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Kansan comes home to coach cross country at Bethel

January 7th, 2022

Kameron Blanding

Bethel athletics announces the appointment of Kameron Blanding as the next head coach of Thresher men’s and women’s cross country and as assistant track and field coach.
“We are very fortunate to have Coach Blanding join our Bethel team,” said Athletic Director Tony Hoops. “His coaching strengths fill immediate needs within our programs.

“He brings a tremendous work ethic instilled within him by his amazing family. I know he and [Head Track] Coach [Mark] Nelson will do great things as they build this program together.”
Blanding comes to Bethel from Central Maine Community College, Auburn, where he spent the last six months as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross-country and track and field programs.

He has also spent time coaching at Montreat (N.C.) College, Holy Family College, Manitowoc, Wis., Northwest Kansas Technical College in Goodland and Central Christian College of Kansas in McPherson.
“I want to give a huge thank-you to Coach Nelson and Tony Hoops for blessing me with the opportunity to be Bethel’s next head cross-country coach,” Blanding said. “I’m excited to try and take this program to the next level.”
While at Montreat, Blanding led the Cavaliers to two Appalachian Athletic Conference championships, one in indoor and one in outdoor track. At Central Christian, he coached the #3 ranked NAIA men’s track and field team in the country. 
Blanding has coached more than 100 National Meet qualifiers, 19 All-Americans, and an individual National Champion in the 2019 NJCAA half-marathon, during his short coaching career.
“I am very excited to welcome Kameron to the Thresher coaching staff,” Nelson said. “He is a great recruiter and coach.

“I know that we share a vision of where this program should be – with Kameron’s help, we can get there.”
Blanding will work directly with Nelson, who will oversee the direction of both programs while focusing his recruiting and coaching efforts on track and field, while Blanding directs his recruiting to cross country while helping with track and field. 
“I have known about Coach Nelson and his successes for some time from his stint at Central Methodist University,” Blanding said.

“I have also heard of and seen the amazing work AD Hoops has done since he took the reins of Bethel Athletics. Knowing that I get to work alongside them is exciting and motivating.”
Blanding competed at both Ottawa (Kan.) University and Central Christian, graduating from Central Christian in 2017 with a B.S. in exercise science. He is also a graduate of Pike Valley High School, Scandia, Kan., where he was a member of two Kansas 1A Cross-Country State Team Championship teams and one Team Runner-up.
“I’m a Kansas kid and now I’m home, for good!” he said.
Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel ranks at #15 in the Washington Monthly list of “Best Bachelor’s Colleges” and #31 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest, both for 2021-22. Bethel was the only Kansas college or university selected for the American Association of College & Universities’ 2021 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation, and has been named a TRHT Campus Center. For more information, see

In athletics, Bethel competes within the 13-school Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, and the NAIA. For more information, see

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.