The Coast Star newspaper has selected our very own Adjunct Professor of Speech and Communication Kaityln Lavender as female coach of the year for cross-country track (boys and girls).
The Coast Star is a newspaper centered around the Monmouth and Ocean county areas. Each year, they choose one coach or coaching staff from each sport to win coach of the year for those specific counties. Lavender is a part of the Shore Track Coaches Association which embodies coaches within Monmouth and Ocean Counties. These counties make up the Shore Conference. The awards given out are voted by a panel of coaches from the Shore Track Coaches Association.
Lavender currently coaches at St.Rose High school in Belmar, New Jersey. She’s been coaching at St. Rose since 2016, but started coaching in 2009 for Mater Dei Prep in Middletown.
Lavender is no neophyte when it comes to track and field in regard to playing. As a teenager, she ran cross country and track for St. Rose. She was also a member of three state championship cross country teams. After high school, she ran for American University from 2002-2006.
This past season was one of, if not the best year that Lavender has had while coaching at St. Rose. “We had a great year last year, winning the boys and girls NPB (non-public B) Winter Track and Field relays, and then won the boys NPB Winter Track and Field Group Championships two months later,” Lavender said. “The boys spring track team won the NPB South Sectional and NPB State Group Championships in June and the girls team won the NPB South Sectional that same day. We also won the boys NBP South State Championship in 2020, which was my first state championship as a coach.”
Lavender’s coaching style is player-friendly to say the least.“I try to be as personable as I can when I coach, meeting students at their level and trying to get out their best potential. Not everyone has the same talents or abilities, but if you make someone believe that they're capable of more than they're showing, the end result is worth the effort,” said Lavender.
Along with being able to help athletes excel on the track, Lavender gets a thrill from helping athletes excel off the track. “My favorite part of coaching is watching the athletes grow as people and grow in their love of the sport,” Lavender said. “While coaching high school athletes for 4 years, they start as kids fresh out of grade school and leave as young adults. There's a good deal of growth that goes on during that time period, and you really get to make an impact on them.”
Furthermore, Lavender stated that she’s proud of being able to be recognized for her achievement.“I put a great deal of effort and time into coaching, and while it's not about the coaches, it feels good to be recognized for having achieved something.” “There are so many talented coaches and so many schools that have a larger pool of students to draw from, so we're very lucky to have been able to win the state championships and be selected for the awards.”