Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Mark Dykes

Abel named assistant coach of the year


The Wyoming Coaches' Association recently announced the Coaches of the Year for the 2017 spring season, and Brenna Abel was named Assistant Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year.

Abel, who resigned from the Hot Springs County School District this year, was born and raised in Worland, and has always called the Big Horn Basin her home. "I grew up as a rancher's daughter," she stated, "so Wyoming lifestyle is a way of life." The Social Studies teaching position came open at the high school in Thermopolis in Dec. 2009 and Abel found it too hard to pass up the opportunity to be in an area she loves.

Abel had attended the University of Wyoming from 2005-09, and started her Masters in Special Education in the fall of 2009. She ran cross country, as well as indoor and outdoor track for the University of Wyoming during her college career. "It was a great experience to learn about different coaching philosophies, distance training, travel the US, and meeting great runners," she stated.

Abel took over the cross country coaching position in 2012, and spent five years as the head coach. Among her most memorable moments were seeing the girls take several state victories, including: third place in 2A, both in 2012 and 2013, second place in 2A in 2015, and second place in 3A in 2016. She noted a Thermopolis team had not placed at state prior to her coaching career. In five years of being head coach, there were 14 All-State cross country athletes.

Another memorable moment was helping set up the Big Horn Basin Middle School Conference race, and "allowing our middle school athletes a culminating event."

As an assistant girls basketball coach for three years, Abel helped guide the team twice to second place in the A division - 2012 and 2013.

She was also an indoor track coach in 2014 and 2015; in 2014, Thermopolis brought hom their first ever indoor track champion - Leesa Jensen in the shot put. She also was an outdoor track coach and saw the boys become state champions in 2A in 2014, and take second place in 2A n 2015 and 2016.

Abel stated she enjoyed watching the athletes improve during the year and continually improve from year to year.

"Leaving Thermopolis was one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make," Abel stated. "My son Connor turned one in 2017, and the time away from my family with my daily commute and coaching was a major part of the division to leave." She is taking a teaching job in Worland, her hometown.

"I truly can't thank the students, staff, and community members of Thermopolis enough! It has been a blessing teaching and coaching in Thermopolis.

"I have a heavy heart leaving as all the personal connections and relationships that I have made. I appreciate the opportunity the district and community has given me. I will treasure these relationships and memories that I will hold close to my heart."


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