Coaching state-bound athletes


Brighton Mooney with her Coach, Mindy Yeatman.

Ashwin Padmanabhan

When an athlete makes a lasting accomplishment for their sport, oftentimes all the credit goes to the athlete. Here at Independence high school (IHS), one cross country coach and runner have equally contributed to the success of the cross country program and the representation of IHS at the state competition. 

Independence senior Brighton Mooney competed at the state cross country meet and placed fourth out of all the girls. We interviewed Mooney a few months ago when she initially broke her school record, but she had a lot more to say regarding her progress and her journey to state.

“It was a surreal feeling being there at the last meet of my senior season at state,” said Mooney. “I wasn’t nervous about competing, even last year. I knew if I ran my hardest I’d be proud of myself.”

Mooney competing at the state meet

Girls varsity cross country coach Mindy Yeatman discusses the importance of a connection between a coach and a team.

“It is very important to form a relationship because a huge part of cross country is getting feedback from athletes.” said Yeatman, “The more communication we have the better the relationship between the coach and athlete which builds trust.”

Yeatman has been running for a long time and dedicates a lot of her growth as an athlete and coach to some special people.

“My love for running came from my dad. It has always been our thing that we love to do together,” said Yeatman. “I also had two great mentors in college. Coach Kennedy and Coach McNeese are two people who have taught me the logistical and technical aspects of coaching.”

Mooney prides a lot of her cross country success to her coaching staff and her supporters that constantly cheer her on. 

“She’s been the best coach I could ask for, she is always there for me asking questions and how I feel after the workouts,” said Mooney. “She even made me a Knights shirt that has a picture of me on it. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.”

As the cross country season has come to an end, Yeatman and Mooney are both preparing for the soccer season in their own ways. Mooney and the soccer team play their first game of the season next year.

“I really have a great respect for Brighton because it’s very easy for someone to make it all about themselves and she is very much about the team,” said Yeatman.