Watertown, Wis. -- Isaiah Steinbart has been named Head Coach of the Sabercats' Cross Country teams for the 2017-18 season, and the former NCCAA All-American runner takes over the job from his sister, Ruth, after filling the role of assistant since 2015. The new role is one that Steinbart has embraced.
Steinbart approaches his first season at the helm with an eye for improvement on and off the course. "I am excited to be able to coach at my Alma Mater," he said, "and to have an impact on student's lives to not only help them run better but to also help them grow closer to the Lord through the means of running." Steinbart will be assisted by former MBU runner Nicole Verhalen, who helped the Women's squad to a runner-up finish at NCCAA Nationals last year.
The Women's Team will have a different look this year, as only three runners will return to the squad (Madelyn Hansel, Sarah Vander Pluym, Lauryn Wigdal). On the Men's side, a host of veterans comprises the unit. "The Men's Team has the potential to be a solid team this year and to be competitive at Nationals," Steinbart noted. "The Women's Team is in a rebuilding stage with only three returners from last year."
Steinbart sees the FBBC Invite (Sep. 2), the Wisconsin Private College Championships (Oct. 14) and the Oshkosh Open (Oct. 20) as the key meets for the Sabercats as they gear up for the NCCAA National Meet in November at Choctaw Trails (Jackson, Miss.)
"The goals for the year are that we would be competitive in all of our races and grow the program," said Steinbart. "We have a very busy schedule this fall with six meets in two months and Nationals to follow."
"We are pleased to have Isaiah Steinbart take over the Cross Country program," said MBU Athletic Director Rob Thompson. "Isaiah was instrumental in building the men's program as a student-athlete, moving them toward the back-to-back NCCAA National Championships in 2014 and 2015. Isaiah also makes for a smooth transition as he was an assistant coach under his sister and former head coach Ruth (Steinbart) Swanson."
Steinbart ran Cross Country for two seasons during his undergrad career and took fourth place at NCCAA Nationals during his rookie year in 2008 - the same year the team took home the NCCAA DII title. In Steinbart's two seasons as assistant coach for the Men's Team, the squad won NCCAA Nationals in 2015 and took second in 2016.
Steinbart graduated from Maranatha in 2013 as a Humanities - Liberal Arts major with a Coaching minor.