GLADWIN – A familiar name, Strohkirch, is going to be leading the Gladwin Cross Country program this fall. Jordan takes over as head coach after serving as an assistant for the last four years. He will be the third head coach in the last three years, but this feels like it could be a long-term move. The Stohkirch family has been running at Gladwin High School for years and they have definitely left a mark.
Jordan and his three sisters, Nikki, Meagan and Ashton, were All State in cross country and one of them competed at the state Cross Country Championships every year from 1996-2006. Jordan still owns the high school record for the 5K and is the part of a school record two-mile relay team in track with Chris and Kevin Smalley, and Ian Applebaum. He considers Coaches Mike Kruchkow and Kernie Gilliam to be mentors. He earned a scholarship and ran at the Division 1 level for Oakland University where he got a degree in Physical Therapy.
“I love cross country, it is in my blood,” he said. “I want to bring back some of the traditions we had when I was running.” Strohkirch thinks that Gladwin High School is a “sleeping giant.” “We have a ton of talented kids, but have to get them to believe they can do it.” He also wants to build up the number of athletes that run cross country. He has teamed up with Buddy Goldsworthy and Lauren Reynolds to try to get kids back to the program. “Buddy is a great motivator and Lauren is very positive, she runs a lot and gives everything to the sport.”
He seems to be off to a good start with twenty-four athletes signed up. They boys team has fourteen runners and the girls ten. Strohkirch talked about all of his runners with me last week. Returning seniors Olivia Kleinhardt and Jasmine Strayer provide good leadership and will be the captains this year. Their personalities fit together well with one being vocal and the other more of a lead by example type. The other senior girl is Delaney Cote, a first year runner, who has already shown big improvement. The juniors include Macy Haines, Kylee Zietz, Felicity Edick, Racheal Nyarko and Maya Marsrow. Haines is in her third year and is a good athlete. Zietz is also a third year runner who is very consistent. Edick is returning to the team after being sidelined by injury last year. Nyarko is also coming off of an injury and didn’t run last year. Marsrow is still out and will be the manager again this year. Two freshman round out the girls team. Tessa Cameron was the top junior high runner last year and Tricia Pyrzewski joins the cross country team for the first time. She has run track in the past.
Strohkirch also talked about each of the boys on the team. Wilson Bragg and Grant Otto are the senior leaders and captains for the boys’ team. Bragg is focusing on cross country after duel sporting with soccer in the past. Strohkirch feels that he has the potential to run at the next level. Otto, the more vocal of the two, is also a four year runner. The big junior class includes Carson Allen, Tanner Bissonette, Devin Brewer, Issac Cunningham, David Dremer, and Josh O’Henley. Allen is a second year runner who has a knack for making the team laugh. Bissonette is probably the teams’ most consistent runner. He makes time to run everyday. Brewer is a former football player who is running cross country for the first time this year. Cunningham has good mechanics and great potential. Dremer has a lot of talent. O’Henley has some untapped potential that coach hopes he finds this year.
The sophomores include; Ethan Edgar Dakota Leddy, Ethan Underwood, and Jack Wilford. Edgar came on strong at the end of last season and has the potential to be a captain down the road. Leddy duel sports with soccer and can be very fast. Underwood had a great junior high in eighth grade but missed last year with an injury. Wilford is in his second year and is very funny. He and Allen keep the team laughing. Two freshman round out the team. Caleb Palmreuter is a great athlete and has the potential to break all of the school cross country records. He also duel sports with soccer. John Whitman is an experienced runner having competed since the third grade.
The whole cross country program is on solid ground according to Jordan. The junior high coaches, Carissa Petherbridge for the girls and Sara Christensen and Mike Verellen for the boys, do a great job getting the kids ready for high school and the parents are very supportive. Strohkirch expects great things to happen in the very near future.