Boys Cross Country
Running veterans Danny Fisher and Bethany Scruton have been promoted to varsity cross country coaches at Columbus North High School, Bull Dogs athletic director Jeff Hester announced.
The duo succeeds longtime coach Rick Weinheimer, who announced his retirement in January as a teacher and coach in January. Weinheimer had directed the Columbus North boys for 38 seasons and the CN girls for 35 seasons. Weinheimer’s teams won five boys’ state title and one girls’ state crown.
Both Fisher and Scruton have served as Columbus North assistant coaches for Weinheimer – Fisher since 2012 and Scruton since 2011.
“I was looking for two leaders that would be effective for both programs,” Hester told The Republic. “Even though I stayed in-house, I interviewed multiple candidates throughout the state. But I didn’t have to look far for what I was looking for.”
Fisher, a 2001 graduate of Brown County, helped the Eagles to an eighth-place cross country finish in the state meet as a senior and was a two-time state qualifier in track. He went on to compete at the University of Southern Indiana, where he earned all-Great Lakes Valley Conference accolades as a freshman.
He has coached since 2008 in a variety of places, including stints at Columbus North, as founder and a coach for Columbus-based Progressive Performance Endurance LLC, as a personal trainer and endurance coach for Tipton Lakes Athletic Club and as an endurance coach for Massachusetts-based Runners Connect.
With the Bull Dogs, he served as an assistant cross country coach from 2012-14 and again in 2016, helping boys’ and girls’ teams advance to state meets on four occasions each.
“I think the method and the theory is all the same for the most part,” Fisher told the newspaper. “I learned a lot from coach Weinheimer and also from coach (Mike) Hilliard at USI. I definitely want to keep the bar just as high as it has been. I want to keep the tradition that coach Weinheimer and (assistant coach Jan Matchette) have set and keep developing the kids.”
Scruton is a 2007 graduate of Columbus North who was a cross country all-state athlete for the Bull Dogs in 2004 and 2005. She attended Indiana State, excelling there as a runner and graduating in 2011 with a degree in special education and elementary education. She currently is taking classes from Ball State and expects to receive a master’s degree next month.
Scruton – a special education teacher at Columbus North – has been an assistant cross country coach for the Bull Dogs since 2011, helping guide six boys’ teams and six girls’ teams to state meet appearances. She was a girls’ track co-head coach at Central Middle School in 2012, then joined the Bull Dogs’ track program as an assistant coach in 2013 – working regularly with 400-meter sprinters.
“It’s just fun to be back at your alma mater,” Scruton said told the newspaper. “I’ve been back coaching with coach Weinheimer from the past six years, and it’s fun to learn from him both as a runner and as a coach and take that from him to use it on my own now.”
Hester praised both new varsity coaches.
“Danny has a real down-to-earth approach,” Hester said. “Not only has he been an accomplished runner himself, he can convey his approach to those he coaches and trains effectively.”
Hester noted that Scruton’s knowledge of the program should serve her well.
“Her experience running for Rick and in track, as well, set her apart,” he said. “I really like her approach to coaching, her passion, and I really appreciate the vision that she has for the girls’ program.”
In addition, Ursula Conley has been hired as an assistant coach for girls’ cross country. Conley, a Texas state champion in the 400 in 1998, currently is an assistant track coach at Veterans Memorial High School in Corpus Christi, Texas. She ran collegiately at the University of Nebraska and Iowa State University.
An assistant coach for boys’ cross country remains open. Hester hopes that position can be filled soon.
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Columbus North is having a call out meeting for incoming freshman and returning high school students who are interested in running cross country at Columbus North on Wednesday, May 17 at 6:00 p.m. in the LGI room at North High School. This meeting is also for parents. Athletes will be given the summer training schedule and be able to meet Coach Scruton and Coach Fisher.