Track & Field Staff Highlights

As we kick-off Spring Running and Track & Field season, we couldn't help but recognize our superstar Gazelle Sports staff who are track & field coaches or runners. Our team at Gazelle Sports is made up of many individuals, with different running stories, movement journeys, and we love to use this opportunity to highlight the amazing accomplishments of our Gazelle Sports herd.

Check out our list of rockstar runners & coaches below at each location.

Northville

Chris Inch -

Chris is a coach at Livonia Stevenson High School in Livonia, MI and has coached there since 2009.

Growing up in Farmington, MI, Chris ran cross country and track at Farmington High School (1983-1987) for well-known coach and runner, Jerry Young. Following high school, Chris ran cross country and track in college at the University of Illinois all four years.

What Chris loves most about running is how the sport is fact-based and results oriented.

Fun Fact: When Chris was a sophomore at Illinois, he beat Craig Virgin in cross-country at the alumni meet, without being fully aware of Virgin's place in distance running history. (Don't worry, he quickly got up to speed on this accomplishment after that race). Chris also has twin-daughters, who both attend MSU. Abby runs XC/Track at MSU and his daughter Emma swims for MSU, as well.

Mackenzie Gurne:

Mackenzie runs cross country and Track & Field at Madonna University.

Her dad was a runner, which inspired her to become a runner as well. Mackenzie started running in the 10th grade and fell in love with it. Her favorite event is the 5k.

Her personal record for the 5k is 18:00 and for indoor track is 17:48.

Mackenzie loves to run because it's relaxing and loves to connect with different runners from different places.

Fun Fact: She loves to travel to warm places and eat dark chocolate.

Tony Floyd:

Tony runs at Madonna University. He started running in the 7th grade as a sprinter, but it didn't go well (so he says! ;)) He later transitioned to cross country/distance running and hasn't looked back since.

Tony's main events are 3k, 5k, 8k, and 10k

He holds a personal best in 8k at 24:04 and 5k at 14:35.

What he loves most about running is being able to enjoy long runs with his teammates.

Fun Fact: He loves to travel. His favorite place is Quebec City.

Christina Murphy:

Christina runs cross country and track at Madonna University. Christina joined track in 8th grade and has been in love with running ever since. Her main events are mile, 3k, and 5k.

Her personal bests are 5k with a 17:38 time, 3k: with 10:14 and mile at 5:09.

Christina loves running with her teammates and the amazing friends she has made from this sport!

Fun Fact: Her team won the NAIA National Championship in Vancouver, WA this year for the first time in school history out of all sports! Another amazing reason why she loves her teammates! She is also on the team with Tony and Mackenzie, (who are Gazelle Sports coworkers) and Mackenzie is one of her best friends!

Birmingham

Gehrig Longe:

Gehrig runs at Seaholm High School. He started running in 6th grade and hated it. Once he reached high school, he grew to love running and took it more seriously. As he began to work hard, he began to notice his running becoming faster and that motivated him to continue to work hard.

He runs the 1600, 3200 and 800.

His personal records are 1600 with 4:49, 3200 at 10:40 and 800 at 2:09.

He loves that running pushes him and his teammates to be the best runners they can be.

Fun Fact: He always wear fun socks to work including turtle socks, pb&j socks penguin socks, etc. He also has a pet turtle named monster who enjoys passing his time by trying to escape his tank.

Andrew Flaherty:

Andrew runs at Wylie E. Groves High School. He has been running for almost 9 years, and been on Varsity cross country and track for 4 years. His plan is to run in college for Temple University or Albion College.

He participates in the 800m and 400m.

His personal records are 2:06 in the 800m and 54.7 in the 400m.

Andrew loves the freedom that running entails. It's stress free and loves running with friends.

Fun Fact: Andrew got 4th in the regional meet in the 4x800m.

Kalamazoo

Haley Ritsema:

Haley coaches at Portage Northern High School and runs cross country/track and field for Western Michigan University.

Haley started running in elementary school when her mom signed her up for a local road 5k. She won a medal in her age group and was hooked after that!

Haley participates in 800m and 1500m. She holds personal bests of 18:50 for 5k, 2:16 for 800m and 4:47 for 1500m.

Haley loves the competitive aspect of running, and how it teaches a healthy way to compete with yourself and others, but what she loves most about running is the bonds made through running together. It is a joy to be able to use running to mentor young athletes to become not only the best athletes they can be, but to also see this translate into the rest of their lives.

Fun Fact: She grew up on a small hobby farm raising goats so she could raise enough money to pay for her horses! :)

 

Daniel Higgason:

Dan coaches at Portage Northern HS and officiates track and cross-country meets.

Dan ran high school track & cross-country in Indiana and then at Western Michigan University in college.

His main events were 800, mile and 5k.

His personal bests were 14:35 for the 5k, 4:05 for the mile and 1:53 for the 800.

Fun Fact: Dan has been coming to Gazelle Sports since it opened in Kalamazoo. (1985!)

Megan Poolman:

Megan, aka Coach Poolmam coaches track at Gull Lake High School.

After playing soccer all her life, she came to running later than most because she needed something fresh post-high school. The sport grew on her quickly and enjoys being able to share it with others!

She loves everything from the 5K to the half marathon distance, and likes to switch up her training based on what she has going on in her life.

Her favorite thing about coaching and running are the connections that she makes while moving with others. Being out on the run, whether you're talking about your favorite ice cream or just listening to feet and breath, is an experience.

Fun Fact: Numbers are everything in sports, but I aspire to teach English at the middle or high school level.

Grand Rapids

Leah O'Connor:

Leah grew up in Croswell, MI and attended Michigan State University. Throughout her high school career, Leah received 6 All-State Honors and won 4 State Championships between the 1600m and 800m. While at Michigan State, Leah won 13 Big Ten conference titles, 3 NCAA Titles, holds school records in the steeplechase and 1500m, and also set the NCAA meet record in the Indoor Mile. She has also competed at 2 USA Track and Field Championships most notably placing 4th in 2015.

Personal records include 800m: 2:06, and 5k: 15:38

Leah is part of our Gazelle Elite Racing Team.

Fun Fact: Leah started running in elementary school to beat her brothers in local fun runs.

Bryce Bradley:

Born and raised in Chelsea Michigan, Bryce has slowly begun calling West Michigan his home. He is currently pursuing a masters degree in Higher Education with a focus on sports psychology and athletic identity at Grand Valley State University where he ran at the collegiate level.

Personal records include 5000m at 13:59 and 3000m at 8:06.

Bryce is part of our Gazelle Elite Racing Team.

Fun Fact: He collects Rubik's cubes.

Louis Falland:

Louis ventured over to Grand Rapids, Michigan to pursue bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education and Business Administration, respectively, at Cornerstone Universtiy. While at Cornerstone, he was an NAIA National Champion in the mile, 9x All-American, 14x WHAC Conference Champion, and held five school records.

Personal records include 1500m with a time of 3:34:14 and mile at 4:01.40

Louis is part of our Gazelle Elite Racing Team.

Fun Fact: He successfully survived a kangaroo attack. (Oh, he's also originally from Australia).

Joshua Reynolds:


Josh, like many coaches, had the opportunity to have some great high school coaches when he first began competing. They were able to do what he thinks is essential in most coaches: set the bar high, teach student-athletes how to set realistic goals, teach the meaning of hard work, how to be a good teammate, and to have fun. Working at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids, he had the opportunity to coach a few seasons for Run Camp.

In 2002, he was approached by a coaching friend wanting to know if he would be interested in helping launch and coach a middle school cross country program for Grand Rapids Catholic. In 2004, Thornapple Kellogg high school’s Hall of Fame coach Tammy Benjamin was looking to add a boys high school coach to the program.

Fast forward to 2020, Josh has been coaching for 18+ years.

His favorite part about being a coach is the positive relationships he has made with athletes and their families

Fun Fact: On the day he was supposed to interview for a coaching position, he had to call and ask for the interview to be rescheduled because his wife went into labor with their son. Now, 16 years later, his son, Camden, is on their high school team and Josh has the pleasure to coach his own child.

Jeff Brown:

Jeff has run competitively in grade school and college. He loves this sport and wants to share the experience with others, which is why he decided to become a coach. His goal was always to create a life-long love of movement and wellness in each athlete; any personal record or wins is just icing.

Jeff has been coaching for 5+ years! He enjoys seeing each runner do what they thought might've been impossible, both individually and as a team.

Fun Fact: He loves yoga and has been teaching yoga for several years!

Holland

Josh Vork:

Josh coaches at Zeeland East High School. He ran track and cross country in High School, but spent most of his time injured. He always felt part coach, even when he was an athlete.

Josh is the head coach for both track and field, and cross country. He works with both girls and boys distance group in track & field.

Josh loves seeing kids reach potential beyond what they thought was even possible. He loves the people in the track and field community. Everyone is so supportive and willing to cooperate and share ideas so they can all give their kids the best experience possible. And winning isn't so bad either ;)

Fun Fact: Josh coaches at his Alma Matter. Once a Chix, always a Chix!

What Hailey loves most about running is getting to run with an awesome group of athletes. Having the opportunity to push yourself alongside others really strengthens friendships and allows for some awesome memories.

Fun Fact: During her time at Hope, she has competed in 10 different events.

Hailey Pickelheimer:


Hailey runs at Hope College. She has been competing in track for almost 10 year and fell in love with hurdling as soon she jumped over one. Being able to run collegiality at Hope has been a dream come true for her.

She has met some amazing friends along the way and loves to be part of a team that supports each other's goals. Her time has come with many successes and injuries, however, these have driven her even more as runner to be her very best for her team.

Hailey competes in the 400m hurdles, with personal record of 66.9

Megan Lambers

Megan coaches Middle School cross country and track at Holland Christian. She has been coaching at HC for the past 4 years.

She loves using running as a way to connect with kids. It is so fulfilling to watch them grow in their abilities and build confidence. She also has had the opportunity to coach two of her kids. She loves to see the excitement for the sport grow locally in all the area schools.

Fun Fact: She loves Captain Sundae Banana Splits!