Former Liberty standout Isaac Wendland is returning to the Flames as an assistant track & field/cross country coach. In his role, he will primarily work with the men's distance runners.
"We are very pleased that God has led Isaac to join our staff at Liberty," stated Liberty Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Brant Tolsma. "He has a deep understanding of our unique mission and his life's calling lines up perfectly with the mission of Liberty track and field, ‘to develop highly competitive teams of individuals who represent Jesus Christ in athletics and in daily life.'"
Since graduating from Liberty in 2013, Wendland has gained experience coaching high school runners in the Lynchburg area. For the last five seasons (2014-18), Wendland worked as an assistant coach for the Jefferson Forest boys' and girls' cross country teams.
The Jefferson Forest girls' squad placed inside the top seven at the VHSL state meet every season Wendland was on staff. Meanwhile, the boys' team placed fifth at the 2018 VHSL Class 4A state meet, recording the highest finish in school history.
Wendland began his coaching career at Liberty Christian Academy during the 2013-14 school year, working as an assistant cross country coach and the track & field team's distance coach.
"Isaac is a high-energy, high-enthusiasm type of coach and we look forward to watching the ways that God will use him to impact our distance program," Tolsma added. "His desire to remain at Liberty for the long haul is something that we believe will provide the stability that will help Liberty distance continue to progress to the elite level."
Wendland's stellar senior track & field season at Liberty in 2013 took him all the way to the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the men's 1,500. That spring, he also won the IC4A men's 1,500 title and swept the Big South men's 800 and 1,500 crowns. Wendland was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team for the second time in his career (also 2010).
Wendland ranks among Liberty's all-time top five performers for three different events, including the outdoor 1,500 (No. 2, 3:43.91), indoor 1,000 (No. 3, 2:24.74) and outdoor 800 (No. 5, 1:50.22). He was a seven-time All-Big South performer on the track during his career.
In cross country, Wendland played a key role on Liberty's 2011 Big South championship team. He stepped up for an 11th-place finish with an 8K personal-best time of 25:09 at the event.
A native of Charles City, Iowa, Wendland was one of the most decorated runners in Iowa high school history. The Lighthouse Academy graduate became the first male to win the Iowa state 1,600-meter title four years in a row. He also claimed three state 800 crowns, three state sprint medley relay championships and a trio of state cross country titles. As a result, Wendland was inducted into the Iowa Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2018.
Wendland graduated from Liberty in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in pastoral leadership. He served as youth pastor at Brookhill Church in Forest, Va., from 2012-18.
Wendland will make his coaching debut at Liberty in two weeks. The Flames and Lady Flames are slated to begin their 2019 indoor track & field season at the Jan. 18-19 Hokie Invitational in Blacksburg, Va.
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