Merry Ellefson, center, runs with her son, Arne Ellefson-Carnes, right, and co-coach Tristan Knutson-Lombardo during Juneau-Douglas High School cross country practice on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Merry Ellefson, center, runs with her son, Arne Ellefson-Carnes, right, and co-coach Tristan Knutson-Lombardo during Juneau-Douglas High School cross country practice on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

‘A feather in our cap’: Juneau cross country coaches earn honors

Ellefson and Knutson-Lombardo coached JDHS girls to state title

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association honored two Juneau-Douglas High School coaches last week.

Merry Ellefson and Tristan Knutson-Lombardo were named the Alaska girls cross country coaches of the year by the organization. The designaton comes approximately three months after they guided the Crimson Bears girls team to a state championship.

“I think the girls winning the state championship was sort of a feather in our cap — and the cap of every single one of our athletes,” Ellefson said. “That’s really important to us, that we get better as a team because we all work together to get better at the same thing. It really, really is a congratulations to the entire team of the work that they’ve done.”

Alaska was the only state with dual girls cross country coaches of the year. Ellefson and Knutson-Lombardo together embrace a co-coach role for the boys and girls squads, which is modeled after the team itself.

“We do everything together: we travel together, we work out together, our captains captain together and really make sure people feel as equal members of the team,” Knutson-Lombardo said.

View the entire list of girls cross country coaches of the year online at http://www.ustfccca.org/2019/01/featured/2018-ustfccca-high-school-cross-country-coaches-of-the-year-state-by-state-winners.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


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