Setting the bar high


Janessa Moore

New head coach Debby Gleason smiles in front of the high jump pit.

Janessa Moore, Writer

Former six time All American, three time NCAA D2 high jump champion and NCAA women’s athlete of the year. This is the history that comes with the new girls track and field coach. Debby Gleason will now be the head of the girls track and field team. Before this position, Gleason was one of the main coaches for the Owatonna Middle School Track team. She coached alongside her husband, who has also progressed from the middle school to their respective positions with the OHS Track team now. 

Gleason has a deep track background. In high school, she ran track mainly focusing on hurdles, triple jumps and sprint events. She continued her track career at Augustana University to compete in triple jump and high jump. During her senior year, she spent a considerable amount of time being a jump coach at Augustana. She has also been on the US Junior World Champion team and spent two summers with the US Olympic Track and Field team. With a long track career, Gleason has had many people who have driven this passion. The most impactful ones being her college coaches. Gleason said, “They always want you to keep doing your best and they always gave me the opportunity to compete with high level athletes no matter what it took. They would make sure the funds were always there to travel to nationals and compete at Olympic trials.” Gleason brings a lot of track experience into her coaching today. 

Gleason’s most noticeable change to the girls track team is integrating it with the boys track team. Both of these teams now have many of the same meets and frequently do drills in practice together. Senior captain Maddie Koslosky said, “Debby is really organized and you can tell she has a passion for the sport that motivates a lot of girls on the team.” While working with both the girls team and the boys high jumpers, she has the ability to affect many high school athletes. Gleason’s goals for this season are centered around the athletes’ growth throughout the season. Gleason said, “[The goal is] just building strong athletes, having kids believe in themselves, and finding what they’re best at.” The team’s next track meet is at home on May 3, 2022.