Noyes brothers named cross country coaches of the year

Esther Noe
The Hill City High School cross country team has one more thing to celebrate this season. About a week ago, head coach Joe Noyes and assistant coach Jared Noyes were named 2023 South Dakota Cross Country and Track and Field Coaches Association Area Cross Country Coaches of the Year for western South Dakota. 
Joe is the Area 4 Class A Coach of the Year, and Jared is the Area 4 Assistant Coach of the Year.
“These are coaches who have coached for a long time and have a ton of success under their belt,” said Joe. “It’s pretty humbling to have them vote for you and recognize you like that.” 
Joe started cross country as a freshman in high school and has been involved in the sport ever since. He ran for four years in high school and made it to state every year. Then in college, he ran for another four years and even ran at a national cross country meet. 
“It’s been an awesome sport. I think a lot of where I’m at in my life is because of cross country and track and field,” said Joe. 
It is how he met his wife, Katie, and it is how he came to be in Hill City. Joe started as the head track and field coach. The next year the head cross country coach position opened up, and Joe applied for it. 
Meanwhile, Jared went out for cross country his freshman year of high school. He was on a state championship team his junior year, and they were runner- up his senior year.
In college, Jared continued to run cross country and track. As a junior, he qualified for nationals and had the opportunity to race in different places across the Midwest. 
Unfortunately, Jared sustained an injury in college, but he was able to stay on the team and work under the head coach. Through that experience, he learned a lot of the ins and outs of training distance runners. 
When his coaching career at Hill City began, Jared coached junior high track and junior high girls basketball. After his first year, there was an opportunity to become the assistant cross country coach, and Jared has served in that role ever since. 
“I’ve had a lot of great experiences, met a lot of great people and worked with some great kids and families, especially here in Hill City. It’s certainly been a really rewarding part of my life to say the least,” said Jared. 
When it comes to coaching, both Joe and Jared enjoy sharing the sport with young athletes. To keep athletes accountable, Joe said his coaching style is intense when it is time to work. However, there is also room for a little humor. 
“Because cross country is such a mental sport, it is so taxing on you mentally. We try to have fun with it, try to keep things light,” said Joe. 
Jared, on the other hand, said his coaching style is relatively laid back. As the assistant coach, he sees his role as supporting the head coach, talking about ideas and training, being encouraging and helping out where needed. 
His style is also more analytical. Jared said, “I like to read the literature on running. I like to stay up to date on the new training methods and what things people are doing, what’s working, what’s not working. And I really like to remain knowledgeable and up to date on the sport. I always think that if you can just apply that then to your coaching, you’re giving your athletes the best opportunity.” 
During training, Joe emphasizes putting the time in, saying, “It’s the easiest and the hardest thing that a runner does.”
“The most consistent runners are the runners who have the most success,” said Joe.
Likewise, Jared encourages the athletes to trust themselves, trust the training and believe in what they are doing. 
“To be successful in it, you have to buy in. You really have to be committed. We ask a lot of our athletes. Typically those who trust what we’re giving them, who believe it, who apply it, they definitely find success in one capacity or another,” said Jared. 
Joe said cross country is unlike any other sport. Athletes spend hundreds to thousands of hours training for a 15 to 20 minute race. 
He also said, “It’s really not a battle against the person you’re running next to. It’s a battle against the six inches between your head. And you learn a lot about yourself as a person when you’re out there on the course.” 
Jared agreed saying, “It’s really an opportunity to get to know yourself, see what you’re made of. It’s challenging, and it gives you an opportunity to overcome challenges. I think that can really lead into other areas of their life as well.” 
As athletes graduate and move on, Joe hopes they walk away with a belief in themselves and in the work that they put in. 
“If they take that type of attitude wherever they go in life, this attitude of dedication, this attitude of putting in consistent work, they’ll have this belief that wherever they go with that, it’s going to pay off,” Joe said. 
As for the award, Jared said, “It’s something I certainly appreciate. I appreciate people thinking of me and considering me.” 
However, he added that “If anything it’s a reflection on the program and specifically the program that Joe has built for a decade now.”
Joe too said, “I’m just very aware that this doesn’t happen if it’s not for athletes, an assistant coach and a community that just buy into my vision.”

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