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New face, familiar name joins Worthington’s YMCA

Cory Greenway is the new Health and Fitness Director at the Worthington Area YMCA. Brian Korthals/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — When he was a freshman in high school, Cory Greenway said, nobody would have picked him as a great athlete.

“As a freshman, I was 5 feet tall and 160 pounds — just a little round kid,” said Greenway, who is the new Health and Fitness Director at the Worthington Area YMCA.

But through hard work and his efforts in strength and training programs, Greenway became a three-sport athlete in his hometown of Mitchell, S.D. Now Greenway wants to positively impact others the same way he was, which made him a perfect fit for the YMCA.

“He’s a young man who seems to have a lot of energy,” said YMCA CEO Andy Johnson. “He’s interested in working with all different age groups. He definitely has an interest in working with athletes, which we certainly have an interest in doing as we start to move this position forward.”

Greenway attended South Dakota State University and majored in health, physical education and recreation (HPER).

“For me, nobody would have picked me as a great athlete when I was younger,” Greenway said. “It was sports and sports-based programming acceleration and power-type programs that really helped me grow and develop. It increased my passion for sports and the drive of competing to be your best.

“Once I got to school, they always say, ‘Pick something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I kind of took that to heart. I always wanted to be involved in athletics and I love working with kids.”

Greenway’s name might be familiar to those in the area — his first cousin, Chad, is a linebacker with the Minnesota Vikings.

“I remember going to high school games, the two times they played in the DakotaDome for state championships and watching those,” Greenway said. “It’s really hard to take it all in as a kid and understand what’s going on. I grew up with him having so much success in high school and going to Iowa. It never really hit me how big of a deal he is.

“He’s always been very down to Earth and very humble, which is what you want coming from the Midwestern background.”

Greenway said he hasn’t felt pressure being related to an all-pro NFL star. However, he said it’s pushed his younger brothers, Jason and Justin — who attend Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. — to strive for more.

“I never really felt obligated to be a superstar,” Greenway said. “At the same time, it’s always kind of pushed me to do the best that I can. My little brothers, they go to Augustana right now ­— they are sophomores and they do football and track and field. Once Chad got into the NFL, the twins realized you can go places and that drove them a lot harder.”

After his time at SDSU, Greenway took a job in Sioux Falls for a supplement company. However, he was contacted by a familiar face. Current Worthington resident Glenn Thuringer — a college roommate of Greenway’s father — sent an email about the job in Worthington.

“But I just took this and I would hate to apply right away and leave them,” Greenway said. “It turns out I stayed there for a couple months, and they came through and stopped and talked and Glenn told me this was still open. I was looking at getting out of the supplement field there and getting into more a realistic and better position and fit for me.”

Thuringer isn’t the only connection Greenway has to Worthington. His mother’s college roommate was Worthington resident Jodi Landgaard.

“One of the things that sets Cory above some other applicants is one of the things we do when we open up positions like this at the Y is advertise even on a national scale,” Johnson said. “You get applicants from all over the country. It’s difficult sometimes to recruit folks from a long distance. Cory comes from Mitchell, S.D., and he has family friend connections here in Worthington. With his degree and some of his experience and energy and where he’s coming from, it makes him an attractive candidate.”

Greenway has hit the ground running, already taking on the Health Heart Fitness Challenge and some personal training.

“I’ve been talking to a lot of people and taking down notes of what people want to see, what I’d like to see here, what kinds of things are being used least,” he said. “Everybody wants something new or different. It keeps them coming back and wanting more.”

Greenway is also hoping to build on the classes offered at the YMCA, which include acceleration and power programs where he hopes to provide the same training and guidance he received as a young athlete.

One change he hopes to make immediately is encourage members to take care of the equipment.

“It’s hard to justify getting new and better things when things aren’t taken care of,” Greenway said. “If you put it on there, take it off. If you’re a person who is going to be in here for two hours and you want to make time for two hours, take the extra 10 seconds and put it away. What’s it going to do? It’s not going to tire you out more than what you’ve already done.”

Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen can be reached at 376-7323.