FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Wendy Jones
November 22, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. – Peace College Director of Athletics Kelly Johnson announced Tuesday Michelle Simonson will transition as the head cross country coach after serving this fall as the assistant. In addition to leading cross country, Simonson will continue her role as assistant basketball coach with Johnson.
"We are excited to announce Assistant Coach Michelle Simonson has accepted the position of head coach of our cross country program, as this will allow a smooth transition for the program. Coach Simonson is an excellent coach as well as a role model for the student-athletes of Peace College, and we expect the program to continue to grow under her leadership," commented Johnson.
Simonson helped the Pacers to a successful cross country season this fall with individual triumphs along the way. Third-year runner Allison Gilmore earned placement on the USA South’s all-conference second team with her 16th-place finish in the championship race on October 30. Gilmore’s time of 26:29.0 marked a more than four minute improvement since the 2009 conference meet.
"If one has a willingness and desire, I can take them to their potential," noted Simonson. "I want the members of the cross country team to leave in four years equipped as leaders who can start and finish knowing they made the most of an opportunity. With great anticipation and excitement I look forward to building a program that connects student-athletes to Peace College for life change."
Simonson graduated from Peace in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts in biology and earned an Associate’s degree in 2004. While at Peace, Simonson earned numerous honors within both the academic and athletic communities. She was named the 2006 Outstanding Graduate and received the year’s Outstanding Senior Award. She was a four-year member of the basketball team, serving as captain her senior season. Simonson earned the athletic department’s prestigious Frazier Cup, awarded annually to the individual who best exemplifies the characteristics of a student-athlete. Additionally, Simonson was presented the 2006 Scholar Athlete Award and named the basketball team’s Defensive Player of the Year. She earned academic all-conference honors each of the three years she competed in the league.
Simonson works full time as a field biologist for the North Carolina Division of Water Quality but maintains close ties to the Peace community through coaching athletics, leading backpacking expeditions through the department of physical education, and as a mentor to Peace student researchers.