Andy Norris: Cross-Country Aficionado


Joel Devick

Every school year brings changes to the lives of students. For the members of the boys AHS Cross Country Team, a new wrinkle has entered the fold this year. New Associate XC Coach Andy Norris joined the staff this fall, and although he is still learning the ropes somewhat, he is looking to make an impact in the young athletes’ that he gets to coach now.

Norris recently moved to Ames in the past few years to take over the position of Youth Pastor at Cornerstone Church in Ames. Now, with a second job where he interacts with youth in Ames, he hopes he can adopt a similar approach from his first one.

“I work with high school students now, it’s part of my job, so I also wanted to be a part of what Ames High is doing, because it is a really sweet school,” said Norris. Although he won’t work directly with all the runners, he brings an evident passion about running that will definitely be felt by all who talk with him about it. “To help guys love running as much as I do, and to instill that passion into guys while they’re in high school. I hope to kind of create and spread that ‘bug,’ that ‘virus’ for running and just loving a weird sport.”

Along with being spirited running coach, Norris has a long running (pun intended) career with the sport. “I started running in 8th grade because I was really terrible at football,” he admitted. No shame there Andy.

He does have some great experiences from when he was in his high school running days though. “I transitioned to my freshman year in high school and was able to get to the varsity team pretty early on, and that year was also one of the first years that my class and school at Spirit Lake in Iowa experienced a lot of success in its running program for probably the first time.” said Norris. “We qualified for our first state meet and to see the school become known was amazing.”

Norris continued his career in running for the Northwestern College XC Team. His best mileage time in his career came when he was there (4:35). For me, an average joe, that is fast, but he quickly cedes that guys like Daniel Chan and Lee Grim are way faster than he ever was. He says that he “didn’t do anything spectacular there or win anything,” but he is really grateful for the opportunity he got there. “To be able to run at a collegiate level for four years was really a privilege.”

Norris’ fresh and passionate attitude towards the team will hopefully rub off on everyone involved in the Boys XC Team, from the kids running for fun to the D-1 bound prospects currently in the fold. “I think I’ll always be a runner, because it’s kind of ingrained in me. It’s weird when I’m not doing it, so to transition back into it is awesome,” proclaimed Norris. Ames High is definitely lucky to have him on board.