Matt Ingebritsen and Artie Gulden will continue to lead Utah State’s track and field and cross-country programs on a permanent basis, it was announced Tuesday by USU Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell.
“We are really excited to name both Matt and Artie as head coaches with Matt becoming our director of track and field and cross-country, as well as our head track and field coach, and Artie becoming our head cross-country coach,” Hartwell said. “The job that those guys have done, along with the rest of our staff, since early September when they took over on an interim basis, has been tremendous.
“Not only from the results standpoint, but also the leadership that they have shown and the confidence level of our student-athletes in the direction of the program made it a no-brainer to remove the interim tags.”
Following the conclusion of the indoor track and field season, Utah State’s men's track and field/cross-country program found itself ranked No. 13 in the Program of the Year standings by the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
The Aggies picked up eight points at the 2018 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships last week to place tied for 29th. Overall, it was the best team finish since 1977, when USU took 21st. USU earned four points from the senior-laden, fifth-place distance medley relay team made up of Jordan Beutler, Brady Martin, Clay Lambourne and Dillon Maggard. That group set a school record with a time of 9:32.31. Furthermore, Maggard earned four more points after his fifth-place finish in the 3,000-meter race with a time of 8:06.69.
Both the men’s and women’s cross-country teams are coming off their best seasons in program history.
Making their first appearances in school history at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships, the Utah State women placed 14th with 395 points in the 6-kilometer race at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer State Park in Louisville, Kentucky. On the men’s side, the Aggies, despite having three runners go down early in the 10k race, took 27th with 603 points.
Junior Alyssa Snyder led the way for the Aggie women, as she placed 25th with a time of 20:03.39 to earn All-American honors. She became just the second Utah State runner on the women’s side to garner All-American honors, joining Alissa Nicodemus, who placed 14th at the 1992 national championships.
As for the men, Maggard capped his stellar cross-country career by placing sixth with a personal-best 10k time of 29:16.20 to earn All-American accolades (given to the top-40 finishers). He is the first two-time All-American in Utah State cross-country history, as he placed 12th with a time of 30:03.09 at the 2016 national championships, which were held in Terre Haute, Indiana.
“As we went into the process last fall, we hoped it would work out with Matt and Artie,” Hartwell said. “I knew they were good people, and I thought it would work, but had to leave the opportunity there to do a national search this spring if needed. But, as we looked at all facets of the program, the results and satisfaction of our student-athletes and how that staff interacted with our administration, it really is a no-brainer to lift those interim tags and welcome them as our permanent head coaches.”
Hartwell, along with Deputy Athletics Director/SWA Jana Doggett, informed both Ingebritsen and Gulden of the decision to make them permanent head coaches on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a huge relief and I am really excited about this,” Ingebritsen said. “I have kind of wanted to be a head coach for the last few years and had been thinking about ways I could do that. Getting to become the assistant head coach here was neat, and when I took over as interim, it definitely was a fun challenge to do that, but now that it is official and I don’t have to think about it anymore, it is a massive relief. I am going to sleep a lot better, but I am also really excited to take over this program officially. I want to try to push us to a really cool and different level of competition, and I want everybody to be excited about track and field. That is my main goal.”
Gulden is following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a head coach. His dad, Art Gulden, was the head coach of Bucknell’s track and field/cross-country programs for 31 years.
“It’s quite an honor,” Gulden said. “I’ve dreamed about doing something like this and being a head coach since I was very young. To have the opportunity is an honor and very exciting. I don’t think Matt and I have thought too much about it because we have been focused on trying to take care of the teams and get them to perform well, which they have. It is a little bit of a surprise that this happened now, but it truly is an honor.
“I am very thankful to John and Jana for giving me this opportunity. Since Matt and I have taken over the programs as acting head coaches and then interim head coaches, they have been really great to work with and have been very supportive. Jana has traveled with us to a number of meets, and they both have been a great support to us, so I am very thankful to them for giving us this opportunity. We will work hard to not let them down.”
Ingebritsen is in his 14th year at Utah State. His main responsibility during that time span has been working with the throwers. He has coached 13 individual conference champions, including All-Americans Sindri Gudmundsson, Maci Bingham, Krista Larson and Lindsey Spencer.
At the 2018 Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships, junior Brenn Flint set the school’s indoor shot put record for the fifth time this season, as she won the event with a throw of 16.70m.
In 2017, two of Ingebritsen’s throwers captured gold at the MW Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Gudmundsson (javelin) and David Hirschmann (shot put). Gudmundsson’s then-school record throw of 77.19 meters (253-3) shattered the all-time MW record and the Ralph Maughan Track Stadium record in that event.
Under Ingebritsen’s tutelage, Gudmundsson went on to place sixth in the finals of the men’s javelin at the 2017 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Finals in Eugene, Oregon. By finishing in the top eight of the event, the native of Kopavogur, Iceland, earned first-team All-American honors, becoming the first Aggie javelin thrower to earn All-American honors in 28 years.
Ingebritsen is married to the former Abbey Elsberry.
“I really want to thank John and Jana for taking a chance on me and feeling like I am the right guy for this program,” Ingebritsen said. “It is a big honor to take over at Utah State. I have been here a long time, and they may have just kept me around for a really long time. I do want to thank John and Jana immensely because if it weren’t for them taking a chance on me and believing what we can do and what I can do, then I wouldn’t be here, so I am very appreciative of that, and to Utah State in general. They have given me a lot over the years.”
Gulden is in his third year at Utah State. His main responsibility during that time span has been working with the distance runners. Since joining the Aggies’ staff, Gulden has coached two cross-country All-Americans in Maggard and Snyder.
At the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Regionals, which were held in Logan, four Aggies garnered all-region accolades by placing in the top 25. Maggard was the lone representative on the men’s side, while Snyder, senior Tylee Newman-Skinner and junior Kashley Carter were recognized on the women’s side.
That foursome earned all-Mountain West honors at the 2017 Mountain West Championships as well.
Maggard recorded the best finish for an Aggie at the meet as he placed third overall in the men’s 8-kilometer race, finishing in 23:54.45. His third-place finish, good for first-team all-MW honors, is the highest for USU since it joined the MW, topping his fourth-place finish in 2016.
On the women’s side, Snyder picked up first-team all-MW honors with a sixth-place finish, completing the 6-kilometer run in 20:55.40. Skinner and Carter each earned second-team all-league accolades as they finished in 10th and 13th place with times of 21:19.67 and 21:22.02, respectively.
For Carter, it was her third cross-country all-conference honor, having been on the first team last year and the second team as a freshman.
Overall, the four all-conference honors are the most for Utah State in a single season since joining the Mountain West.
Gulden and his wife, Andrea, have one son, AJ (14), and two daughters, Allie (12) and Anna (nine).