New coach is using fresh approach with cross country program

Temple’s new women’s cross country coach Charlotte Imer brings a new approach to the running program, one that is already leading to positive results.

The new women’s cross country coach, Charlotte Imer brings a new way of coaching. Focusing on mental health along with physical health. | EARL KUFEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

This past summer, the Temple Women’s Cross Country team woke up around 6 a.m. for workouts and implemented a strict diet consisting of limited caffeine and natural sources of electrolytes while training. The team needed to adapt to the new training habits which created race-like adversity on long runs and intense workouts, combined with a hyper-focus on mental well-being. Their new coach is at the root of these changes.  

Temple hired new assistant Women’s Cross Country coach Charlotte Imer on July 19 as a replacement for long-time head cross country coach James Snyder, who spent more than eight years with the program. Imer had big shoes to fill, but with a scientific approach to coaching, she came to North Broad as a young and eager leader, ready to work hand-in-hand with her runners.  

Imer brings a unique perspective on running to Temple, one focused on the biology and knowledge-based strategies that improve runners’ performances.  

“I’m getting a lot more fulfillment out of helping other people and kind of sharing my knowledge,” said Imer, who earned a master’s degree in exercise science from Tennessee Tech University in 2021. “That’s the most important thing that I can give back.”  

Imer has quickly established her brand of running on the program, utilizing the first few months of her Temple career to educate each runner on her approach to training.  

Junior runners Emily Schuler and Laura Nicholson have seen their strengths and weaknesses catered to throughout the first three months with Imer, who focuses everyone’s individual regiments on aspects in need of improvement. Nicholson is focusing on making her more effective later in races, whereas Schuler wants to improve her kicks in the final stretch of races.  

Nicholson and freshman Elvira Bredin both placed within the top 100 at the Roy Griak Invitational at the University of Minnesota on Sept. 23, with Bredin finishing 47th and Nicholson placing 66th.  

The team finished in third place at the Lehigh Invitational on Sept. 2 and won the Fordham Fiasco on Sept. 10. The squad overall did not place well at the Roy Griak Invitational, but Imer remains upbeat due to how the team has improved their approach to running.  

“Progression isn’t linear; especially in our sport, so keeping things in perspective is essential,” Imer said. “I’m confident with more training and race experience throughout October, the women will be in a better spot heading into the postseason.” 

Imer is not only attentive to her runners’ needs but wants to focus on implementing health-based coaching strategies like proper sleep, enhanced nutrition and unique workout types; she has made the women’s program her own. 

“It is an exciting time, because she is taking the reins and running with it,” said head track coach Elvis Forde. 

Imer, a Melbourne, Australia native, knows first-hand the difficulty of running at a high level. As a former All-American in the 5K while at Eastern Kentucky University, she spent more than four years training her body and mind to become an elite athlete through her focus on mental and physical health.  

“She understands us as people, not just athletes, which is important,” Schuler said. “Everyone is just more excited to come to practice.” 

Imer stressed the importance of building a rapport with the athletes and getting them to buy into the program so there isn’t a disconnect between coaches and runners. Whether it be a runner experiencing self-doubt or injuries, Imer can understand and help guide the athletes having been in their shoes just a few years prior, graduating from Eastern Kentucky in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in political science.   

And with Imer at the helm, runners like Nicholson continue to rise to the occasion. 

“[Nicholson’s] not had the most consistent training,” Imer said. “So, once I kind of figure that out, and we can get some consistent training underneath her, she’s going to be a lethal weapon.” 

The Owls have a long way to go to make that a reality for each runner, but if these first few meets are any indication of their prospects, they are well on their way to reaching their goal of winning the conference.  

The Owls will next compete at the Penn State National Open on Friday, Oct. 14.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.