Lasting legacy

For the Michelins, running is the family business

Ben Baker-Katz, Sports Editor

It runs in the family.

The Michelin family has been involved in ETHS Track and Cross Country for over 30 years, and their dynasty is not dying down anytime soon.

“We are a track family,” said Donald Michelin Jr.

It all starts with Don Michelin Sr., who coached at ETHS from 1986 to 2003, then returned in 2009. Since his return, Michelin Sr. has led the track team on an incredible run with eight conference championships and six sectional titles in the last nine seasons.

As a lowerclassmen on the track team, Donald Michelin Jr. remembers watching his dad coach.

“In ‘86, these guys were one of the worst teams in the conference. The next year, [Michelin Sr.] had those guys downstate,” recalled Michelin Jr. “What he did with those guys was so remarkable.”

In 2013, Michelin Sr. was inducted into Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame.

After that induction, the shoes got even bigger to fill. Michelin Jr., who now also coaches at ETHS, wasn’t afraid of that challenge. But coaching wasn’t always something he wanted to do.

“I just kind of grew into it. It wasn’t a thing I decided early on I was going to do. As you grow, you don’t know who you’re going to grow into. 90% of the time, I guess it’s your father,” explained Michelin Jr. “I guess it just all comes back full circle.”

He is currently an assistant track coach and in his first season as head cross country coach. He replaced his dad as the cross country coach this past summer, after working as an assistant for the past few years.

“I really felt honored when Chris Livatino announced me as the new head coach, because I really didn’t think it was a shoe-in,” Michelin Jr. said. “Honestly, it was surreal.”

Michelin Jr. has two kids in high school, sophomore Sacrad Michelin and senior Enyaeva Michelin. Enyaeva had quite a summer, starting when she placed seventh in the 800 meters at the State Championships at the end of last year’s track season.

“I saw a change after the state meet,” explained Michelin Jr. “Her form changed, everything changed. She became this confident runner.”

Later in the summer, she broke the ETHS school record for the 800 meters with a time of 2 minutes and 11.47 seconds. Then, she won a gold medal at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics Nationals. She ran the 1500 meters with a time of 4 minutes and 32.81 seconds.

“That was a shock,” said Michelin Jr. “I knew at some point she was going to become this kind of runner, I just didn’t know when.”

Though Enyaeva wasn’t always this good, nor did she always have the passion for it. While it may seem like a natural gift, there was still work that needed to be done.

“I always thought running was terrible and that it hurt a lot. I hated it,” Enyaeva recalled. “When I was younger, I did some track meets that my grandpa hosted in the summer. I remember running the 400, and going out way too hard and dying afterwards. It was terrible.”

When Enyaeva got to high school she tried out for Pomkits, but she got cut. So, she decided to give this running thing a shot.

“I had to do something coming into high school,” she said. “So my dad and grandpa said ‘Just come out for cross country’.”

“I was hesitant at first, but I actually liked it,” she explained. “I liked racing. Cross country lead into me doing track, and I kept going with it. I really learned to love it.”

The passion for running runs deep in the Michelin family. But, the support for each other is even stronger.

“It helps a lot that they are there,” Enyaeva explained. “Having that resource follow you home, and even to family dinners. [Running] is always a topic of conversation.”

Apparently, running is so often a topic of conversation, it annoys others in the house.

“Me and my dad talk about running and strategy all of the time, like constantly,” Enyaeva said. “My mom and my little sister get bothered by it.”

It may be a while until there are no Michelins left at ETHS, but one thing is sure: they’ve already left their paw prints all over ETHS track and cross country.