Chasing a Legend
When she isn’t teaching Shakespeare to seventh graders, Jessie Meyer Magoto is doing something almost as challenging—coaching junior high and high school girls’ cross country. Though both pursuits bring her great satisfaction, Magoto’s better known for running hard than teaching the Bard. Her teams have won six Ohio Division III state championships in seven years—five in cross country and one in track. All’s well that ends on the winner’s podium.
But Magoto defers credit for the Min-ster High School girls’ running program to the legend that came before her. Magoto, who ran for Xavier and graduated in 1997, says it was Katie Horstman, the high school’s first coach, who put Minster girls’ running on the map.
“She was my role model when I was growing up. I knew that’s what I always wanted to do, and when I ran, it wasn’t for myself but for her.” Horstman’s teams collected nine state championships, the last in 1987, but it wasn’t until Magoto became the coach in 1999 that the cross country team returned to glory. Her secret, she says, is emulating Horstman’s coaching style. “I coach like I was coached. I’m not as tough as Horstman, but I am demanding, and the girls are very disciplined. They don’t question that they want to be champions. I just do the best I can to get them there.”