This spring Tom Trygstad, a 1991 Forest City High School graduate, coached the West Des Moines Valley boys track team to its second consecutive state 4A title.
"I am very fortunate I get to work with some tremendous athletes along with the coaching staff," he said.
Trygstad said he is fortunate because the program already had a history of success before he became the head varsity coach in 2015.
WDM Valley won five consecutive CML conference titles from 2008 to 2012. At that time Trygstad was an assistant coach.
The CML has a lot of strong track teams, which helps make everyone better, according to Trygstad.
"Our kids love to compete in our conference," he said. "It's amazing who you are competing against night in and night out."
A new track facility recently was built at the WDM Valley.
"We get a lot of support from our administration and parents," Trygstad said. "You need these things to have a successful program."
But at WDM Valley, the first key to success is relationships, according to Trygstad.
Some of the former head track coaches are now volunteer assistant coaches.
They not only pass on their knowledge, but also their values.
Trygstad said anyone who goes into coaching "for the right reasons" knows it's not just about how well the kids do during competition.
"We are building the future leaders of our country," he said. "That's what keeps me going."
Trygstad has been coaching for the past 24 years.
His father, Grant, coached basketball at Waldorf College (now Waldorf University).
"It (coaching) was the natural thing for me," Trygstad said. "All I wanted was to be a coach like my dad."
He had some other great role models.
Trygstad played basketball at Forest City High School for Coach Bob Hilmer and at Waldorf for Coach Dan Mason.
After graduating from Waldorf in 1993, Trygstad received his bachelor's degree from Wartburg College.
He earned his Masters of Educational Leadership from Drake University in 2002.
He's been with the West Des Moines School District for the past 15 years. Before coming to WDM, he taught at the Denver, Newton and West Central Valley school districts in Iowa.
Trygstad has coached a variety of sports throughout his career.
"I even coached tennis for a while," he said.
In addition to being the head boys track coach, he's also the head cross country coach at WDM Valley.
Trygstad is a seventh-grade humanities teacher at Indian Hills Junior High. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Clive and have two children: Cali and Joel.
Trygstad said all of your experience growing up makes you who you are, so he feels fortunate to be from Forest City.
He said he has "nothing but praise and appreciation for growing up in that town."
"The community cared about its school system," Trygstad said.