Last year, Adam Varnas had an impressive senior season in both cross country and track. He ran at the NCAA Division III Cross Country championship meet in the fall, and he helped set the 4×800 meter relay record in the Iowa Conference meet in the spring earning All-Conference honors as well. Now, he’s helping as a volunteer coach for the cross country team.
“Overall, I enjoy being around the team,” Varnas said on being a coach. “Sometimes it can be hard helping out instead of participating because it’s been such a big part of my time at Loras.” That being said, he understands the difference between being a coach and being an athlete.
“I try not to overstep my bounds as a ‘coach’ considering I’m only one year out, and it’s hard to take me seriously. However, I can use my role on the team as a mentor, and that is more relatable [to the athletes].”
Being a part of the team that ran at the national meet, he knows how much the team suffered due to seniors graduating.
“We had a very deep team last year, so even though we graduated five [varsity] runners that had been All-Conference and All-Region at one point in time, [this team] has been able to reload,” Varnas said.
Last year, the top seven runners for the Duhawks usually finished with 47 seconds between the 1st and 7th man. This year, that split has typically been around 80 seconds while the top five have been around 30 seconds. Nonetheless, Varnas has faith in his former team.
“If all the guys do their part, there’s no reason why we can’t repeat a conference title.”
Some of his duties also extend to the women’s team, mainly during practices and meets. He has some advice for both teams as they approach the conference meet this month.
“The best advice I can give the team is the advice that they’ve been getting from head coach Bob Schultz from the start of their Loras career. Cross country is unlike most sports in that there are no positions. Schultz’s advice is transcendent among all athletes: there’s no special treatment. One day you could be first on the team, and the next you could be ninth… especially when you look at how deep the team is. There’s no undisputed frontrunner with these teams, and when you work together, that’s when they’ll do the most damage.”
Finally, Varnas had a few comments for his former coaches on his career here.
“Thank you. I chose to volunteer my time with the team this year because I enjoyed the four years leading up to this point so much that I don’t want to spend my last semester as a Duhawk without the cross country team, and the coaches are a big reason why this team is so enjoyable.”
The current Duhawks will be racing at the Lewis University Invitational this Saturday.