CEDAR RAPIDS — Nathan Hopp is the boys’ cross country coach at Cedar Rapids Xavier as well as the girls’ track coach at Linn-Mar.
He doesn’t take sides.
“I always make sure to support Xavier and Linn-Mar athletes, regardless of gender, year-round, regardless of what season it may be,” Hopp said.
Hopp, an avid and successful runner himself, wants to set a good example for all his athletes.
“I have learned much through being part of a team and through athletics that I wanted to give back to others what has been given to me,” Hopp said.
Hopp’s former coaches have helped make him into the coach and person he is today. He continues to carry on the legacy of what they taught him.
“In high school and college, my coaches did much to develop my love for running and helped me realize if you put your heart and soul into something, anything is possible,” Hopp said.
Hopp said holding students to a high standard of success inside and outside of the classroom is part of that mind-set.
“I feel growing in one’s faith and giving to others through service at school and in the community are important components to personal development,” Hopp said.
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While coaching at Xavier, Hopp has helped the development of his runners by creating service opportunities for the team.
“We have practiced with the middle school cross country runners,” Hopp said. “We help out with Mount Mercy University’s Seminole Valley Stampede 5K race.”
Hopp also said these service opportunities show the athletes it is important to share the gifts and experiences they have been blessed to receive.
“Sharing my love of running and what I have learned will help others be able to be successful and achieve more than what I was able to accomplish myself,” Hopp said.
Jack Renning, a senior cross country runner, said Hopp instills fun and work make the sport enjoyable and the runners successful.
“Coach Hopp is a great coach because he truly cares about the sport and all the kids on the team,” Renning said. “He has shown me all the little things that go into (being) successful.”
Hopp will have one runner at Saturday’s state meet in Fort Dodge. Jack Renning earned his fourth trip to state with a runner-up finish at a state qualifier in Independence.