Regional champions. Three women and one man placing in the Top 10 at nationals. Five All-Americans in the past two years.
These are outstanding statistics, and the KCC cross-country program has achieved them all. Even more impressive, the program has only existed since 2018.
So, how does a team elevate itself to regional champion and national contender status in virtually no time? Ask the coach.
A Decorated Career
Erin Lane, the KCC men’s and women’s head cross-country coach, is no stranger to success when it comes to competitive running.
“Running has been a passion of mine since I first stepped on a track in seventh grade,” Lane said.
Lane boasts an impressive resume, including three straight state 800 meter titles in high school from 1995-97. She was also awarded a full athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan, where she competed until 2001.
Once her running career was over, Lane knew she wanted to stay involved with the sport she loved.
“I never imagined myself not running,” she said. “Being a coach has afforded me the opportunity to continue working at something I’m passionate about and hopefully helping and encouraging others to reach their goals.”
Coach Lane’s successful past has translated well to her coaching efforts, according to both her boss and the athletes that she oversees.
Tom Shaw, athletic director at KCC, acknowledged the effects of Lane’s running background on her coaching career.
“Coach Lane’s success as an elite Big Ten runner at the University of Michigan helps her immeasurably as a coach,” Shaw said. “She has instant credibility with the runners she is recruiting because she ran at the highest level of college athletics.”
Brian Frazee, a member of KCC’s men’s cross-country team, said Coach Lane can easily empathize with her athletes due to her prior knowledge of the sport.
“She has more than once shared stories about things she learned in her training which helped us in ours,” Frazee said. “She went through both successes and failures in her career, and from that experience has helped us in our successes and failures.”
“I know without a doubt that being an athlete has had a positive influence on many areas of my life,” Lane said when asked about her athletic career. “I’ve been there, done that, so I can relate to my athletes better since I understand what challenges they face.”
An Impact Beyond Running
Coach Lane’s runners are not under her guidance for a long amount of time, but that hasn’t stopped Lane from making a lasting impression on the athletes that she coaches.
Emma Berning, a member of KCC’s women’s cross-country team, said her time with Lane will prove valuable even after her running career is over.
“The most important thing that Coach Lane has taught me is to be self-disciplined, which is something that I will be able to use in my future academics and career,” Berning said.
For Frazee, Lane’s counsel helped him overcome some psychological challenges that he dealt with during the 2020 cross-country season.
“One of the things I struggled with last season was a lack of contentment,” Frazee said. “What Coach Lane helped me to do is be fueled properly by the successes I do accomplish, big and small.”
Both Frazee and Berning echoed their love for Lane and her coaching style. Berning called Lane a “great coach,” while Frazee said, “She’s someone I look up to and respect.”