The Oracle interviewed Ken Wilner, the new cross country coach, on his first impressions of MVHS, plans for the season, and more.
Oracle: How are you liking Mountain View High School so far?
Coach Ken Wilner: “It’s great. Everyone’s been really welcoming. The team is very accepting and they show genuine excitement about running this year so I’m excited.”
O: Have you been a cross country coach before? What’s your previous experience?
KW: “I was an assistant cross country coach for five years at Sacred Heart Prep. It was a great experience for me, and I wanted to become a head coach. That’s why I came over to Mountain View.”
O: What do you do when you’re not coaching cross country?
KW: “Professionally, I’m a physical therapist. So I do that for the rest of the day. I’ve been doing that for about 20 years, I have my own business. Hobbies—I love to cycle and swim, and I’m also a photographer.”
O: Do you ever run with the kids at practice?
KW: “I occasionally run with them. I actually have an injury that prevents me from running. I miss running with them, I used to run with my previous teams and I love it when they get to a point when they’re faster than me, which is kind of funny.”
O: I’m guessing you’ve heard a lot about Aubrey Myjer and Allison Sturges from last year, who were the stars of the team. Which runners do you see becoming the future stars of the MVHS cross country program?
KW: “We’ve got a great group. So amongst the girls, the top three this year are currently Maya Weigel, Melissa Reed, and Laura Reynolds. I don’t know what level they’re going to get to, but they’ve got great potential. Then there’s a group of about 5 or 6 behind them that are young and are just getting in better shape. Among the boys, we have Nick van Osdol and David Williams, who are two seniors, then we’ve got a group behind them now that are sophomores and juniors who are young and pretty fast.”
O: So you probably know that you’re one of 5 cross country coaches in the last 3 years. How do you plan to keep stability in the program?
KW: “I came here and wanted to build and develop upon the culture of success that already exists here, and at the same time input some of my own culture and ideas and develop a combination of a winning and competition along with the social culture of cross country. I think the kids have been really receptive to it, and I’m really excited about it. I hope to be able to continue to build upon what we’ve started this year for the next few years.”
Come see the cross country team run at the Stanford Invitational at Stanford on Saturday, September 29.