Yasko's running career at Baldwin made huge impact
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Keystone Oaks cross country coach Kaitlin Yasko admits balancing classwork, coaching and an active running schedule is time consuming, but the Baldwin alum wouldn't have it any other way.
In her second year as the Golden Eagles' varsity head coach, Yasko loves fostering relationships with students outside of the classroom.
“It's very busy because you want to be the best teacher that you can possibly be, but that requires a lot of time outside of the classroom,” Yasko said. “The two are connected because I make such great relationships with kids in the classroom because a lot of them I have coached.
“They have a different level of respect for you. That's really what I love.”
Yasko ran cross country and track for Baldwin before competing collegiately at Duquesne University. It was at Duquesne that Yasko, a math and education major, started tutoring student-athletes in the athletic department.
“That was how I started working with students was tutoring,” she said.
Yasko is in her fifth year of teaching math at Keystone Oaks Middle School, where she also coaches middle school track.
She admits she still has a passion for running, which is the main reason she pursued a coaching career after graduating from college in 2008. Yasko volunteered at Mt. Lebanon and Baldwin before landing the position at Keystone Oaks in 2009.
“I did it because I still enjoy running,” she said. “I always knew I wanted to (coach), to hopefully give kids the same experience (I had).”
Her commitment to the sport started during her running days at Baldwin under the guidance of Pittsburgh Running Hall of Famer and Baldwin co-head cross country coach Rich Wright.
“My experience as an athlete at Baldwin was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Yasko said. “Running cross country and track made me who I am.”
Baldwin is a perennial power in track and cross country, hosting the preeminent high school track and field meet every year in the Baldwin Invitational.
Yasko thinks it's no surprise that Baldwin runners are leaving their footprints on the ever-growing Pittsburgh running community.
“(The Baldwin coaches) were just so wonderful and taught us so much I don't think it's a coincidence we all sort have gone out and been coaches ourselves,” Yasko said.
Yasko is one of four Baldwin High School grads who are coaching Western Pennsylvania runners.
The others are Jessie Von Bloch at Upper St. Clair's Fort Coach Middle School, Kelly Best at Peters Township High School, and Mallory Souleret at Carnegie Mellon University.
“We definitely still stay in touch. I'd love to say there's some competition, but there really isn't,” Yasko said. “We're all just so happy to see each other out there. We all definitely support each other.”
Best says the impact Yasko has on her runners is evident when she sees her interacting with them at local high school meets.
“I see her being very supportive with the kids,” said Best, who was Yasko's teammate for a year at Baldwin. “I know during practice she actually runs with them. I think she's doing a good job. She likes what she's doing, and the kids like her as a coach.”
Yasko still runs in several national and local events a year, including the Brentwood Firecracker 5K.
“I always run in the Brentwood Firecracker. You always see a lot of local (runners),” she said.
Yasko has no plans of slowing down any time soon.
In May, she will graduate from California (Pa.) University with a Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) master's degree, before finishing the academic year at Keystone Oaks. She is getting married in June.
“I've been a busy girl,” Yasko said. “It'll be a very busy spring.”
Justin Criado is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pilot in Atlantic Ocean crash lost consciousness, Coast Guard says
- Steelers opt for youth, speed while revamping roster
- Steelers finalize 53-man roster
- Pirates’ Polanco runs into rookie wall
- Pirates edge Reds, 3-2, for 4th consecutive victory
- Biertempfel: First base becoming new hot corner for Pirates
- Pitt cruises past Delaware in season opener
- Pitt notebook: Offensive linemen rotate during rout over Delaware
- 3 wrecks Saturday keep emergency responders busy
- Real American excellence
- Former Steelers linebacker Harrison retires