By: Gabe Kermode
The Goshen College cross country team introduced a new face to their coaching staff with the addition of Anna Mast this season. Mast is a 2008 GC graduate, and ran cross country and track during her time here.
Head cross country coach Rustin Nyce praised Mast for what she brings to the table.
“Anna brings great experience relating to college students as a previous business owner and employer of college students,” he said. “She also competed here at GC, so that adds to her expertise and she relates very well to the student-athletes and provides specific mentorship to the women’s program.”
Before being added to the coaching staff at GC, Mast owned a bakery that employed many Goshen College students.
“I had a staff of almost entirely GC students, and I really enjoyed their energy,” Mast said. “So when I sold the business, I was trying to figure out where I would feel good about spending time being involved in my community, and Goshen College was an easy choice.”
Mast fit right into the atmosphere of GC, having gone to the school before, so her inauguration into the athletic department was quite easy.
“[I found] no challenges returning back to Goshen College. I am a 2008 alumni, and I ran on the cross country and track teams so it’s a familiar system and environment,” said Mast.
This familiarity and first-hand experience has helped Mast relate better to the student-athletes and bring out their full potential.
“The whole team relates really well to her kindness, sensitivity and approach to the sport. She has helped our team begin to realize what they are fully capable of,” said Nyce.
Goshen College’s cross country program has been recognized nationally for their accomplishments as a program. They have been ranked eight times since 2019 after being ranked 20th in the national preseason rankings this year.
Mast was not aware of the recognition before she became a coach, and was pleased with her athletes for staying humble through the spotlight.
“I honestly had no idea the teams had national recognition when I started. But I think that’s a testament to who these student-athletes are. They found ways to welcome me with none of the stereotypical decorated athletes’ egos,” she said. “They are delightful to be around.”
The relationship between head coach Nyce and coach Mast has been good.
“Rustin puts so much intention and research behind his approach to training, but more importantly, [he focuses on] team culture,” Mast said. “I’m not sure I would have felt comfortable joining a coaching team had it not been for his enthusiasm and sincerity.”
“I’ve got a lot to learn, but it feels like a safe atmosphere in which to do that,” said Mast.