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"The most rewarding thing is seeing the results."

Natalie Bach-Prather was home-schooled while growing up in Marshall, Texas, where her only taste of running came from racing her dad. But now she is making up for lost time – all without leaving her hometown. After enrolling at nearby East Texas Baptist University, Bach-Prather befriended the cross country coach and joined the team. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history and English in 2008, then became a volunteer assistant coach. Soon, she was the women’s cross country head coach. Four years later, she took over the men’s team, as well. And in 2014, East Texas Baptist decided to revive its track and field program – and Bach-Prather agreed to coach both the men’s and women’s outdoor track and field teams, too, starting with just four students. This spring, that number had grown to 52, and now that Bach-Prather is a 27-year-old coach of four Division III teams, she wonders: Could indoor track and field be in East Texas Baptist’s future, too?

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Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.

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