Updated: Oct 9, 2022
It's time to give credit where credit it due.
Each week, Coaching Distance will shine the spotlight on an exceptional high school distance program. This week's featured team is Nova Classical Academy out of St. Paul, Minnesota.
NOVA CLASSICAL ACADEMY
Minnesota Class A
Head Coach Boys & Girls Cross Country
Assistant Coach Boys & Girls Track
ABOUT COACH BARKER
Dennis has been the coach at Nova Classical Academy since the program's inception in 2014.
Barker boasts one of the best coaching resumes in the country. In 15 years. coaching professionally with Team USA Minnesota, Barker produced 24 U.S. National Champions, including an Olympian.
Athletes Barker coached qualified for 30 U.S. national teams and competed in World Championships in Cross Country, Indoor Track, Outdoor Track and on the Road,. His runners achieved 73 top three finishes in U.S. Championships.
From 1994-2014 as head coach of cross country and track & field of Augsburg College, Barker's teams achieved 164 All-MIAC performances, including 59 MIAC Champions, 54 NCAA Division III National Championship qualifiers & 17 All-Americans.
When asked what he enjoys most about coaching, Coach Barker replied, "Helping kids discover self & self confidence through running."
The first year of the program was 2014 & since then, have had 26 teams/relays/individuals qualify for State Championships, 13 All-State performances & 4 State Champions in cross country & track & field.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
2020 & 2021 State Champions
4-time defending Section Champions
6-time defending Conference Champions
2nd straight year undefeated among Class A schools.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
3-time defending Conference Champions
2020 Section Runner-Up
BOYS TRACK & FIELD
State Runner-up in the 4x800 relay
3 State Qualifiers 800, 1600, 3200
Coach Barker's Favorite Workout & Sample Weeks
4x1200m @ Race Effort with 3 minutes recovery.
Monday or Tuesday: Hard Workout
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Easy or Off
Track & Field
Training weeks during Track & Field vary a lot depending on Tuesday or Thursday meet schedule, but he will usually one hard workout & long run each the week in addition to the race.