The Dawn of a New Era

Emily Clark, Staff Reporter

Coach Korver (left) strategizes on the starting line with senior runner Jackson Bush (right).

The track and cross country teams at Immanuel Lutheran Christian Academy (ILCA) were once a close-knit group of hard-working athletes who had competed together for many years, dedicating their time and effort to becoming better runners and teammates. Their talents were as versatile as their personalities, but they grew closer to each other and bonded over their constant persistence in training and willingness to give their best performance at every meet. But when Mrs. Carrie Ann Swaim ceased coaching in 2019, participation began to decline, and the program was thrown into a period of arduous transition.

From that point forward, Athletic Director Taylor Mueller stood in until a new coach could be found, but by the end of the 2020 school year, the situation looked even more dismal.

“For me, coaching while trying to organize three different sports was the hardest part (of being left without a cross country and track coach),” Mueller said.

Then, just when the situation looked like it couldn’t get any worse, COVID-19 brought about an early end to what was looking to be a promising track season. It was unclear as to what might happen next, until Mueller met one of the candidates looking to fill a teaching position at ILCA for the next school year. 

“I was asked to fill the coaching position at the same time I was offered a teaching job,” Dr. William Korver said. “I knew that it was something that I wanted to do from the very beginning.”

Korver is a running veteran. He competed for Broken Arrow High School during his time as a student there and continued on to compete at the collegiate level for Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

“I’ve been running for a long time…. Coaching has been a dream of mine for a while,” Korver said.

Mueller knew immediately that he was more than qualified for the job.

“What first stood out to me about Coach Korver was the amount of experience he had,” Mueller said. “I knew right away that I wanted him to be involved with our program.”

Now, almost a year has passed since Korver accepted the position, and the cross country and track teams at ILCA have experienced positive changes in a short amount of time. Jacob Clark is one of the athletes who have been impacted by “Coach K” over the past year.

“I feel a lot faster,” Clark said. “I have learned a lot about using strategy while running and pacing myself so that I can get the best results.”

Korver’s unique coaching techniques are evident in the classroom as well as on the track.

“He is always very specific about what he expects us to do, and he always challenges us to do our best,” Clark said.

This is also true for Meg Andresen, who has won four events in the first two meets of the 2021 track season alone.

“Even though it’s hard sometimes, I have gotten a lot better and earned more medals this year,” Andresen said.

Although it is undeniable that Korver’s athletes have improved in less than a year, Korver does not plan on stalling momentum. Instead, he continues to set goals for his team and his runners in years to come. 

“Throughout this year I have seen the team grow closer…. Their skill and leadership have greatly improved,” Korver said. “I am excited to continue coaching them in the future.”