CHARLOTTE – Country Day athletic director Abe Wehmiller announced Jan. 17 that Matt Elliott is the Bucs new cross country program head for both the boys and girls teams.
Elliott has been at Country Day as an assistant coach since 2015. He takes over for Allison Niekras, who announced she was stepping away after eight years to spend more time with her family.
Elliott will also continue to work with the indoor and outdoor track and field programs in an assistant coach role.
“In his four-plus years with us, he has brought energy, enthusiasm and expertise to his work and his established strong relationships with his student-athletes and his colleagues,” Wehmiller said. “In thinking about someone who could build on the great work that Allison has done, I couldn’t imagine someone who would be a better fit for us than Matt.”
In addition to his work at Country Day, Elliott also serves as the program director for RunningWorks, a regional nonprofit that uses running as a tool to break cycles of abuse, poverty, neglect and homelessness. Through a partnership with RunningWorks, he also works as a physical education instructor at the Palmetto School in Rock Hill, where he previously worked as a K-2 classroom teacher.
Elliott is an accomplished runner, having broken the four-minute mile barrier 11 times in his career and run personal records of 3:36 for 1,500 meters and 13:44 for 5,000 meters. He finished fourth in the 1,500 at the U.S. Outdoor National Championships in 2013 and fifth in that same race at the U.S. Indoor National Championships in 2015.
While he has battled injury for the past three years, he still hopes to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1,500.
“Coaching at Country Day these last four years has been a time of growth, challenge and opportunity,” Elliott said. “Sharing in others success, teaching the value of sport, and creating a passion for the sport that has transformed my life is a debt I will never be able to repay our school. I eagerly look forward to helping mold and prepare our student-athletes for the future through our cross country program.”