Baraboo boys cross country coach Peter Arndt started his first day of school with a pleasant surprise.

Arndt walked into a school assembly on Thursday where he found out he’d been inducted into the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame. Arndt was both proud and humbled by the award.

“I was shocked. At first when Mr. Bildsten called me down I had no idea whatsoever,” Arndt said. “The proud factor comes from the fact that I reflect on all the teams and all the great young men I’ve had the privilege to coach here in my hometown of Baraboo.”

Arndt, who was inducted into the Baraboo High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 as Baraboo’s all-time winningest coach, has numerous records under his belt. Aside from creating four state team berths over the years, Arndt is most proud of his 25 team conference championships over his 34 years of coaching the T-Birds.

“Conference championships were always the attainable goal. I know how much it meant to me as a senior to be a champion on a team. I always thought that would be great for as many kids as possible to be able to say that,” Arndt said. “If a kid comes out a freshman during my tenure, if they came out as a freshman and stayed with it for four years, they ran on at least one conference championship team. That is something I’m very, very proud of to give the kids an opportunity to feel like a winner.”

Arndt, who got the head coaching job during his second year in Baraboo, said he found his passion for cross country in his high school days when he was coached by Harry Haslanger.

“I was excited to get the job because I knew cross country had meant so much to me as a young athlete and a young student at Baraboo High School,” he said. “I thought that this was my niche, that I would be able to really accomplish something. We’ve won a lot, and that’s been a great thing, but I’ve always been concerned with the journey. And every team has a story every year, and the journey we make together to try and reach that ultimate goal.”

Follow Chris on Twitter @chris_CNsports

Regional Sports Reporter