Schmalz hired as new GJ X-Country coach

Mallory Schmalz is a health nut.

She is also a competitive person.

Together that made her a good fit for the Grand Junction High School cross country head coaching position.

“She is an enthusiastic young woman,” Grand Junction Athletic Director Ned Pollert said. “She went through the exercise science program at Mesa State. With meeting with those guys, she became a runner herself.

“She is a competitive person. She is in pretty good shape. I want to share that excitement with kids. With her background, talking with Gig (Leadbetter, Mesa State’s cross country coach) on coaching skills and training philosophy, I think she’ll do a good job.”

Schmalz, 22, was hired Thursday.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “I really enjoy running. It’s going to be fun to get to work with the kids.”

Schmalz replaces Clay Keithley, who retired this spring after six seasons to spend more time with his family. He will remain an assistant boys basketball coach.

Schmalz was a competitive gymnast, but had several injuries and started running. She is competing in the Kendall Mountain half-marathon later this month in Silverton.

She earned her degree in exercise science from Mesa State last year.

She was a student teacher in Mesa County School District 51 last year and will teach physical education at Grand Junction High School. This is her first head coaching position.

“I have high expectations and am looking forward to the season,” Schmalz said. “My big goal is to have the student-athletes push themselves more than they think they can.”

Schmalz said she has been an assistant gymnastics coach in the valley for seven years.

“I wanted to go into teaching and thought someday it would be fun to get into coaching at the high school level,” she said.

Schmalz is having an open invitation run for Grand Junction High School runners at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, starting in front of the school’s gym. The first official practice of the season is Aug. 16.

The Tigers begin the season Sept. 4 at the Delta Invitational.


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