Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach (Sprints/ Relays/ Hurdles)
Reece Vega enters his first season as the Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach for the Marauders. Vega currently is going into his eleventh year of coaching and has coached at three other programs.
Last season Vega was the Head Track & Field Coach at The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY. In his lone season at Saint Rose, Vega led the team to break six school records with three USTFCCA All-Region selections.
Before Saint Rose, Vega was the Head Track & Field and Cross Country Coach at Graceland University in Lamoni, IA. In his time at Graceland Vega was able to build a team from the ground up that started with a total of 23 student-athletes. At his departure Graceland had over 90 student-athletes on the track & field and cross country team. Vega also led the team to its highest track & field national ranking in program history with the men ranking 19th in the nation and the women hitting the 24th spot. In his time at Graceland he had 14 All-Americans, 40 National Qualifiers, and numerous conference honors. Additionally, he implemented study hall, study groups, and tutoring sessions that helped increase the program’s grade-point-average, along with its retention and graduation rates.
Vega was both a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Minot State before going to Graceland.
As a coach for Minot State, Vega coached 15 NAIA National Qualifiers, an NAIA All-American and 23 athletes who have placed on the Minot State Top 10 list. His athletes have broken school records in the indoor women’s 55m, 200m, and 4x200m relay; the men’s Indoor 300m and 400m as well as the men’s outdoor 100m. Prior to rejoining MISU, he was the Minot High Assistant Track & Field Coach for two years where he coached sprints and relays. In those two years he had 10 high school athletes and six relay teams qualify for the state meet.
Vega ran for North Dakota State University where he was an All-American and broke school records in the indoor 600m, and the indoor and outdoor 4x400m relays. He also helped lead the Bison to a third place team finish at the 2004 Division II Outdoor National Championships while earning All-Conference honors six times during his career. Vega, a St. Charles, Minn. native, graduated from NDSU with a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration and has his Master’s in Business Management from Minot State University. He also holds a USATF Level 1 Coaching Certificate as well as a Certificate in Knowledge Management. Reece has been married for three years to Cassandra Vega and they currently reside in Lincoln, ND.
Asst. Track & Field Coach (Long / Triple Jump)
Jeremy Schroeder enters his 13th season of coaching at the University of Mary, with an emphasis in coaching the long and triple jump events. In 13 years under Schroeder’s direction, the Marauders have been a consistent force in the NSIC and NCAA in the horizontal jumps, winning 19 NSIC individual titles and earning 11 NCAA All-Americans, as well as helping the Marauders win 14 NSIC team titles in the NCAA DII era of athletics.
Schroeder was a 4-Time NAIA All-American at Minot State University. Schroeder graduated in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. He received a master’s degree from North Dakota State University in 2004 in Child Development & Family Science and another master’s degree from Minot State University in 2015 in Early Childhood Special Education.
A native of Trenton, ND, Schroeder currently works full time for the Bismarck Public Schools as an Early Interventionist.
He is married to Beulah, ND, native Shannon (Black) Schroder. They have two children, Hudson and Chance.
Asst. Track & Field Coach (Throws)
Bryan Harris enters into his second year coaching the University of Mary throwers. Last year, Coach Harris helped Andrew Dubiel earn a NSIC conference title in the discus and finish his collegiate career as a Second Team All American in the discus. Dubiel was also chasing the U Mary school discus record held by Coach Harris and narrowly missed the mark by 8inches. Coach Harris has a young crew of throwers coming into this year and had this to say, “I am really excited to be back this year. I believe Kaylyn Frison and Drew Pike are going to build off their success from last year, and I am excited about the freshmen that we have joining us this year. We are building throws program and we look forward to contributing to our team’s success.”
Coach Harris came to the University of Mary after a successful career at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton California where he was the California Community College state champion in the discus in 2000. He transferred to the University of Mary and competed in both track and field and football from 2001-2004. During his time at Mary, Coach Harris performed on four conference championship track and field teams and two DAC-10 football title teams. Coach Harris was a National Qualifier in the weight throw (2003 and 2004) and the discus (2002 and 2003). He was a 2 time conference champion in the discus and a NAIA All-American in the discus and current record holder (since 2003) at the University of Mary in the discus (172’10”; 52.67m). Coach Harris lives in Bismarck with his beautiful wife Amanda and their kids (Ahviana 10, Bishop 7 and Adalyah 3). Coach Harris works as a Case Manager at the North Dakota Youth Correctional Center.
Asst. Men's & Women's Track & Field Coach (Springts & Hurdles)
Recognized as one of the nation’s leading coaches, Mike Thorson is in his 25th season at the University of Mary. In 24 years under Thorson’s direction, the Marauders achieved unparalleled success, winning 47 conference championships, five regional cross country titles, crowning 395 All-Americans, 187 Academic All-Americans and 39 National Track & Field Champions (individual and relay).
After creating one of the nation’s top programs in the NAIA, Thorson added even more luster to his legacy when UMary moved to NCAA Division II. The women won back-to-back indoor and outdoor NSIC conference titles in 2007 and 2008 and claimed a third title in four years in 2010. The men also soared, winning the NSIC Indoor title in 2008. These results earned Thorson NSIC’s Indoor and Outdoor Coach of the Year honors. He also was named the North Dakota AP Sportswriters and Sportscasters College Female Coach of the Year and the USTFCCCA Central Region Women’s Outdoor Coach of the Year in 2010. In 2006, Thorson added another remarkable chapter to his already brilliant career as he guided the Marauders into NCAA Division II competition and was named to the NAIA Hall of Fame. Two of Thorson’s athletes, Jamey Mulske and Mandy (Schroeder) Sheldon, also are enshrined in the NAIA Hall of Fame.
A 1978 graduate of Minot State, Thorson is a four-time NAIA National Coach of the Year, earning the accolades in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002. Named many times as the Conference Coach of the Year, Thorson has guided the Marauders to 46 of the 47 conference titles UMary has collected in track and field/cross country in school history. Despite his many personal accolades, Thorson prefers to emphasize the team aspect of his program, always giving credit to the entire team for the Marauders success. Thorson, who received his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of North Dakota in 1992, coached at both UND and North Dakota State University. In 1993, the University of Mary brought Thorson aboard as the women’s track and field coach. After becoming head coach of both the men’s and women’s track & field programs in 1999, Thorson was named UMary’s track & field coordinator.
Thorson is married to the former Ann Dunnigan and they have five children, Troy, Andrea, Nikki, Marisa and Bryan.
Asst. Track & Field Coach (Combined Events, Javelin, Pole Vault)
Johnson is entering his second year with the Marauders. He will be expanding his coaching roles to take the helm of coaching the Javelin, Pole Vault, and the Multi-events for this upcoming year.
In his first year coaching with the Marauders Johnson assisted the horizontal jumpers and multi-event athletes to 1 NCAA All-American, 3 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Champions, 19 NSIC All-Conference Performers, 3 NCAA DII Academic All-Americans, 2 NCAA DII All-Academic Team Awards and 3 NSIC Individual All-Academic Awards.
Hailing from Crystal Minnesota, Johnson attended Concordia College-Moorhead where he earned a B.S. in Exercise Science with a minor in Coaching. As a Cobber, Johnson earned 7 All-Conference Honors, finished ranked 30th in the nation in the heptathlon in 2013, and currently stands 3rd in school history.
After graduation he coached hurdles and horizontal jumps at the high school level. In his two years of coaching he coached 6 All-Conference recipients, 2 Conference Champions, 1 Hamline Elite Meet Champion, and 1 All-State recipient.
Since graduating Johnson has also earned USTFCCCA Multi-Event Specialist certification, USTFCCCA Strength & Conditioning Coach Certification, and Level I and II USATF certifications in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays.
Johnson is currently pursuing a Master’s Endorsement in Multi-Events and his C.S.C.S. certification through the NSCA.
Asst. Track & Field Coach (High Jump)
Jackson Schepp enters his first season at the University of Mary as an assistant for both the men and women’s track and field programs.
Schepp was a member of the Concordia College-Moorhead track and field team from 2013-2017. While with the Cobber’s, he was a 2-time National Qualifier (’17 Indoor Heptathlon, ’17 Outdoor Decathlon), and a 2-time Academic All-American. He earned three Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Championship titles (’16 & ’17 Hept, & ’17 HJ), 13 MIAC All-Conference honors, and holds the all-time school record in the Heptathlon with a score of 4,882 points. To cap off a tremendous collegiate career Schepp was crowned Concordia College Athlete of the Year for his tremendous achievements in competition as well as his outstanding displays of leadership within the community.
A native of Buffalo, Min., Schepp graduated from Concordia College-Moorhead with Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and has spent the last year coaching and developing youth athletes in their respective sports. He is currently progressing towards his M.S. in Kinesiology here at UMary.
Asst. Cross Country and Track & Field Coach (Distance, Middle Distance)
Eric Phillips enters his second year with the Marauders Cross Country and Track & Field programs as an Assistant Cross Country and Distance Coach.
Since joining the University of Mary in the fall of 2016, Phillips has assisted in coaching the Marauders to a NCAA DII National Champion, a NCAA DII National Runner-up, five NCAA DII All-Americans, a NCAA DII Central Region Champion, four NCAA DII Central Region All-Region Performers, six Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Champions, 28 NSIC All-Conference Performers, 10 NCAA DII Academic All-Americans, four NCAA DII All-Academic Team Awards and 28 NSIC Individual All-Academic Awards. Phillips also assisted in coaching a 7th place team finish at the NCAA DII Women’s Cross Country National Championships, the program’s first ever NCAA DII Central Region Women’s Cross Country Team Title and the program’s first ever NSIC Women’s Cross Country Team Title.
A native of Saginaw Michigan, Phillips attended Grand Valley State University in Allendale Michigan earning his B.S. in Clinical Exercise Science with a minor in Psychology. As a Laker, Phillips was a two-time Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference runner-up in the 800m, contributed to a GLIAC runner-up performance on the Distance Medley Relay as well as a 14th place finish at the 2011 NCAA DII Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 800m.
Following graduation, Phillips earned his USATF Level 1 Coaching certification and returned to his high school alma mater as an Assistant Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at Heritage High School of Saginaw, MI in the fall of 2013. Later he would take the helm of the Women’s Track & Field team as Head Coach in the spring of 2016.
Phillips is currently pursuing his M.S. in Kinesiology here at the University of Mary as well as a C.S.C.S. certification through the NSCA.
Asst. Cross Country and Track & Field Coach (Distance) / Equipment Room
Entering his first season with the Marauders, Dillon Yearby is assisting the Cross Country and Track & Field program as a distance coach.
Yearby student-assisted at the University of Southern Indiana from August 2014, through December 2016. Is his time with the University of Southern Indiana, the cross country and track program saw great success; this included three Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) cross country championships on both the men’s and women’s side of the program, 28 NCAA II First Team All-Americans, 47 NCAA II National Qualifiers, two Individual NCAA II National Champions, five Individual NCAA II National Runner-Up’s, six Top Ten National Team Performances that included the highest finish in women’s program history in cross country in 2016 with a fifth place finish.
While student assisting at the University of Southern Indiana, Yearby received his Bachelor’s in Sport Management with a focus on Intercollegiate Athletics in 2016.
As an athlete at Brescia University, KY in 2012, Yearby was an All-Conference runner in the 800 meters, as well as a varsity member of the cross country team.
A native of Chrisney, Indiana, Yearby has spent most of his life in Southern Indiana. He graduated from Heritage Hills High School in 2011 where he participated in cross country and track & field.
Yearby is currently pursuing his MBA in Executive Management here at the University of Mary.
Student Asst. Track & Field Coach - Sprints / Middle Distance
Bio Coming Soon!
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach
Michael Silbernagel, M.S. MSCC, CSCS, RSCC*D, USAW, FMS
Michael Silbernagel has been the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Marauders since the department started in January 2011. He oversees three assistant coaches and the year-round strength and conditioning for the University of Mary athletic teams.
Silbernagel served as the Asst. Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Colorado State Rams from 2005-10 and was the Head Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for Football from 2006-2010. During his time at CSU, Silbernagel designed and implemented strength and conditioning programs for volleyball, women's basketball, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's golf, swimming and diving, and women's water polo teams and assisted in implementing strength and conditioning programs for football and men's basketball.
A graduate of Valley City State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in Physical Education and Health, Silbernagel attended graduate school at the University of North Dakota. As a graduate assistant strength coach at UND, Silbernagel worked with the men's and women's track and field teams and the men's and women's swimming and diving teams and assisted with men's hockey, and football. He earned a master's degree in Kinesiology at North Dakota in 2005.
Silbernagel possess several professional certifications. He is Strength and Conditioning Coach certified through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, a certified Strength and Conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association, a certified Sports Performance Coach and Olympic Club Coach through USA Weightlifting and is level 2 FMS certified through the Functional Movement Systems.
In May of 2017 he was named Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, which is the highest honor in his profession.
A competitive power lifter, Silbernagel is the 2010 USA Power Lifting 242-pound Raw National Champion.
Silbernagel and his wife, Jenny, have sons named Hunter and Carter.
Asst. Strength & Conditioning Coach
Nolan LaValley, CSCS, FMS, USAW
Nolan LaValley is currently in his second year serving as a Graduate Assistant Coach for the Strength and Conditioning Department at the University of Mary.
Prior to working at the University of Mary, LaValley served as a Strength and Conditioning Intern at Proforce Athletics in Portland, OR, between May and August of 2016.
LaValley is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is also a level 1 Sports Performance Coach through USA Weightlifting and is level 1 certified in the Functional Movement Screening.
A native of Vancouver, WA, LaValley graduated from the University of Mary in 2016 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science. Currently he is seeking his Master’s Degree in Business Administration and expects to graduate in the spring of 2018.
Asst. Athletic Trainer (Cross Country, Track & Field, Wrestling)
Liz Anderson, ATC, LAT
Elizabeth Anderson joined the University of Mary Athletic Staff in 2015 as an Assistant Athletic Trainer. She currently oversees the Wrestling, Cross Country, and Track and Field teams. She graduated in 2015 from the University of Mary with a Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and a Minor in Wellness. Liz was a member of the University of Mary Student Athletic Trainer’s Association. At this time, Liz is pursuing her Master of Science in Kinesiology from the University of Mary and plans to graduate in May of 2018. She is an active member of the College Athletic Trainer’s Society and has enjoyed attending conferences to continue her education.
Liz is originally from Gillette, WY, but appreciates the experiences that living in Bismarck has provided her.