Courtesy of Hutchinson CC Sports Information
Jafet Molinares has been hired to become the Hutchinson Community College cross country program's new head coach.
Molinares takes the reigns of the Blue Dragon cross country program from Justin Riggs, who resigned after the NJCAA National Track and Field Championships last week. Riggs had been in charge of the program since 2015.
Molinares is the sixth head coach in Blue Dragon men's track and field history and the fifth in Hutchinson women's history. He will also be a Blue Dragon track and field assistant coach.
"I am excited to welcome Jafet Molinares as the new head men's and women's cross country coach at Hutchinson Community College," Blue Dragon Athletic Director Josh Gooch said. "The successful programs he has been a part of have prepared him to take Blue Dragon Cross Country to new heights."
Molinares takes over a Blue Dragon women's program that is the reigning Region VI champion and finished fourth at the NJCAA Championships last November. The Blue Dragon women have several runners returning for 2023.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to represent a very established program," Molinares said. "I'm excited to work with the group of girls returning. I think the girls are very hungry, so I'm excited to start working with them.
"I'm also looking forward to re-establishing where the men's team was just a few years ago. Coach Riggs left this program in really good shape over the last 10 years and I want to carry this team in the future to achieve many more great things."
Molinares, 28, comes to Hutchinson after three seasons at Fort Scott Community College – in 2020 as an assistant and 2021 and 2022 as the head cross country coach. Between cross country and track and field, Molinares guided 34 total All-Americans. The 2023 Greyhound men's track team won the Region VI Indoor team championship.
He was an assistant coach for one season at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa. He was on staff for Iowa Central's men's indoor national championship team.
Molinares started his coaching career as a graduate assistant for cross country and track and field at Fort Hays State University.
A 2013 graduate of Felix Varela High School in Miami, Molinares ran collegiately at Iowa Central for two seasons and for two seasons at Fort Hays State. He graduated from Iowa Central in 2015 and earned his bachelor and master's from Fort Hays State in 2019.
"I'm grateful to Josh Gooch for the opportunity to coach here," Molinares said. "We share the same vision of what we want for this cross country program. His vision drew me to this position.
"I'm excited to get to work with Coach (Robert) Spies and the rest of the coaching staff as well."