Meet The Coaches

Jeff Onnen
Jeff OnnenHead Coach
Coach Onnen has been with the Cross Country team at West since 1999, serving 7 years as the assistant coach before taking over as head coach in 2006. He teaches science at West and also works with the distance runners in Track during the spring season. Under Coach Onnen, the Cross Country team has won one League title, five Regional championships and has brought back one men’s and four women’s trophies from the State meet. His runners in Track have broken the Women’s 4×800 school record multiple times as well as individual records in the women’s 800, 1500, 1600 and mile races (all State records) and the men’s 3200 (a State Meet record) and won 10 gold medals at the State Meet. He and his wife Andrea (a graduate of SMW) have two daughters, Abby, who helped her team at our sister school, SMN, win a State Championship in XC in the fall of 2017, and Aisley who is budding runner in her own right.
Krista Otto
Krista OttoAssistant Coach
Coach Otto grew up in Overland Park, graduating from Blue Valley High School where she ran all 4 years. She qualified for state twice and was the team captain her junior and senior year. Coach Otto attended and graduated from Kansas State University. Since 2008 she has had numerous track jobs in Kansas, Tennessee and Missouri coaching distance and sprints. She was the head cross country coach at Carl Junction (Missouri) from 2016-2018. Her girls finished 4th at State in Class 3 in 2017. In 2020 she was the head cross country coach at Grandview C-4 High School and qualified both the boys and girls team to Class 4 state. Coach Otto is married to Michael Otto who is the Youth Director at Colonial Presbyterian Church. They have two daughters, Elliana and Avery, who love to cheer on all the runners at meets. Coach Otto will be teaching World Regional Studies and Government at West. She believes there is nothing better than a fall Saturday morning at a cross country course and she looks forward to working with all the student athletes this fall.
Jacob Thomas
Jacob ThomasAssistant Coach
Coach Thomas has returned to the Shawnee Mission West Cross Country family after spending 4 years running for the team from 2010-2014. In 2013, Coach Thomas placed 3rd at State with his team in addition to earning the Pace Setter award that year as well. Coach Thomas and his team were also able to medal in State in 2013 and 2014 for the 4×800 in Track. Since 2014, Coach Thomas spent time in Norman, Oklahoma attending the University of Oklahoma to earn his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. While in Norman, Coach Thomas coached a couple of years at Norman North High School for their Track program. Coach Thomas is married to Jessica Thomas who is a 2015 West Graduate. There a few moments as exciting as seeing runners achieve their personal best times and he can’t wait to see those times improve throughout the season.