Q&A: Wilmette Junior High School Track and Cross Country Team Coach

We ask and members of Wilmette, Kenilworth share their passion, insights.

During the day, Aaron Dubnow, 25, teaches science at , by night, he coaches the school’s track and cross country team. The Glencoe resident has taught at the school for four years. This is the first year he has coached the track team, and it’s his third year as the cross country coach. This past year, the school’s girls cross country team placed 9th at state, and 21 athletes qualified to compete at the state.

Patch: What's your favorite thing about working with Wilmette students?

Dubnow: My favorite thing about working with Wilmette students is their dedication. They make it easy to coach, they make it easy to want to come out and help them improve. I feel lucky to be in such a great community with such great student athletes and amazing parental support. So all I try to do is work hard to help the students as best as I can and I do honestly love every minute of it. It is the kids that make it easy to come out everyday and give it my all- they are awesome; they make the programs here in Wilmette, not the coaches.

Patch: What do you think makes a good environment for training cross country and track teams?

Dubnow: Having a team minded approach, understanding that they have individual goals and team goals and we will work hard to achieve both of them … What makes the program work, is that we think of it as a program, it’s not just for the top kids, not just to have fun … I think we all have that mindset so we are able to work with the kids that have a 10-minute mile, work with the kids that have a 9-minute miles, work with kids that have a 6-minute miles and are training to win state, that’s what makes the program work because it’s not just about one or two kids or their success, it’s about the whole team-wide approach.

Something that’s hard about being a junior-high coach is that we have such a diverse range of abilities on our team but it’s also what makes it really worthwhile. It’s great to see a kid who never ran before improve by a minute but it’s also great to see a kid improve by 10 seconds but make it to state because that was their goal.

Patch: What's the most memorable moment been working with Wilmette Junior High School cross country or track teams?

Dubnow: Just recently we’ve had 21 athletes qualify for the state meet in track, which is very hard, but more than the success, it’s just seeing the look on their faces when they’ve achieved their goal and how happy the team is, especially the relays as a team and they qualify together, I think that’s better than any individual accomplishment, it’s the same thing with cross country.

I’ve seen some kids fall in races and therefore their time is going to be ruined but they get up and finish the race, I’m at times more proud of those kids than I am of students who come in first place because it’s hard to have hard moment then to be able to stick your head up and finish the race.

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