Meet the Staff!

Jayson Jackson

Co-Director

Coach, Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy, PA

Jayson is in his fourth year with the Saint Joseph’s Catholic Academy boys’ and girls’ Cross Country/Track & Field programs. Having built these programs from the ground up, he has led his teams to XC and track and field state championships with individual qualifiers, including one medalist. The teams continue to rewrite the school record book year in and year out. Jayson graduated from Penn State University where he captained the Penn State Men’s Cross Country and Track & Field teams.

Jayson’s passion for the sport and special leadership qualities are apparent through his strong investment in the State College running community. Jayson’s philosophy is drawn from some of the greatest athletic and personal influences in his life, including his brother, Penn State coaching legend Harry Groves, Olympic marathoner Brian Sell, and also through borrowing and trading ideas with Coach Artie and Coach Rebecca and his rigorous self-study. He believes in reinforcing a strong foundation for his athletes through physical, mental, and social development so that each athlete is conditioned to meet the various demands of each and every day.

Rebecca Donaghue

Co-Director

Coach, State College Area HS, PA

Rebecca grew up in Stow, MA, graduating from Nashoba Regional High School where she won MIAA State and New England titles in the outdoor 800m along with leading her cross country team to it's first MIAA State Championship. She went on to compete for UMass Amherst where she holds school records in both the mile and 1500m, won numerous individual A-10 Conference Championships in both cross country and on the track, and was a two time individual qualifier for the NCAA D1 Cross Country Championships.

After graduating from UMass Rebecca became a full-time art teacher at Dedham High School, in Dedham, MA and also coached both the boys and girls track teams as well as the girls' cross country team. Rebecca continued to pursue her running career throughout that time.

After 4 and a half years of teaching Rebecca moved to State College, PA where she further pursued her running career under coach Artie Gilkes. Under Coach Gilkes, just a few of Rebecca's accolades include qualifying and running in the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 5,000m and advancing to the finals where she placed 8th, representing team USA at the 2009 IAAF World Cross Country Championships where she placed 36th, qualifying for and running in both the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials as well as the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 10,000m. While training full-time, Rebecca has been the head coach for the State College Girls' Cross Country team for the past 10 years as well as assistant coach for the girls' track team. Under Rebecca's coaching she has coached athletes to PIAA State titles, All-American honors, numerous District titles, school records, and numerous athletes who have moved on to compete at the collegiate level for DI, II, and III schools.

In addition to her coaching and running, Rebecca teaches Art at St.Joseph's Academy in Boalsburg, PA. She was a New Balance sponsored athlete but now represents PowerBar and Oiselle. She was recently inducted into the Nashoba Regional Hall of Fame as well as the UMass Hall of Fame.

Artie Gilkes

Co-Director

Coach, State College Area HS, PA

Artie has been actively competing and coaching for over 25 years straight. As an athlete Artie trained under two legendary track coaches in Harry R. Groves at Penn State and Robert “Sev” Sevene post-collegiality. As a runner Artie was selected to train at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. While there he was exposed to many world class training techniques,athletes and coaches. While running for post-collegiality, Artie qualified to represent the USA in international competition and competed at many USATF Championship events.

As a coach, Artie has guided both male and female professional Track & Field athletes to top 4 finishes at USATF Championships. He has coached multiple athletes to qualify and compete at US Olympic Trials. Most notably guiding Rebecca Donaghue to many top 5 USATF National Championship finishes and IAAF World Championship qualification. Under Artie’s guidance Rebecca qualified for the IAAF World Champs, won a national title, finished in the top five in multiple USATF Championships, competed professionally on the European Track Circuit and qualified for and competed in three different US Olympic Trials events. Artie coached Ryan Sheehan to a fourth place finish at the USATF Outdoor Track & Field Champs and many other top National finishes including qualifying for the 2012 US Olympic Marathon Trials. Artie was Volunteer Assistant Coach at Penn State first under his old mentor Harry Groves then under Beth Alford-Sullivan whose teams won 7 Big Ten Titles. As a recent addition to the State College Area School District Cross Country and Track & Field Staff, Artie has produced both male and female All-State performers, State Medalists, school record holders and nationally ranked athletes. After years of coaching Artie has continued to train himself uninterrupted virtually his entire life. He knows his training works because he does it himself. As a Type 1 Diabetic for over 20 years Artie competed at the NCAA Championships, USATF Championships, and at National and International events. His athletes learn that the secret to athletic and life success is sacrifice.