I just really wanted to tell you that because of how truly great you are and such an inspiration, my daughter now runs every morning. She has always "hated" running! Soccer and basketball come naturally to her but the running part has always hurt her. You and your program has sparked a love for running in her that I could have never imagined! Thank you doesn't come close- you're truly great at what you do!
St. Louis, MO
“Our daughter started her running experience with Melissa’s amazing middle school team at West Sylvan Middle School. This big, fun, running family was well organized with many skilled coaches and that led the team in exploring each athlete’s interest in running at their own pace. Having been a youth coach, myself, I appreciate how important it is to balance skill development, social experience, and training concepts at the middle school level. Melissa’s guidance helped our daughter develop a well-rounded interest in running through middle school that she carried into a rewarding four year experience of competitive track and cross country at the high school level.“
- Craig Rice
President, Portland Track
We joined this program two years ago with Coach S. and again this year. I can tell you for sure that this has been one of the most enjoyable extracurricular experiences for my daughter this year.
The coaches are super friendly and supportive and always willing to lend a hand to help every child. They have created an environment where athletes of all abilities feel welcome and feel appreciated. Not only do they always remind kids about being supportive to others and about teamwork and sportsmanship but they definitely lead by example in every sense of the word. I am humbled by their dedication to inclusiveness and on behalf of my family, I am truly grateful for all their efforts.
For my family, these practices have become the highlights of our week! Thank you so much for leading such an amazing program.
My daughter Hadley was in the third grade when she asked if she could join the new track club at her elementary school. I said "of course," then proceeded to sign her up and to sign myself up to volunteer, so I could be sure the program was a healthy one for my daughter. Hadley immediately took to Coach Melissa and her supportive, encouraging style and continued with that program and then the next level, before beginning to compete for her middle school and then her high school. Although she no longer works directly with Melissa, Melissa still checks in to see how she's doing and to encourage her progress and celebrate her successes. Next fall Hadley will be a freshman on Princeton's Track & Field team and I honestly believe this wouldn't be the case if that initial grade school experience hadn't been so fun, positive, and rewarding. Thanks Coach Melissa!
-Tammy Boysen Wilhoite
My 13-year-old son has participated in both the Runner2Runner track (spring) and cross country (fall) team, and we intend to continue again this season. Our situation is a bit unique as my son was born with Down syndrome. We had signed him up to get exercise and help in his socialization with peers, without any real guess of how well he would do. We found the interaction with the coaches as well as the other teammates far better and exciting than we could have hoped for.
Coach Mark was a constant source of energy and optimism in building a real team spirit around the group. We also were so pleased to see the way the other middle school athletes on the team welcomed and embraced Cal, always encouraging and running with him at practice. Cal got a tremendous amount out of the experience and I hope the other team members enjoyed it as well. Without a doubt, the season's highlight was during the first meet when Coach Mark ran the course with Cal and they crossed the finish line to the cheers of his team and the crowd - it was a fantastic moment.
St. Louis, Missouri