Cross Country Coaches

Pat Belling

Patrick Belling

Head Cross Country/Track and Field Coach
The University of South Dakota ’03
The University of South Dakota ’06


For the past eight years, Pat Belling has done whatever it takes to help his athletes improve and succeed. From spending hours at the track or in the gym, following runners around Mitchell or driving to Sioux Falls for workouts, Belling gives his athletes the opportunities they need. Because of this, the Dakota Wesleyan University cross country and track and field programs have experienced numerous individual successes.

Belling, who enters his ninth season as the head coach of both the cross country and track programs, helped several athletes make history in 2014. Sophomore Nicole Court-Menendez continued to leave her mark on the DWU history books by earning two more All-American honors in 2014 to bring her two-year total to four. She is the second in Tiger athletic history – track and field or otherwise – to earn four or more All-American honors in a career. She set the school record in the outdoor 5,000-meter race walk in 27:08.6, and took eighth at the NAIA Outdoor National Championships as well as the 3,000 race walk at the indoor national championships.

Court-Menendez is the first female athlete to earn multiple All-American honors at the indoor national championships, to be named All-American at more than one outdoor national championship and the first female in DWU history to be named All-American at both the indoor and outdoor national championships. She was named the GPAC Athlete-of-the-Week in April after qualifying for nationals, setting the school record and recording a top-five time in the NAIA in the 5,000-meter race walk.

As well as Court-Menendez’s record, Belling also guided several other individuals to school records and top marks in Tiger track history. Junior Jessie Fossum set the record in both the outdoor heptathlon and the indoor pentathlon in 2014. She scored 3,048 points in the pentathlon and 3,700 points in the heptathlon. Freshman Ariana Arampatzis set the record in the indoor pole vault with a mark of 10-feet.

In the outdoor season, the Tiger women recorded top-10 times in school history in 10 events to go along with the two new records. In the indoor season, the women recorded 18 times in the top 10 in DWU history, along with two records. Sophomore Skylar Forgey earned All-GPAC honors after taking eighth in the 1,000-meter run at the league’s indoor championships. Her time of 3:11.18 is the second-best time in Tiger track history. Forgey finished the year with five times in the top 10 in DWU history.

The Dakota Wesleyan men finished the 2014 indoor season with three marks in the top 10 in school history, including Paul Apenhorst, who ran the second-fastest 60-meter hurdle time in Tiger track history in 8.54 seconds. The Tiger men also had one top-10 mark in the outdoor season.

Freshman Kellan Willet and sophomore Hailey Brunke both finished in the top 35 to lead the Tigers at the GPAC Cross Country Championships in November. DWU had three athletes in the top 25 at the Herb Blakely Invite, hosted by Dakota State University, in September.

In seven seasons at Dakota Wesleyan, Belling has coached seven All-Americans, 57 NAIA national meet qualifiers, 65 All-GPAC Selections, 20 NAIA Scholar-Athletes and four GPAC Athletes-of-the-Week.

Belling came to DWU after three seasons as the track and field graduate assistant coach at the University of South Dakota. He worked with the sprinters and was part of the Coyote outdoor squad that finished fourth in the nation, the second-best outdoor finish in school history.

Belling, an Omaha, Neb., native, was a three-time NCAA All-American sprinter at USD and a member of NCC Championship teams. He was a member of the 4×400-meter relay squad that finished sixth at the 2002 NCAA Division II Outdoor National Championships. Belling was also a member of the 4×100-meter relay team that set a state record with a time of 40.80 in 2001-02.

He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education from USD in December 2003 and completed his Master of Arts degree in athletic administration from USD in May 2006.

A graduate of Omaha Roncalli Catholic High School, Belling was a Nebraska Class “B” State Champion in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and 400-meter dash at the 1999 Nebraska State Track Meet. His time of 21.92 won the 200-meter dash All-Class Gold Medal that year, and his time of 10.79 in the 100-meter dash set a new Class “B” state meet record.

Belling currently lives in Mitchell.

Eric Larson

Eric Larson

Graduate Assistant Cross Country/Track and Field Coach
Baker University  ’13

Eric Larson begins his second season as the graduate assistant coach for the Dakota Wesleyan University cross country and track and field teams in the fall of 2014.

Larson, who completed his undergraduate degree at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., was a part of history in 2014 as distance athlete Nicole Court-Menendez became just the second athlete in Tiger history – regardless of sports – to earn four or more All-American awards. She took eighth in the race walk at both the indoor and outdoor national championships.

Larson, who graduated in August 2013 with a bachelor’s of science in exercise science, ran cross country and track at Baker. He was named his team’s most improved and most inspirational in his career, and he is part of the school record indoor 3,200-meter relay and outdoor 3,200, distance and 4X1-mile relay teams.

The Overland Park, Kan., native competed at the NAIA Cross Country National Championships in 2011 and 2012 and helped his team to a 25th-place finish in 2011 and a 10th-place finish in 2012. He also competed on the Baker distance medley relay team that took 14th at the 2013 NAIA Indoor Track and Field National Championships.

During summers throughout college, Larson coached the Blue Valley West High School cross country team. He attended high school at Blue Valley, and is part of the school record-holding 3,200-meter relay team.

Larson is pursuing his masters in educational policy and administration at Dakota Wesleyan.


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