To fill in for the departure of the longtime cross country (XC) coach, Andrew Brodeur, Blake brings in Petros Welday to take over as head coach for the program.
Athletic director Jared Fribush chose coach Welday for a couple of reasons. “He has enthusiasm for the sport of cross country and [the] experience both as a runner and [training athletes]” says Mr. Fribush. “I felt he would build a good rapport with our runners and coaching staff.”
Coach Welday ran cross country every year in high school and freshman year of college. He was a silver medalist at the USA Track & Field junior olympics for the 1500m and the 5000m race. During his junior year,, he won the Footlocker Northeast junior boys race, as well.
Coach Welday has coached cross country before as a part-time volunteer coach. He currently works with young athletes and high schools athletes for distance events. “I love the sport of Cross Country and Track and Field,” he says.
Having been diagnosed with heart disease in college, coach Welday was no longer able compete collegiately or professionally. “After being diagnosed… I wanted nothing to do with the sport,” says coach Welday. “My mentors and former coaches came to me and told me that… I should consider coaching young athletes who share the same love and aspiration for XC as I once did.”
Bringing in his previous coaching experience, coach Welday aims to influence his team. He says, “My goals as a coach is to keep my student-athletes motivated and make this whole experience as enjoyable, and educational as possible.”
Assistant coaches Stephanie Staub and Jeffrey O’Toole helped coach Welday get acclimated quickly. ”My first year at Blake has been going really well,” says coach Welday.
The cross country team runs at practice to prepare for their competition. They have two types of practices, easy which is, 40-60 min, and hard , 60-80 min. Junior Christian Harris says, “The real race is pretty difficult to get through, but once you finish it feels great, especially with a good time.”