The Animal Keepers tells the true story of the Stevens Point High School cross country team and their unforgettable journey through the 1985 season. Joined by first year runner Scott "The Animal" Longley the year takes an unexpected turn as this most unlikely hero leads them on a quest for a state title.
There was little to suggest that the new kid from the special education classroom was a runner when he showed up on the first day of practice, but Scott was determined to try. Somehow he had come to believe that if he worked hard enough he could earn a spot on one of the most successful cross country teams in the state of Wisconsin. Surrounded by a group of serious and dedicated runners "The Animal" set out to prove his case. Driven by his incredible enthusiasm and never ending optimism the '85 season became a voyage of discovery for Scott, his coach, and his teammates as they worked to assemble a competitive team from a jumble of spare parts.
Told from the perspective of a young coach this is a book about running, competing, and team building, but at its center this is the story of a young man with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities who loved to run, loved to compete, and most of all loved being part of a team.
|Publisher:||KCI Sports Publishing|
|File size:||408 KB|
About the Author
Donn Behnke grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and attended Marshall High School where under the guidance of coach Leo Potochnik he developed a passion for distance running. He competed in cross country and track at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point where he earned degrees in history, geography, and a master's in education. Donn taught high school and junior high social studies in the Stevens Point School District for 31 years before retiring in 2010. He remains the head cross country coach at Stevens Point Area Senior High where in 38 seasons his teams have appeared in 36 Wisconsin state meets and earned ten state titles. This record ties the program for the most state titles in the modern era of Wisconsin high school cross country. Donn has been named Wisconsin Cross Country Coach of the Year on nine occasions and in 2001 the National High School Coaches Association awarded him National Coach of the Year honors. He has coached six individual state champions. Two of them, Keith Hanson and Chris Solinsky, went on to become NCAA Division I national champions. More than any of these accomplishments, Donn enjoys helping runners of all ability levels grow, improve, and fall in love with the sport of cross country. While he is a well established story teller, this is Donn's first attempt at writing something longer than a grocery list.