Amaral joins Virginia track & field program as assistant coach for distance

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Virginia director of track and field and cross country Vin Lananna announced Thursday that Joelle Amaral has joined the UVA program. Amaral will work primarily with the Cavalier men’s and women’s middle-distance and distance runners. She comes to the program after serving as an assistant coach and director of operations at Eastern Kentucky.

“Joelle will be a wonderful addition to our entire program,” Lananna said. “She understands and appreciates all of the track and field disciplines. The women and men whom she has coached have enjoyed unprecedented success at the conference, regional and national stages. She, Coach (Trevor) Dunbar, and I will be collaborating immediately to ensure that our cross country teams are ready for a successful season.”

Last season at Eastern Kentucky, Amaral helped coach Ahmed Jaziri to the Colonels’ first-ever NCAA title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and helped Laura Taborda become the first woman in EKU history to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the same event.

Photo: Eastern Kentucky University Athletics

During her time with Eastern Kentucky, Amaral helped guide the Colonels to three conference championships in cross country. She also coached the distance runners to a total of 10 individual conference titles and three All-American honors across indoor and outdoor track and field seasons.

“I want to thank Coach Vin for this wonderful opportunity to join his staff,” Amaral said. “I am really looking forward to getting to know and work with the men and women at Virginia. I am excited to get to Charlottesville and get to work.”

Amaral began her coaching career at Kentucky, serving as a graduate assistant from 2017-2019. She served as an assistant coach to the distance runners and handled operations for the cross country team.

While competing at Washington, Amaral received Pac-12 All-Academic honors after the 2012 cross country season.

A native of Randolph, N.J., Amaral earned her undergraduate degree from Washington in communication studies with a minor in nutritional sciences. She earned a master’s degree in kinesiology and health promotions from Kentucky.