Training Locations:  Western Springs/Downers Grove/Hinsdale/Westmont/Orland Park/and Random Forest Preserves

Winter program registration opens November 17th.

Welcome to the Chicago Flyers Track Club!

A fine history of developing a passion for running in youth through excellent training, fun and team values.

Coaching Staff

Coaching Staff
Michelle Gagnard Founder/Head Coach

Coach Gagnard founded the Chicago Flyers in 2009 to provide a  safe, technically accurate and age-appropriate training environment which which serves all kids, regardless of ability.  Coach Gagnard has been fortunate to train  2 National Champions, 15 State Champions and  23 Top 10 National Athletes. The Flyers cross country teams have won the  AAU State XC Championship twice, in 2020 won the  Northern National AAU XC Championship and  four times placed as a top 3 team at the Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championship with 12 top 20 medalist.  The most important accomplishment is that over 1600 athletes in the Chicagoland area have learned to embrace their talents and have fun running for the Flyers.  The majority of the kids in the program continue in track/cross country in high school.  In 2019, 25 former Flyers were running for their D1 and D3 college programs.  It is important to note that none of this would be possible without the dedication of the coaches, parents, AAU/USATF, and the community and partnerships of area running clubs.

In a year like no other, 2020, Coach Michelle Gagnard was a Regional Winner of  the Positive Coaching Alliance's  Double-Goal Coach Award® by TeamSnap because of the impact the Chicago Flyers have had on student-athletes in a time when it is needed most.  

In addition to the leading the Flyers, Coach Michelle offers private training for high school athletes, leads clinics for the Orland Park Soccer Club and  speed clinics for multi-sport athletes.

Prior to founding the Chicago Flyers, Coach Gagnard was the Sprint Coach at Los Altos High School, CA,  founded a youth triathlon club, was a CARA learn-to-run instructor, and taught performance groups.  Michelle  is dedicated to helping children grow in their personal confidence and character. 

Coach Gagnard is a lifetime learner, constantly challenging multi-sport training systems to create the best athletes using science.    She is USATF Level 1 certified and USATF Level 2 in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays. She is an International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA) certified Strength Coach.  Injury-prevention and performance optimization training are from Muscle Activation Technique MAT-Jump Start Certificate, Reflexive Performance Reset-Level 1, Be Activated-Level 1.  Coach is certified with the Positive Coaching Alliances AAU Double-Goal Coach: Coaching at Winning & Life, as well as, USATF's SafeSport training program. She is an annual attendees and student of the Track Football Consortium Education Series, (2018-2022).  She is a lifetime member of the American Swim Coach Association and World Swim Coach Association and continues to cross-learn from world renown coaches.  She is also a regular attendee at meetings and training by the US Track & Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCA) and IL Track & Cross Country Coaches Association (ITCCCA) training.

 

Reese Kocanda Head Coach, Sprints and Fun

Coach Reese started running Track and Field in the 7th grade and instantly fell in love with it, developing a deep passion for sprinting. Reese continued to run track all through high school and is currently attending Lewis University, where he competes collegiately on the D2 level. Track became a huge part in developing Reese into the person he is today and helped give him the leadership skills to become the Team Captain of his college team in his Junior Year. His Coaching Philosophy is centered around developing a safe space and great culture for young Track and Field athletes to grow a passion and love for the sport.

Lana Zenner Assistant Coach and Meet Coordinator

Lana's athletic career, many moons ago, included competitive swimming and track.  Lana placed 2nd in the mile  at the IL middle school championship and had her picture in the paper as she dove off of the blocks for her winning medley relay team.  She is an arduous supporter of the Chicago Flyers and looks forward to assisting with practice.
 

Topher Ferris Assistant Coach, XC
Jon Hogg Assistant Coach, XC
Heather Minchella Assistant Coach, XC
Ryan Eddington Assistant Coach, XC
Annika McDonnell Assistant Coach, XC
Lily Eddington Assistant Coach, XC
Roy Llewellyn Mid + Distance Coach

Coach Roy began his running career with the Chicago Flyers, shortly afterwards seeing the rewards in local 5ks, winning his age group.  He enjoyed Track and Cross Country, especially competing at the Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championship several times.  Currently, Roy is entering his Junior Year at Downers Grove North.  Roy's freshman year he was part of the IHSA State Team and in 2019, he competed downstate at the IHSA XC Championship meet!

Kate Haffner Little Flyers Coach

Kate started running 9 years ago with the Chicago Flyers.  She is currently a senior at Hinsdale South and active on the track and cross country team. In 2021 Kate was awarded the XC Sportsmanship award, 2021 Most Improved Track, and she qualified for IHSA state in 2019.  Kate's coaching contributed greatly to the success of the Flyers throughout COVID and she is excited to return this summer as a Little Flyers coach.

When asked why the Flyers?  Kate responded, "I loved the team aspect of Flyers and meeting so many different people throughout all the years!"

Kate will be begin her freshman year in the fall at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with the studies of  Elementary Education.

 

 

Allayna Gagnard Sprints, Assistant Coach

Allayna began her athletic career with a Chicago Kids Triathlon.  Although a foot shorter than her counterparts, she placed third in her age group and won a spot on a Chicago Fire Truck in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  She cried the entire time as her family frantically raced around the parade route, waving and trying to reassure her that this was fun. Since her only run prior to the triathlon was in a microburst in Chicago, she was fairly reluctant to run, however, she developed her passion after joining her grade school team in 3rd grade.  Allayna's career highlights included winning the Loyola Lakefront Invite x 2, HInsdale Rotary Run 3k (so far fastest girls' time-did she miss a corner?), AAU State Championship 800M, and with her CHMS teammates, had the 4 x 400 record.  She once took a very cool hurdler picture as her idol was Lolo Jones.  Speaking of Idol, she tried out for American Idol too.  Allayna concluded her running career at St. Ignatius College Prep after running Varsity XC her freshman year, to focus on Comparative World Politics by Diane Haleas and Philosophy by Dr. Gholson.  She is returning to coach because she really loves it and needs a break from her  new sport Architecture, in her senior year at the U of I.

Gillian Gagnard CMO, Head Coach
Since 2009, Coach Gillian has loved spending time with the kids as a Flyers coach. She is excited to be coming back this summer because watching the athletes progress is both rewarding and fun. The Flyers has become a second home for her, seeing as she’s grown up going to races, being dragged through forest preserves for hours setting hashes, and attending practices.
 
She is a third year at the University of Chicago majoring in Economics with a minor in Molecular Engineering. Her freshman and sophomore year, she made the Dean’s List.
 
While she never really picked up running, she did go another route. Coach Gillian is a member of the varsity swim team at the University of Chicago. She competes in the 100 & 200 backstroke as well as the 200 & 400 medley and freestyle relays. Her freshman year, she received 4 NCAA All-American and Scholar All-American honors and placed 9th in the 200 backstroke at NCAAs. This past year, as a sophomore, she placed 6th in the 200 backstroke at NCAAs and received 3 All-American honors. She is also a member of the school’s current record-holding 400 medley relay. Having swam for nearly 10 years now, she channels her experience into coaching through strength and conditioning, attention to detail, and attitude.
Finn Gallagher Assistant Coach, Chicago Flyers

Coach Finn started running with his siblings from a young age, and discovered the Chicago Flyers Track Club through running in local 5ks. After joining the summer track team Finn found a passion for running in distance events and continued to participate in the Flyers cross country and track seasons until high school. Some of his favorite memories from the team were Sunday long runs at Swallow Cliff and the annual pumpkin run. Currently, Finn is enjoying running his senior track season at Lyons Township High School. He has run on the varsity level for all 4 years and plans to continue his career at Pomona College in Claremont California.