The Cross Country team at Woodbridge High School holding a banner and trophy

The U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), named Woodbridge High School’s Kelly McGreal Virginia’s Outstanding High School Cross Country Coach of 2023. McGreal was recognized for her exceptional contributions to the Woodbridge High cross-country team. Specifically, the team’s performance, including their scores and placements at state championships, margins of victory, and comparison against rankings. Special attention was given to those who led their teams to historic victories, such as first-time titles or consecutive championships.

Since taking the helm in 2011, McGreal’s dedication and innovative coaching strategies have culminated in a triumphant season, with her team clinching district, regional, and state titles.

Reflecting on her journey, McGreal shared, “I’ve always been drawn to coaching, finding ways to stay involved wherever life took us. My coaching journey at Woodbridge began in 2010, and it has been a fulfilling path filled with growth, both for me and the athletes I’ve had the privilege to guide.”

“It is great training under Coach McGreal. She always makes sure she's tailoring her training to each athlete's specific needs,” acknowledged Woodbridge athlete, Hayden.  “Some things I have learned being a [Woodbridge cross-country] athlete is that consistency really is key to everything, and that success cannot be achieved overnight and that there are no short cuts. You have to work hard and put in the effort to be successful.”

Her coaching philosophy centers around the love for all things track and the commitment to nurturing strong, confident young adults through high school athletics. This year’s success, she believes, was a direct result of the team’s unwavering commitment to the training plan and each other.

“The most rewarding aspect of coaching is witnessing the personal and athletic growth of the athletes. It’s about guiding them to find success on their own terms, through hard work and dedication,” said McGreal, emphasizing the transformative power of sports.

The honor of being named a state coach of the year by the USTFCCCA is not just a personal accolade for McGreal but a testament to the collective effort and belief of her team. “This recognition validates the countless hours of behind-the-scenes work and the shared commitment to excellence between the coaches and athletes,” she remarked.

Her assistant coach, Andrew McCarthy, also praised McGreal’s impact, highlighting her meticulous approach to training and her ability to adapt strategies to meet individual athletes’ needs. “Kelly’s ability to foster trust and responsibility among her athletes sets her apart. She encourages them to take ownership of their training, leading to remarkable achievements on and off the field,” McCarthy stated.

As the USTFCCCA prepares to select the National High School Cross Country Coaches of the Year, the community of Woodbridge and beyond celebrates the remarkable achievements of Coach McGreal and her athletes. Through dedication, innovation, and a profound love for the sport, they have not only achieved state titles but have also built a legacy of excellence and camaraderie that will inspire future generations.