by Jett Gonzales – Staff Reporter
The Track and field team this year is looking forward to a successful season with new head coach, Scott Cleary. The team is young, motivated, has lots of talent and is looking to make an impact this year.
Being a new head coach can be a tough job, but coach Cleary is ready to lead this team. “It’s an interesting transition” Cleary said, “I’ve been head coach for cross country for several years, but track is a little bit of a different beast.” The track team is prepared to take any problems head on thanks to coach Cleary and the great assistant coaches, “All our assistant coaches are highly confident in all their events and I think that’s what makes this team work.” These assistant coaches include Jolai Persinger, Mike Shepard and Karl Maw. The track and field team is primed for a solid season because of the addition of new head coach Cleary and all the assistant coaches.
Along with a new head coach, this team has many young athletes. “This is kind of an interesting year for us because we have a lot of younger athletes in the sprints, jumps and throws groups.” Cleary said. Right now, one of the team’s goals is to “develop in a way that sets the tone for future years.” While there are many young athletes, there are still a lot of returning athletes, especially in the distance events. “The distance squad is almost half the team and we have a lot of returning runners in that group.” Another goal that this team has set is to “build on the firm foundation we already have with the number of retuning athletes that have done track for many years.”
Since track and field is a competitive sport, setting goals like the ones just mentioned are important for keeping the team focused and ready to give it their all every day. However, one thing that is always emphasized in not only track and field but all sports is health. “Our goal that’s always present is to develop fitness and healthy living habits…and to build the mental toughness.” Cleary said. Having this core goal is very beneficial to every athlete participating in this sport because of the long-term benefits they will earn through working hard and developing good habits.
The track and field team has many goals that they can carry with them throughout this season. However, the only way to reach these goals is to have the athletes achieve them, and there are some athletes that stand out amongst the rest. “I think about it in two categories,” Cleary said, “There are athletes that stand out because of their abilities…and there are athletes that understand the sport and are great leaders.” Many athletes stand out because of their abilities. “Jordan Hall is probably our fastest sprinter,” Cleary said, “Madison Marko is a very diverse sprinter…in the girls’ pole vault; we have Ariel Johnston, who does pretty well in the league.” For the athletes that understand the sport and are leaders, “we have Amy Mitchell, who’s a really strong leader…and of course our captains, Kylie Johnson and Evan Eggerud.”
Despite this team is starting the season with a new head coach and many young athletes, they are setting themselves up for success with many goals that can point them in right direction, as well as many good athletes and great coaches to lead them.