Cross country head coach Bowling steps down after two years


Kat Shambaugh

Head Coach Sarah Bowling leads her team of runners at NC’s annual Warrior Way 5K. After two years of coaching the team, Bowling decided to leave NC and follow her husband as his job takes him across the country.

Kat Shambaugh, Features editor

Cross Country coach and zoology teacher Sarah Bowling decided to step down from her teaching and coaching responsibilities in early May after serving only two years with the school.

Bowling, who married last year, will follow her husband while he works as a “Grand Opening Supervisor” for Chick-fil-A’s around the country. The pair will move every nine weeks and Bowling will assist in training new employees on job duties.

Even though she feels compelled to follow her husband, Bowling found it hard to leave NC.

“It was a huge decision because teaching high school science and coaching Cross Country was my ultimate dream job and being a head coach is just a great honor,” Bowling said. “It’s definitely a big sacrifice but I love my husband very much and it’s worth letting him pursue his dream. I want to join him in his aspirations. The other option would have been to separate for the next two years and that would just be too hard.”

Looking back on her two years with the Warrior Cross Country team, Bowling connected with her athletes on a personal level.

“I think that watching the athletes grow from being someone who barely runs and maybe goes out every once and while to just a fanatic with a huge passion for running has been my favorite part. I also enjoyed getting to see them outside of class and experience their personalities, humor, and drive for something that they really love, not just something that they have to do,” she said.

Her team members relish in happy memories alongside Bowling.

“Coach Bowling was an amazing coach. She always pushed the team to do their best and as a manager was very supportive of the behind-the-scenes parts. While I’m excited to continue next season, I’ll definitely miss her very much,” sophomore and team manager Sarah Punch said.

Coaching affected Bowling’s teaching career as well.

“I’ve learned that the more time spent communicating with people, the better you can learn to coach and teach them,” she said. “Being patient with myself as a coach also translates to being patient with an athlete, watching them progress, and giving them the freedom to find their own motivation. If I didn’t coach I wouldn’t have been as great a teacher because I spent time figuring out how to understand and educate students.”

Before the end of the year, Principal Bucky Horton appointed John Huff as the new head coach for the 2016-2017 season.

“I’ve gotten a lot of congratulations this week and I’m so thankful. I’m over-the-moon excited about working with the athletes in this role.”

Even though she plans to move on from NC, Bowling hopes to leave a lasting legacy on the students and runners at the school.

“I hope that they know that I valued them as a person as well as an athlete, and I celebrated their winning and their progress even if it was small,” she said. “But more than that, I was proud of them because they had made a goal and they had met it. It wasn’t necessarily for me or for the team, but it was for them as a person and I got to witness that. I was a Warrior myself so NC is always going to be a special place. Even if I’m not here, I’ll always bleed orange.”

 Head Coach Bowling served as the leader of the Warrior Cross Country team for two years, leading them through dozens of races and championships.
Kat Shambaugh
Head Coach Bowling served as the leader of the Warrior Cross Country team for two years, leading them through dozens of races and championships.