Educator of the Year: Noel Breger

I didn’t want to run Cross Country and begged my parents not to make me do it. It never occurred to me that I would like running until I met my coach. I never expected a coach to make such an impact on my life. Even though I’ve only been running for one year, my coach, Noel Breger has had an amazing impact on me. My first year of cross country and having Coach Breger as my coach has totally changed my perspective on running. Over the summer, we were supposed to be running every day to get our mileage up.

I would try to run and have to end up walking. I never thought I could run cross country, and I gave up before I even tried. I came to preseason with a negative attitude because I thought I could never even run three miles. Coach Breger saw our potential and pushed us because he knew we could do it. He made the long, boring runs so fun. He would tell us we had to come up with three haikus or make us remember things to tell him when we got back.

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He was a role model to me because he did the exercises with us. Coach Breger didn’t just tell us what to do then watch us. He would come on runs with us, and he us funny jokes and try to freak us out. Coach Breger set a diet for us. We were not allowed to eat junk food, soda, or candy. Everyone followed the diet because it kept us healthy.

Coach Breger’s exercises really made you get a workout. Every day, he would come up with something new and interesting. On Wednesdays, we would flip tires and swing sledgehammers into tires. Without him as our coach, running wouldn’t have been as fun. Coach Breger motivated us differently than other coaches.

Every day before practice, after our warm up run, he would give us a speech. Sometimes, it would be funny, and other times it would be what we need to improve on and what we can do to fix it. Other times he would tell us a story and make jokes. Before races, Coach would sometimes say things that would make us mad. He would always tell me to beat my sister, who was three years older than me, because he knew it would motivate both of us. This would help us because we would go out and run our race aggressively.

In a way, it would help us do better. I liked how during races, Coach Breger would go onto the sidelines of the course and “Coach” us. He would scream what we need to do and cheer us on. His motivation helped us because he knew what we were capable of, and pushed us to our fullest potential. Coach really taught us what teamwork means.

He thought that we would do better if we acted like a team. He devoted one practice to trust activities that he felt would make us trust each other more. He also had us do trust falls off of a wall that was about eight feet tall. At first we all thought it was crazy and no one wanted to do it. But after a while we all started doing it and gained each other’s trust. We were always there for each other when bad things happened.

We were always willing to help each other because we were closer than most teams. Coach Breger also taught my team responsibility. He expected all of us to pick up our trash. One time we left a water bottle and had to write an essay about why that is unacceptable. It taught us that we were responsible for our actions and that we need to pick up our trash. Coach also expected us to bring everything we needed on the days of practice and races.

He helped us with the simple things that would make us become more of a team. Coach Breger really inspired me to keep going and not to give up. I got a lot stronger after just one year. Coach Breger’s knowledge for running and care for his runners has caused me to look at running in a totally different way. Now, I can’t wait for the next season, and all I want to do is run. I hope that over my next three years of high school I will become a better runner and a better person.

I feel I will be able to do this because of Coach Breger.