By: Danielle Incognito
Christine Engel, former track star from Mount Olive (1991), has been named head coach of the men’s and women’s track and field/cross country teams for The University of North Dakota. She started competing in track when she was only 7 years old, but she very quickly fell in love with the sport. She attended Mt. Olive High School and then went on to Clemson University in South Carolina. Her early, accomplished titles consisted of New Jersey Gatorade Athlete of the Year, number 2 ranked miler in the United States (earning consensus All America accolades), as well as one of New Jersey’s Track and Field Athletes of the Decade.
At Clemson, she was a two-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection and a member of the 1995 ACC Championship distance medley relay team, as well as a member of the 1993 NCAA Cross Country qualifying teams.
She humbly said, “I can’t necessarily speak for others if they decide to refer to me as that; however, I am very proud of my athletic achievements. I worked hard and set many goals which I am proud to have worked on and achieved.” One of her greatest achievements was winning the New Jersey Meet of Champions Track Meet four years in a row in the mile run.
She credited this four year win with showing her consistency and commitment over her entire high school career.
Christine is very honored to be the next head coach of the men’s and women’s track and field/cross country program at the prestigious University of North Dakota. She knows that it will be a big responsibility, though. When she was asked why it is such a big responsibility, she said “You are looked to for leadership, guidance, and sometimes motivation. I hope to be a positive role model for my athletes and build solid coach-athlete relationships.” She has already been for many athletes. One of her latest accomplishments was mentoring Anne Marie Schwartz to All America honors at the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Championship in 1500 meters.
Most of all, Engel is very excited about her new position. She feels very fortunate to have a career doing something that she loves, and she feels extremely lucky to have a position where she can help young athletes reach their own potential. Many new coaches may worry about whether or not they will be successful, especially at this level, but Christine says proudly, “I know it is a program that can be successful.”
Before she enters her new position to work alongside assistants Drew Jones and Dan McCarty, Christine will complete her track and field position at Fresno State. There, she has been the cross country coach and assistant track coach. Now, she is on to her new venture where she will work on building her program. Her most extensive program building thus far was at Elon, where she spent 6 years building the women’s cross country programs into Perennial Southern Conference Championship contenders.