Elliott Petry has been named the new Head Girls Cross Country Coach for the Salem Spartans. His appointment was formally approved by the Salem School Board this summer and he will replace Pawel Nazarewicz.
"I am looking forward to this challenge,” Petry said. “Running is a mentally challenging sport that pushes in a different direction than most sports. Usually, the running serves some motive for the game, while in cross country, the running is the sport.”
Petry joined the Salem High School faculty in 2015 to teach mathematics. He is a native of Emporia and spent three years teaching at his alma mater Greensville County before migrating to Southwest Virginia and teaching for six years at William Fleming.
“I coached soccer for three years when I first began teaching, but after my kids were born and that put coaching on hold,” he said. “I really got into running in 2015 and realized it gave me a sense of the competitive spirit that I missed from playing sports when I was younger.”
Petry played soccer all four years of high school, but really acquired his appreciation for running from his wife, Jessica. Since getting serious about the sport in 2015, he has competed in nine half marathons, three marathons and a plethora of other races.
“I feel I bring a unique perspective by not really becoming a runner until later in life,” he said. “I enjoy helping others develop a love of running and I can certainly empathize and understand the challenges of the sport.”
Petry earned both his bachelor’s degree in mathematics master’s degree in teaching from Christopher Newport University. This school year, his two children will be students at Salem High School.
“I am grateful that I was able to learn from Coach Nazarewicz and that I will continue to glean knowledge from longtime track and cross country coach Tom Roth,” he said. “The running community is very supportive, and I am excited to help our student-athletes excel.”