Thunder Cross Country Coaching Staff
Men's Head Coach
Coach Raber was named the Men’s Cross-Country coach during the 2013 season after spending 11 years as a high school coach in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As the Men’s and Women’s coach at Carroll High School, Raber led the Chargers men to five Sectional titles, five Regional titles, and two Semi-State titles. During that time, Carroll’s boys finished 2nd at the Indiana State Championship twice. On the women’s side, Raber went undefeated in sectional and regional championships, tallying 11 consecutive titles at both meets. The Lady Chargers also won four Semi-State titles and finished in the top five at the Indiana State Championship three times. Both of the Carroll cross-country teams were ranked in the top-50 nationally throughout Raber’s tenure.
Individually, Raber has helped 25 athletes to All-State finishes in the state of Indiana for both track and cross-country, including three state champions. On the national level, Raber coached 10 All-American’s, ranging from cross-country to the track. In 2013, his boys 3200m relay team won the New Balance National Outdoor Championship after earning All-American status the previous season. Through 11 seasons at Carroll High School, numerous athletes under Raber’s guidance have gone on to compete at the collegiate level. An 11-time nominee for Indiana Cross-Country Coach of the Year, Raber won the award for boy’s cross-country in 2012.
Originally from Bluffton, Indiana, Raber attended Norwell High School where he accumulated three All-State finishes in track and cross-country. He went on to attend Wabash College where he graduated with a B.A. in History in 1998. He earned his master’s degree in Coaching from Ball State University in 2008. As a collegiate athlete, Raber ran for legendary coach Rob Johnson, who also coached on the 2000 Olympic staff. Raber was part of three national qualifying teams and two teams that placed 4th and 3rd respectively at the Division III National Championship in cross-country. In 2013 Raber and his 1994 & 1995 Wabash cross-country teams were inducted into the Wabash College Hall of Fame.
Raber currently resides in Fort Wayne with his wife, Erin, and two sons.
Women's Head Coach
Amanda Portis Malefyt
Amanda Malefyt was named the head women’s cross country coach prior to the 2013 season after returning to her alma mater in fall 2012 as assistant cross country/ track & field coach as well as a professor in the chemical engineering department. During her first season as assistant women’s coach, the cross country team finished 18th place at the regionals, the highest since becoming an NCAA member school.
While obtaining her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Trine (then Tri-State), Malefyt ran for the Thunder program herself from 2000-2004. During her college career, Malefyt became the first and only female track athlete in school history to capture a national title when she won the 2003 NAIA 10,000-meter title. Malefyt also set four university records and two Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference records in outdoor track. Malefyt was a six-time national qualifier and All-American in the 5,000-meter and 10,000-meter runs. Malefyt was inducted into the Trine Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2011.
Following graduation, Malefyt spent two years as assistant cross country and track coach for Gull Lake High School (Richland, Mich.). During this time, GLHS had 11 distance athletes qualify for the state finals.
Malefyt obtained her Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Michigan State University in 2012. With experience as both a coach and professor, Malefyt understands and encourages a healthy balance between academics and athletics.
Director of Track/Cross Country
Fort Wayne native Thomas Knudson took over the helm of Trine’s women’s track and field program beginning in the fall of 2012, after successfully coaching runners at the high-school level for 27 years. He served as the head coach at both North Side High School and Northrop High School, both in Fort Wayne.
During his 12 seasons at Northrop, he led the Bruins to Indiana Team State Championships seven times and two state runner-up titles. He also helped multiple athletes attain individual state titles and state records. Many of the Northrop athletes went on to compete in NCAA Division I, II and III track and field programs.
Knudson earned his bachelor’s degree from Ball State University, where he ran on the men’s cross country team. He earned his master’s degree from Indiana University. In 1977, he was a participant in the U.S. Marathon National Championships in St. Louis, Mo.
He was named the National Track and Field Coach of the Year in 2002 and the Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coach’s Coach of the Year from 2000-2005 and in 2011. He was named the Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Association’s Coach of the Year from 2000-2005 and in 2012. He was inducted into the Indiana Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2010.