. She accepted an administrative position with School District 51 and resigned as the Warriors’ coach.
Leblow, who joined Central’s teaching staff a year ago as an ROTC instructor, was an assistant coach for Central’s cross-county program last fall, and he coached the Warriors’ distance runners in track and field in the spring. He already knows some of the runners he’ll be coaching, and that continuity should help him.
“My goal is to get participation up,” said Leblow, who retired last summer from the U.S. Army after 21 years of active duty. “I think the cross-country team had only 18 runners last year and 10 the year before. I would like to get close to 30 kids and get back to competing in the (Grand) Valley.”
Powell thinks Leblow is well on his way to getting the participation he seeks.
“The big thing he offers is he’s able to develop real strong relationships with the kids,” Powell said. “He started a running club after the end of the cross-country season and got a lot of kids to come out.”
Leblow was a runner himself, first in high school in California, then for two years at Idaho State University before transferring to the University of Oregon, where he also ran. Then he joined the Army and kept running competitively and eventually got into coaching.
He started out coaching what are called 10-miler teams, then got to coach Ranger Challenge teams for the Army ROTC program at Brigham Young University. Eventually, Leblow got the honor of coaching the Armed Forces Cross-Country team in the world championships in Serbia.
After living in 12 different places during his time in the military, Leblow said he’s happy to settle down in Grand Junction and teach and coach.
It also will be fun to coach his son, Jared, who will be a sophomore this fall at Central.
At the recent Wrong Side of the Tracks 5K hosted by The Daily Sentinel, Jared finished first in 17 minutes, 16 seconds. Dad was second in 18:20.
“I used to be able to beat him,” Ted Leblow said. “He’s made that jump where I might not be able to keep up with him anymore in the 5Ks and shorter distance races.”