Steve Hellman receives an award from St. John’s seniors Rylee Pohlman and Kambrynn Rohr for his 10 years of service as cross country coach. (DHI Media/Larry Heiing)
Steve Hellman receives an award from St. John’s seniors Rylee Pohlman and Kambrynn Rohr for his 10 years of service as cross country coach. (DHI Media/Larry Heiing)
DELPHOS -- Former Delphos St. John’s Cross Country Coach Steve Hellman was honored Thursday evening at the weekly meeting of the Delphos Running Club by new coach Brian Kopack. Also in the socially distanced crowd were the members of this year’s team as well as alumni Blue Jay runners.

“I’m totally overwhelmed by the support shown to me tonight and this was totally unexpected by me when I showed up for my run” explained an emotional Hellman. “This really means a lot to me because I love the sport of running because it instills a good work ethic which leads to many opportunities down the road. Things have come full circle for me because I ran at Bluffton after I graduated from St. John’s and now Jenia Freewalt along with Noah Heiing will be running for the Bluffton cross country team. I can’t take all the credit for how much the program has grown because the kids, parents and alumni helped take it to the next level. I think the Blue Jay cross country program will continue to excel and grow under the new leadership of the Kopacks.”

Coach Kopack gave kudos to Hellman for making the program what it is today. “When Steve took over, the team was in danger of being cut by St. Johns. There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in cross country at St. Johns 10 years ago but Steve took charge and brought excitement back to the program” continued Kopack. “Back then the team consisted of about a handful of runners compared to today where we have 40 athletes. Hopefully we can carry on Steve’s tradition and continue to bring home team trophies along with teaching our athletes valuable life lessons.”

The Delphos Running Club meets every Thursday evening with donations benefiting local charities. “This month our club is helping Gatekeepers which is a student-led organization at Jefferson and St. Johns that focuses on raising mental health awareness and suicide prevention” said club founder Mandy Weimerskirch. “So far we’ve raised over $2000 this month to help this great program.” The Running Club meets in front of the Rustic at 7:30 p.m. and welcomes new runners and walkers every week.