Meet your Blazers Coaches
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!
Frankie Biondo started running in eighth grade when he joined the STL Blazers Track Club. He ran with them for a year until he started running at Lafayette High School. He ran for Lafayette High School all 4 years. After graduating from Lafayette High School, he decided to forego Running in college and to train for a marathon. He ran his debut marathon, the MO Cowbell, in 2017 where he placed first and set a course record of 2:38:30. He continues training for marathons with the end goal of running all of the marathon majors.
In his own words:
Running to me is being able to challenge myself and push myself to my limits to achieve my goals I thought I couldn’t. Running to me is being able to experience new places and meet new people along the way that share your passion for running and achieving their own impossible feats. My goal is to share my passion with others so that they feel the same way about running and achieving their goals.
After previously having helped coach the squad in 2016 and 2017, Coach Tyler returns for his second stint as a Blazers’ assistant coach in the Spring 2019 track season. In addition to coaching the team, Tyler was a Blazer athlete himself growing up and takes pride in having the unique opportunity to pass along the team traditions to the next generation of Blazers. Coach Tyler ran track at Rockwood Summit High School for Coach Matt Helbig and Coach Rolland Garrison where he was a part of the state qualifying 4x800m relay team in 2009. Coach Tyler competed in the 800m, 1600m, 3200m, 4x400m relay, and 4x800m relay during his track career. During his college years Coach Tyler started running long distance road races and attained a personal best 3:16 in the marathon. When not coaching, Coach Tyler can usually be found training (with running partner Mags alongside!) on the Al Foster or great trails of Castlewood State Park with a personal goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
In his words:
Running to me is a lifestyle – it’s a great way to decompress from stress, it helps me stay healthy and happy, it’s great thinking time, and it’s an infinite challenge.. there’s always more we can do to become faster or run further. I really truly believe running can bring out the best in us. I hope as a coach that I can convey that to my squad, and inspire a love for running that the kids can turn into their own lifestyle.
Coach Gryphon is currently a college student majoring in Business. He’s a passionate runner who had a great high School career and went on to run at Webster University. His star event was the 3200 meter, and his High School PR of 9:47 tied Mehlville's school record! In college, he was top man on the team and ran 8k in 27:15, which was Webster Universities Freshman School Record and in the indoor track season he ran mostly the full mile and the 1k race and beat the school record with a time of 2:32 1k. He raced the 3k steeplechase and 5k in Outdoor Season and was undefeated in the 3k steeple and ran a PR 5k time of 15:58. After his freshman year, he left the track and cross country distance to pursue longer races, and has since ran 5 marathons, one of which was a 6 hour ultra endurance race! His most successful marathon was the Little Rock marathon 2018 placing 4th overall of 3500 runners with a time of 2:43:45. With that race, he qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon.
In his words:
I live in the Central West End and am passionate about fitness and the outdoors. I love to travel to places I have never been. Hobbies include Bowling, binging Netflix shows, hanging with friends, and of course physical fitness. I have been passionate about running since my freshman year of High School and I love to spread my passion and joy onto others and hope that my story can inspire others someday. I have come from a difficult home life in which both parents are deceased and grew up in a home where many family members were addicts. I am proud that I have separated myself from that negativity. I want to be the best person I can be and I want the best for others.