Meet your 2016 Blazers Coaches

Coach Kyle

Kyle Rood didn't join Fort Zumwalt South's cross country team full-time until his junior year, when he was convinced by his coach to quit soccer and basketball to focus year-round on running. It was a great decision, as Kyle went on to help his team win both the 2005 and 2006 Class 4 XC State Meet and individually win the state cross country meet his senior year, running the third fastest time in state history. On the track his senior year, Kyle raced all four distance events, winning the 1600 and 4x800, placing second in the 800, and finishing third in the 3200. He went on to run at the University of Missouri for five years, and eventually was All Big XII in the Distance Medley Relay after years of injury. In his last season, Kyle was able to run a PR in the 1500 (3:45.87) and make it to the regional meet. Kyle studied biomedical engineering in college, and went on to complete a medical device entrepreneurial fellowship. After working on a few medical device startup companies, he's now a co-founder of Start Right Foods, a company looking to bring healthy, delicious, and convenient high-protein breakfast items to the frozen food aisle. Outside of work, Kyle continues to run mainly as a stress reliever. He loves to run when he's working to solve a problem, and often takes his dog Levi who always seems to want to run a bit farther.

In his words:
I've been blessed with amazing coaches and teammates on my gratifying career as a runner and realize there is no better motivation than a friend and mentor who understands the trials of training. The reason I became a runner is the same reason I continue to train today: running is the most fun part of my day. I'm excited to share my experience and my enjoyment of the sport with the Blazers team!

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Coach Marie

Marie O’Leary has been heavily involved in the sport of running since middle school, when she joined the track team. She was hooked immediately due to the purity of the competition that comes with the sport. Marie saw success early on, so she continued racing through high school, where she earned All- State honors in the state of Illinois in the 1600, 3200, and cross country. She was fortunate enough to earn a scholarship to continue a career at the University of Missouri. M-I- Z!

During college, Marie suffered major setbacks - tearing her ACL and meniscus. Those were challenging experiences, bus she bounced back, and was proud to complete 4 seasons of cross country and run her redshirt freshman track season during her senior year. She is thankful for the coaches, teammates and family that continued to encourage her to compete. Marie continues to run today (training for her first marathon currently), 100% due to passion for the sport and the community that surrounds it. She currently works at Express Scripts as a project manager and loves watching her younger sister, Emily, run high school track meets with her parents- as running has always been a family affair!

In her words: Words cannot express the joy, important lessons learned (discipline, resilience, focus), laughter, and the amount of love I have experienced and shared through the sport of running. I am extremely grateful for the gift of running, and I am excited to share more special experiences with the Blazers team!

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Coach Rebekah

Rebekah began her running career in middle school under the guidance of Coach Chris Moore of Rockwood South Middle School but the sport officially stole her heart Freshman year of high school at Rockwood Summit where she ran cross country and track with Coach Jason Miller all four years along with swimming during the winter season. Distance running provided a community and a sense of connection that nothing else was able to provide. Graduating high school in 2011 with a cross country 5K PR of around 24 minutes, Rebekah decided to be a “walk on” Cross country and track athlete at Southeast Missouri State University and was coached by Ryan Lane. She ended up being one of the top distance runners at SEMO and had a track 5K PR of 16:57. Along with that, she was the first SEMO cross country runner to place at the Ohio Valley Conference cross country meet 4 years in a row. She ended her running career early due to some injuries that she is still recovering from. Currently, Rebekah is a dedicated student at Logan University for Chiropractic and will be accepting patients at the Logan University Clinic in January.