LEWISTON —  Lewiston High School cross country team will have youth and experience not only on the trails, but in their coaches.

William K. “Kim” Wettlaufer, a 1980 Bates graduate who was an All-American with the Bobcats in both cross country and outdoor track and field, is half the new regime.

Wettlaufer also coached cross country at Bates from 1995 to 1997. His first coaching gig was coaching was coaching the Lewiston cross country team from 1986 through 1994.

His co-coach this season is also a Bates product, Rebecca Dugan, who graduated in 2012. She ran cross country for the school along with indoor and outdoor track.

The position opened up when T.J. Niles resigned in the spring after leading the boys to the Class A state championship and eighth at the New England meet.

“When T.J. resigned last spring, the opportunity afforded itself, and I am in the position in my life where I could do it,” Wettlaufer said.

He left coaching on his business ventures. Wettlaufer owns multiple Subway restaurants in the area.

Wettlaufer also is executive director of Trinity Jubilee Center in downtown Lewiston.

Dugan, who works with a non-profit organization called Lots to Gardens, met Wettlaufer when their two organizations partnered up.

“I had known he was a very accomplished runner at Bates and had known he was involved in the community,” Dugan said. “When I heard he was coaching, that was also an extra motivation to get involved.”

Dugan has coached at the youth levels in the past, but this is her first coaching job at the high school level.

“I definitely had the interest (of coaching). I love working with kids, and cross country is something that I love as well,” Duggan said. “It’s definitely a good mix.”

Working downtown has helped both coaches develop relationships with many athletes.

“Through our work there, we sort of build up a rapport with some of the families throughout the years,” Wettlaufer said.

Dugan has helped some of the kids in the cross country program in the past.

“I do know lot of these kids. They have gone through our job training program or volunteered with us,” Dugan said. “With any kid involved that comes through our program, it’s nice to have a familiar face that you know someone you can talk to about running, family things, or whatever.”

Being an younger coach, Dugan hopes she rely on her recent experience going through high school, whether it’s on the academic or athletic side, to help the athletes.

Dugan and Wettlaufer inherit a program that has seen 40-plus kids turn out for the first two weeks of practice. Longtime assistant John Sinclair, who is also helping out with the program, believes that is a record for the school.

Wettlaufer chalks that up to his predecessor.

“With the state championship last year, I think T.J. created an atmosphere where it’s cool to go out for cross country,” he said.

In his first go-round as coach at Lewiston, Wettlaufer said he had a handful of boys on the teams and a good number of girls, but that number dwindled once soccer became popular among the girls.

With the big number of kids on this year’s squad, runners are at different stages of their running development. Wettlaufer hopes everyone can hit their goals.

“It seems like everybody wants to try it,” Wettlaufer said. “Whether they are incredibly serious, and we have many that are, or just doing it to achieve personal goals. That’s what Rebecca and I will stress, that everyone will get something out of it.”

“That’s one of the most rewarding things about cross country is that you really do get out of it what you put into it,” Dugan said. “Whether you are a superstar on the team or just starting out, it’s something you can continually progress, see those results and be proud of yourself for what you done.”

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