Mike Lynch enters his fourth season with Bemidji State in 2021 and will focus on mid-distance/distance runners, including the cross country program.
Bemidji State's mid-distance/distance runners compiled three indoor program records and three outdoor program records during the 2020-21 season. Newcomer mid-distance runner Maryse Mbenoun highlighted the indoor track season with the NSIC title in the 600m run with a program-record time of 1:35.37. Mbenoun's title was the first for the program since Buerkle in 2011. Junior mid-distance runner Ryne Prigge earned her second career USTFCCCA All-Academic Team honor following the indoor season after provisionally qualifying nationally in the 800m run. She broke her own program record in the event with a time of 2:15.31 at the NSIC Indoor Championships, which ranked 16th in the nation. The Beavers placed five cross country student-athletes on the 2020 Fall NSIC All-Academic Team, including three named to the All-Academic Team of Excellence. Four mid-distance/distance student-athletes were named to both the Winter and Spring NSIC All-Academic Team, including one to the All-Academic Team of Excellence.
Lynch kept the Beavers on the move in 2019 as the cross country team competed in five events. Sophomore Ryne Prigge recorded the program's best finish at the NCAA Central Regional Championship since 2002 after crossing the finish with a 47th-place time of 22:48.81. Six Beavers ran 6K personal records during the NCAA Central Regional Championship. BSU took its highest finish of the season at the Disney Cross Country Classic, taking third among 12 teams. Prigge set the BSU program 5K record at the Disney Cross Country Classic with a time of 18:59.1 and the 6K program record at the Dragon Twilight with a time of 14:52.8. Beaver Cross Country earned the USTFCCCA All-Academic Team Award for the first time since the 2014 season.
In his first season with the cross country program, Lynch helped BSU earn its best individual finish at the 2018 NCAA Central Regional since 2015 as freshman Ryne Prigge took 103rd. Prigge also became the third Beaver student-athlete since 2015 to take a top-40 finish at the 2018 NSIC Cross Country Championship.
During the 2018-19 indoor track and field season, three mid-distance/distance program records were broken, including the 800m and 1000m run by Prigge. Prigge was also a part of the 4x1600m relay record team with Ashley Herdering, Kristen Petron and Allyna Storms, and took top 10 finishes in the 1000m run at the 2018-19 NSIC Indoor Championship and the 800m run at the 2019 NSIC Outdoor Championship. Prigge finished with the 21st-best time in the NCAA Central Region in the 800m run with a time of 2:16.77 at the North Dakota Indoor Tune-Up.
Lynch joined BSU after serving the past two seasons (2016-18) at Augustana University. He coached two individuals to their first NCAA Outdoor Championships appearances and played a part in helping the program to an NSIC Outdoor Championship in the 400-meter hurdles. Lynch also coached an individual to a school record in the 400-meter hurdles. During the indoor season, he coached a qualifier in the 800-meter run to the NCAA Indoor Championships and coached the 800m NSIC meet record holder.
Prior to joining Augustana, Lynch served as an assistant coach at Southwestern Oklahoma State University during the 2015-16 academic year. He began his coaching career as the head track & field coach at Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska from 2010-15. Lynch led seven individuals to state championship titles and helped the team to a regional runner-up finish in 2015. He was also named a Cook Inlet All-Star Coach in 2015.