Former Falcon teammates now lead prep cross country programs around Toledo

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TOLEDO (WTVG) - Bowling Green State University eliminated the men's track and field program after the 2002 season. The school still sponsors men's cross country in the fall, but the program has not won a Mid-American Conference Championship since 1995.

But four guys who were once Falcon teammates 30 years ago still hold tight today to their time on campus in Wood County as they are head cross country coaches at high schools around Toledo.

"Come on Blake!," Start High School head coach John Wodarski yells at one of his harriers during a meet at Ottawa Park. "We gotta get some people buddy, we gotta get some people, let's go!"

Wodarski teaches health and physical education at Start and is in his third-year as the head coach of the boys cross country program.

"When I started teaching and stuff like that, I wanted to instill that same stuff in the kids that I was around (at BGSU)," Wodarski said.

When Wodarski was a student at Southview High School, running in college, really was not on his radar.

In the 1989 BGSU Men's Track and Field team picture, seven guys down from Wodarski is Todd Black - the head cross country coach at St. John's Jesuit High School. Black is a recent inductee to the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame.

"I had to grow into love running," Black said. "It didn't come naturally. It wasn't a natural love of running. So I try to teach these guys that if they can gain that love and respect for the game of running, then they'll actually run faster and better."

Even though Black is a former U.S.A. Olympic Trials athlete, this line of thinking sounds familiar.

"How to install a pride and work ethic in their athletes," Former Falcons head coach Sid Sink said about what he wants his former athletes to use while coaching today. "And get their athletes to love the sport like they did."

Sink was the head coach of that Falcons team 30 years ago. In that same team picture from 1989, there is Jon Monheim and Keith Madaras.

Monheim leads the girls at Perrysburg High School while Madaras is the head coach of the boys team. Today, both are trying to get their teams back to the OHSAA Division I State Cross Country Championship for the second straight fall.

"Coaching with Todd or currently coaching with John, I'll hear Sid talking as I'm listening to them," Madaras said. "I know that sounds funny, but it's true. But especially Todd."

Monheim is in his third stop as a head coach after previously leading the girls cross country program at Northview High School and the boys team at St. John's Jesuit.

"I think it says a lot about Coach Sink," Monheim said. "We had a great experience running for him, running at a fairly high level and obviously for us, we wanted to push onto the kids we coach the things we learned from Coach Sink."

Sink still catches up once or twice a year with his former athletes and it is usually at one of the indoor prep track and field meets inside Perry Field House.

"I'm sure they enjoy seeing each other just as much in coaching," Sink said. "They probably razz each other a little bit when one has a good team that year and the other is struggling a little bit."

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