Kirby seeks new challenge with Simpson cross-country team


by Tanner Krueger, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Running into the new year, Simpson cross country head coach Heath Moenck is excited about his new additions to the coaching staff. Jim Kirby and Jamie Busby, the newest coaches of the Storm, have Moenk excited to get to work for the season and help his athletes reach their goals.

Kirby is one of the new additions to the women’s team for this year and will bring an abundance of experience to the program. Kirby has been coaching cross country and track and field since 1992. Starting at the middle school level and working his way up to the now college level, he has faced many challenges that he had to overcome.

“It was time to do something different, and maybe it is a new challenge,” Kirby said.

Moving from a very successful high school program at Dowling Catholic to a college program is a challenge, and that is exactly what Kirby was looking for.

What does it take to get a coach who has won six state championship team titles and coached numerous individual state championships to come to a college team?

“I got to a point to where I thought I was taking things for granted, getting stuck in a routine, and maybe even losing my edge,” Kirby said.

With this newfound passion for a bigger challenge, Kirby found himself at Simpson ready to take on a new level of competition.

Looking forward to coaching college-level athletes, Kirby has noticed a few differences; one of these differences being how hard the women’s cross country team works. Kirby has big goals for what he would like his women’s team to accomplish.

“We set our sights on winning conference, and having conference champions,” Kirby said.

When asked about his excitement for the new coaching staff, Moenk said, “We have gelled together, our philosophies are similar, and we are on the same page.”

Having a smooth transition with the new coaching additions of Kirby and Busby is something that has set the staff up for a successful start to the season.

“Our athletes have loved working with him (Kirby) so far, and we’re all excited to start working with him,” Moenk said.

The athletes of both men and women’s teams will reap the benefits of the new coaches.

Moenk, the single coach in past years, is excited to have more coaches helping at practices and recruiting. Having 38 student athletes on the team with one coach was one reason for adding coaches to the staff.

Having Kirby and Busby being able to call and visit high school recruits will enable the team to have better recruiting. Coming off one of the team’s best recruiting years for the men’s side, they look to continue to recruit at a high level for both men and women’s sides. Kirby is coming into this year with a fresh look on the season and is excited to work with the Simpson women’s team.

The Storm cross country team continues their season Friday at the Grand View Invitational in Des Moines. The event will start at 5:45 p.m.