Blankenship named as SVC track coach

Jarrett Blankenship was announced on Wednesday as the new track coach at Southern Vermont College.

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BENNINGTON — Southern Vermont College Director of Athletics Sharief Hashim announced Wednesday the hiring of Jarrett Blankenship as the Mountaineers' new head coach for the men's and women's cross country programs as well as the outdoor track & field team.

Blankenship comes to SVC from Western Kentucky University where he was most recently an assistant for the Division I Hilltoppers programs over the last year.

"We're excited to welcome Jarrett to the SVC family," said Hashim. "Our goal was to hire a coach who would maintain the high level of success to which our cross country and track & field teams have grown accustomed. We believe Coach Blankenship has the determination and coaching experience to recruit effectively, mentor high-achieving student-athletes, and enhance our strong running and field programs."

Blankenship worked at Western Kentucky after receiving his Master of Science Degree in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration from the institution in May 2016. Prior to his tenure at WKU, the Kentucky native held multiple roles at Warren East High School in Bowling Green since the spring of 2012, he was an assistant for the track & field and cross country teams for four seasons before taking on the head boys' cross country coaching position in 2015.

"It is my personal goal as a coach to take these programs to new heights and to build upon the tradition that Coach [Kathleen] Newton brought through her years of work and dedication to the College," Blankenship said. "My vision is to have a team that is comprised of individuals who build each other up and push one another toward new goals."

The first day of practice is Monday and while Hashim had hoped to hire someone a little sooner, Blankenship is the perfect choice.

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"It was challenging to find someone who would coach both and Jarrett fills that. He's been successful at both sports."

Blankenship worked as an athletic recruiter and student assistant coach at Berea College while obtaining his bachelor's in Physical Education. As a runner at Berea, he was a three-time qualifier for the NAIA national championship in cross country while also working his way to a spot on the 2009 All-Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Team. Additionally, he was a two-time NAIA Champion of Character Award recipient.

"I am looking forward to raising the bar for each student-athlete — academically, athletically, and as young professionals in their fields," Blankenship said.

"Any hire has to be the right fit for the college," Hashim said. "He's had great experience at the NAIA and Division I levels. He'll be a great asset not only to those programs but the athletic department as a whole.

The new Southern Vermont head coach received his USA Track & Field Level I Certification in February 2012 before acquiring his National Association of Athletic Compliance Certification in December 2015. Blankenship and the Mountaineer cross country teams are set to begin preseason workouts soon with the regular season starting September 2 with their annual home meet.


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