Vandalia native Ryan Bontz recently finished up his third season as a track and field collegiate coach.
Bontz, who began his coaching career at his alma mater Hannibal LaGrange University, has spent the last two seasons helping to build up a young program at Ohio Christian University.
After a successful learning time for the track and field athletes during the brief indoor season, athletes had a successful Spring season as the program doubled in numbers from six in 2014 to 13 this past year. This included eight male and five female athletes.
“We had a lot of improvement,” Bontz said. “We had a new coach come in and helped us kind of hit the reset button and train harder.”
Ohio Christian’s new coach was former professional runner Eric Hammer.
Under his guidance, with the help of assistant coaches Dick Walters (former head coach) and Bontz, the team had three NCCAA national qualifiers compete in the championship meet held in Georgia.
These athletes competed in the men’s high jump, women’s shot put, and both 200- and 400-meter races.
Bontz worked mostly with the distance runners but saw his job also include the sprints this season.
“We had a lot of improvement with the blocks,” he noted. “…For me personally, I had to work with different groups, sprinters and middle distance. Primarily my main strength is distance running so this was a good learning experience.”
Bontz is looking to move on from Ohio Christian to take the next big step in his collegiate coaching career.
He’s applied to some smaller NCAA Division I programs as well as some NCAA Division III programs in the states of Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Iowa. Bontz said his goal is to lock down a full-time job perhaps as either an assistant coach or head coach.