Once a Piper, always a Piper

Not many colleges can boast a coaching staff of all athlete alums, but naming Josh Blaschko as the new Men’s Head Track and Field Coach solidifies this impressive feat for Hamline.

Cathryn Salis, Reporter

An intense love for the sport that once drew Josh Blaschko to compete at Hamline is the same thing that brought him back to coach years later. As the new Head Men’s Track and Field coach as of July 2020, his passion for track is as strong as ever and he is doing his best to share that with his athletes despite the pandemic. 


Blaschko transferred to Hamline as a student in 2008 after three years at Iowa State University. He was offered the chance to compete in shot put and discus on the Hamline Track and Field team. Blaschko accepted and he earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors three times for shot put in the two years he competed. 


“I got a phone call from the throws coach…and without ever stepping foot on this campus, I told him I was coming because I was so excited to have the opportunity after three years of not competing to come back to the sport that I loved,” Blaschko said. 


Now a head coach, Blaschko has taken on the lead of the whole men’s track team. However, he still works closely with the throwers in practice and helps to foster the team environment there. “He pays really good attention to individual[s] and our dynamic as a whole and he cares about all of his athletes,” said first-year thrower Megan Greenfield.


Despite his attachment to throwing after having been the assistant throws coach for seven years, Blaschko finds himself becoming more involved in all aspects of men’s track and field.


“He’s a lot more visible to the whole group,” said Head Cross Country coach and Director of Track and Field Devin Monson. “He takes a lot more interest in every recruit than before where he was really focused on his throws recruits.”


Monson isn’t the only person who’s noticed Blascko’s increased presence. “Even though he might not look like it, he’s watching every single person,” said first-year track athlete Carter Kienholz. Blaschko’s attentiveness is a result of these new responsibilities over the whole men’s track program.  


One thing the track program does uniquely is having coaches collect schedules from the athletes before the semester and rather than asking the athletes to plan their academic schedule around practices for their sport, the practices are planned around the athlete’s schedules in order to support the players. 


“Academics are first. No matter what,” Blaschko said. “Our goal is to have a 3.0 GPA across the board for all sports in the department.”


Having been an athlete himself, Blaschko appreciates the time commitment the athletes put into their sport. “It’s like almost having a part time job…they have to put in a lot of time and they have to be very disciplined,” Blaschko said. “They’re not getting paid, they’re not getting any sort of scholarships to do that.”


With the considerable time commitment, and coursework to balance on top of that, Blaschko is very appreciative of his athletes. “I know that they’re here because they love the sport,” Blaschko said. 


At the end of the day, that’s why Blaschko, and all the track coaches, are coaching the sports  they are passionate about at the university they love. “I love the opportunity to compete and the culture here at Hamline and the community: The Hamline community,” Blaschko said. 

A hamline athelete winning first place in the shot put competition
Senior shot putter Joe Martin throws during a meet at the MIAC indoor championships last year. Hamline won seventh place in the February meet. Martin took
first in men’s shot put with a distance of 17.32m. Hamline students also placed first in both Women’s weight throw and women’s shot put.