Head Cross-Country Coach
Head Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach Matt Koenigs joined the staff at Trinity Lutheran College in August of 2012. In his two seasons, the Cross-Country program has enjoyed considerable growth. In its 2011 inaugural season, Cross-Country had just two participants. Koenigs inherited the program at the start of the 2012 season with just 5 athletes to suit up – all men.
Koenigs holds a reputation as a successful program builder, and he has only just begun the process with his Trinity squads. During his eight years as head coach at Everett Community College (EvCC), Koenigs took over a team whose roster, when hired in 2006, consisted of no women and two men, and he began methodically building an elite cross country team.
Today, that EvCC squad is annually among the best in the nation at the junior college level. The EvCC women have won three of the last five NWAACC Cross-Country Championships, while the men have won two of the last three. EvCC, which joined the NWAACC in 1970, had not won an NWAACC title in any sport in the 37 years prior to Koenigs’ joining the staff. Now, with his Eagles’ squads he has begun repeat the process of developing a top tier distance running and track & field program.
“We have success at Everett Community College because of our focus on work ethic and on fostering an environment that celebrates improvement and athletic development – anyone can recruit a talented team, but we want runners who are committed to developing not just as athletes, but also as people and students,” said Koenigs.
“We created a culture at Everett where everyone understands that their best effort is required in every endeavor that they undertake and that by applying their best effort they can achieve more from themselves than they have before. Our aim is to teach our athletes that this approach will work for them in every area of their lives. As a coach, it is critical that I model this approach and that my staff does the same - that is a key to our success and is the reason that these programs at Trinity are going to be very good in a short amount of time,” Koenigs said.
It is this approach that has resulted in Koenigs’ being named NWAACC Coach of the Year five different times. He has also yielded 68 All-American performances and nine individual NWAACC Champions.
Less than two years into the growth process, the Eagles’ Cross-Country program has taken considerable strides. The team has sent two men to the NCCAA National Cross-Country Championships in each of his first two years. In 2012, Lloyd Byram placed 98th and Brandon Jenkins 151st at the NCCAA National Championships.
In 2013, Johnny Bywater and Camerson Siler placed 52nd and 86th at the National meet. The men’s team, which only scored as a team in one meet in 2012, with a larger roster fielded a scoring team in every meet in 2013 up to the NCCAA Championships. Meanwhile, after a 2012 season with no women on the team, the 2013 Trinity Women’s Cross-Country team fielded a scoring team and took huge steps in the direction of Coach Koenigs’ ambitious vision for the program.
Koenigs attended the University of Washington School of Law and passed the Washington State Bar Exam before setting aside a career in law to focus on pursuing his passion for athletics. Today, Koenigs also serves as Trinity’s Director of Athletics and is overseeing the expansion of the department to include additional collegiate sports – which includes the new Track and Field program that will begin competition in the 2014 outdoor season. As a collegiate athlete, he competed in both Cross-Country and Track at Western Washington University and also enjoyed a highly successful career at Marysville-Pilchuck High School where he was named to the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments on the Swimming, Cross-Country, and Track and Field Teams - he participated at the State Championship in all three sports.
Today, Koenigs is enjoying a career as an elite amateur triathlete and multisport athlete. In 2013, he earned a silver medal in his 30-34 age bracket at the 2013 ITU World Aquathlon Championship (1k swim/5k run) held in London where he was also seventh in his age group and the fourth fastest American overall in the Sprint Triathlon. His 15:36 5k run split at the conclusion of his Triathlon at the World Championship was the second fastest on the day among the 1844 competitors regardless of age group or Nationality. He credits his coach, Barry Magee, for his run-split performance.
“Before I started working with Barry, it was questionable whether I could run 15:36 fresh, let alone at the end of a triathlon. I owe him a debt of gratitude and hope to take the lessons I’ve learned from him to fine tune what I am doing with my athletes,” Koenigs said.
For the past two years, Koenigs has also finished the season as the US #1 overall ranked Aquathlon athlete and has earned All-American Honors from USAT in the event. 2013 also marked the first year that Koenigs has earned All-American honors in the Triathlon.
Koenigs resides in Snohomish with his wife of 11 years, Leanne, and their two children, Chase and Brooklyn. They attend Gold Creek Church in Mill Creek. On weekends, he and his family enjoy hosting the distance squads for long runs and pancake breakfasts from their home. You’ll often see him with his teams running the trails in the neighborhoods south of Glacier Peak High School.
Assistant Cross-Country Coach
Mitchell Elias joined the Eagle distance running program in 2012 as an Assistant Coach for Cross Country and Track & Field. He has coached alongside Head Coach Matt Koenigs since joining his staff at Everett Community College in 2011. He was hired immediately after Koenigs to join the staff at Trinity and he has been a huge part of the program. He played a pivotal role mentoring Lloyd Byram and Brandon Jenkins, who competed that first season at the NCCAA National Championship XC Meet in Cedarville, Ohio.
Elias originally joined the EvCC program as a student-athlete in 2007, where he was elected team captain. He participated in the college's inaugural track season and earned All-American honors in the steeplechase at the NWAACC Championship. His time at EvCC was an historic one for the distance running program. His 2007 XC team finished a surprising second overall to earn a podium position for the first time since 1982. That began a streak of podium finishes for the Trojans that now stands at a school record seven straight years. In 2008, his men’s team placed second and he placed fourteenth overall at the NWAACC XC Championship.
After competing for two years at EvCC, he accepted a scholarship offer to compete for the University of Great Falls in Montana. At UGF, Elias was one of the first athletes to represent the school at the NAIA Indoor National Championship and was selected by his peers to represent them as their captain for both Cross-Country and Track and Field. Elias concluded his collegiate eligibility at Great Falls before returning to the Northwest to finish his undergraduate work at Western Washington University, where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in English with a focus on Creative Writing. His collegiate career saw him post personal records in the 3,000m steeplechase of 9:47.41 and in XC with an 8k time of 26:03.
Elias and his wife Tiffany live in Everett with their one-year old son David. In the spring, Elias splits his time between coaching the Trinity and the Mariner High School Track & Field programs.
Assistant Cross-Country Coach
Coach Tiffany Elias earned a Master of Science in Organizational Management from the University of Great Falls in May of 2012 and a B.S. in Health and Human Performance from the University of Great Falls in May of 2010.
Prior to coaching at Trinity, Elias was on staff at Lane Community College (2006-2008) where she helped coach sixteen All Americans, including Jordan McNamara who went on to compete for the University of Oregon and is now competing professionally for Nike’s Oregon Track Club Elite. In 2010, Elias began coaching for the University of Great Falls, and in that year they sent 6 athletes to the NAIA National Championship in Cross Country and Track & Field. In 2011, Elias and her husband Mitchell moved to Everett and they both joined the coaching staff at Everett Community College. In 2011, EVCC walked away with the men’s and the women’s team championship trophies. In 2012, EVCC produced five All- Americans on the track including one NWAACC Champion in the women’s 800 meter run. In 2012, Elias helped to coach the women of EVCC to their second straight NWAACC title with a score of 21 points and five female All – Americans. On the Men’s side, EVCC placed third overall and produced one individual All - American.
As an athlete herself, Elias competed at Lane Community College from 2004-2006 where she was team captain of the 2005 NWAACC Champion Women’s Cross Country team. She also received individual all- conference honors on the track in the 800, 1500, and 3000 meter steeplechase. After a two year coaching stint at Lane Community College (2006-2008), Elias moved on to compete at the University of Great Falls from 2008-2010. In her time at UGF, Elias competed at the 2009 NAIA National Championship in Cross Country. In 2010 she ran in the 10,000 meters at the NAIA National Outdoor Track & Field Championship.
Elias is also an Admissions Counselor at Trinity.
Elias is enthusiastic about working with the Trinity cross country program in its infancy, and she hopes to help establish a successful program that encourages student - athletes to be successful in the classroom and in athletics.