With his brand of selfless dedication to Hood River’s young athletes, former middle school track program head coach Steve Wrye left big shoes to fill as he departed this summer on an around-the-world sailing trip. Before leaving, however, he managed to convince a world-class athlete and trainer to take over his role as mentor and coach to the incoming field of several dozen young runners from Hood River and Wy’east Middle Schools.
Lara Stone moved to Hood River last summer with her husband, Flurry, who is a school psychologist for the school district. Stone, a Jesuit High graduate, was a member of the school’s first female state cross country championship team before moving on to race for four years with the Air Force Academy’s Division 1 cross country and track teams. She raced at the national and world championship level in both running and triathlons and has since been coaching professionally and started her own coaching company, Lara Stone Coaching, where she specializes in form, biomechanics and strength and conditioning for endurance athletes.
Stone says she met Wrye several months ago and his persistence paid off as he eventually convinced her to take over the lead coaching role this season.
“I’m excited about working with middle school kids; it’s a new age for me,” She said this week. “My main concern right now is getting help with running the team. I’m a stay-at-home mom with two young boys (22 months and five months old) and am running my own coaching company, so my time is really limited. I’m hoping we can enlist some volunteers to help with some of the administrative work that goes with running a team so I can focus on coaching with the limited time I have.”