Shannon Flynn

Townsend native Shannon Flynn is new cross country coach for the Carroll College team.

HELENA — Shannon Flynn will become the Carroll College cross country and track and field distance coach, the school announced Thursday. She takes over for Ryan Utsey, who went back to school.

A native of Townsend, Flynn graduated from Carroll in 2011 with a degree in biology for secondary education with a chemistry minor. She began her athletic career at Carroll playing basketball and volleyball for three years. Her fourth year, she focused on basketball before moving over to cross country and track in her fifth year.

Flynn qualified for nationals in cross country and indoor and outdoor track, becoming an all-American in the 800 meters during the indoor season.

"Bringing in a coach of Shannon's caliber, with her academic and athletic success here at Carroll, is phenomenal for our program," Saints track coach Harry Clark said in a press release. "She knows what it takes to be a Carroll College athlete, and understands the Helena and Montana communities very well."

Prior to Carroll, Flynn assisted distance runners at the University of Montana. Before that, she coached and taught middle school in Missoula and coached and taught high school athletes in Bozeman.

Flynn is finishing up a graduate degree in exercise science at the University of Montana. She will assume her coaching duties at Carroll College later this year.

"I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity to be here and work with coach Clark and be somewhere close to home, having grown up in Townsend," Flynn said. "Having gone to Carroll, I really feel like this place shaped me and helped me become the person I am. I'm incredibly thankful to be back there. I'm looking forward to meet the student-athletes and getting to know them. I'm excited to see how we can grow together and build the distance program from where it is to something that's even better."

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