We are excited to welcome Jennifer Michel as our guest speaker on Tuesday, July 28 at 5:00pm. Here is the link and some interesting info about Coach Michel.
PIN: 498 766 362#
Jennifer Michel is entering her 14th season as head men’s and women’s cross country coach at Western Colorado University in 2020. She will also begin her 14th season as an assistant coach of the Mountaineer track & field team after she took over for legendary coach Duane Vandenbusche in 2007. Dr. Vandenbusche* who was a seven-time NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year and coach three former athletes that went onto compete in the Olympics. Ms. Michel has filled some very deep (running) shoes quite admirably. In her first year, Jennifer won National Coach of the year in Division II. As a first year head coach she led the Western’s men to a second-place finish at the NCAA Division II National Championships. The women finished sixth. Following the season, Michel earned a spot in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces in the Crowd” segment based upon her historic achievements.
As of 2020, Michel has coached 50 Mountaineers to 193 All-American honors between cross country and indoor/outdoor track & field.
A testament to the quality of these All-Americans, Michel has coached nine individuals to a combined 18 National Championships. Standing tall amongst these individuals is Alicja Konieczek who recorded her ninth National Championship in 2019, along with holding the NCAA DII All-Time Record in the steeplechase. Prior to those efforts, Konieczek became the first female Mountaineer to win four National Championships in the same year as she took the Mile and 3k indoors and the Steeplechase and 5k outdoors in 2017.
On the track, Michel has coached national champions David Goodman to the steeplechase title in 2011, Ryan Haebe (2012 Steeplechase), Tyler Pennel (2012 10k), Gabe Proctor (2013 10k & 5k), Vegard Olstad (2013 1500), and Alicja Konieczek (2017 Indoor Mile/3,000m and Outdoor Steeplechase/5,000m). National runners-up coached by Michel include Lauren Kleppin in the 10,000-meter run (2011 and 2012), Tyler Pennel in the 5,000-meter run (2009, 2011-12), Hillory Davis (2011 Steeplechase), Glen Watts (2010 Steeplechase), and Lisa Thomas (2009 Steeplechase). What is it about steeplechase dominance and Gunnison County, Colorado?
In addition, 12 of her distance runners have gone on to capture 16 Academic All-America nods including 7 first team selections and a The U.S.Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Division II Men’s Cross Country Scholar Athlete of the Year.
A two-time National Coach of the Year, Michel is also a four-time RMAC Coach of the Year, and earned both the men’s and women’s honors in 2011. In a strong year for Michel and the Mountaineers, she also was named USTFCCCA Central Region Women’s Coach of the Year in 2011. During the 2017 outdoor track and field season, Michel was named USTFCCCA Central Region Women’s Assistant Coach of the Year before being named USTFCCCA Women’s National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2017 for outdoor track. During the historic 2018 indoor campaign, Michel was named USTFCCCA Women’s National Assistant Coach of the Year.
In a historic effort, Michel coached the 2011 Mountaineer men to the fourth-lowest team score in NCAA DII history en route to her first national championship. Simultaneously, she coached her first individual National Champion in cross country as Ryan Haebe broke the tape ahead of teammate Tyler Pennel, highlighting a 1,2,5,7,12 finish for the men. The top-ranked women were upset by a mere four points in 2011, finishing in second place for the second year in a row. The Mountaineers also swept the RMAC titles in 2011 with the women claiming their second-straight conference title for just the second time in program history.
As an athlete, Michel earned eight All-American honors in track and field and cross country. In track and field, Michel won Division II titles in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 3,000-meter run and indoor mile, and held the national championship steeplechase record until 2008. She was a six-time RMAC champion.
Michel earned RMAC All-Century honors in women’s track and field as part of the conference centennial celebration in 2008-09. She was also a member of the NCAA 25th Anniversary Team for Women’s Track and Field and was the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Runner of the Year.
After her collegiate career, she finished fifth at the US Track and Field Championships in the steeplechase in 2002. She entered the Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame in October 2010 for her national championship career as a Western student-athlete.
Michel, a prep product out of Wheat Ridge, Colo., is a 2001 graduate of Western with a degree in History and Secondary Education. She went on to receive her master’s degree in Sports Management.
* Dr. Vandenbushe has been teaching history at Western since 1962 and is the longest serving active professor at any public higher education institution in the state. He was just named the Colorado State Historian this month.