Source: Sherman Publications

Track teams ‘heading in the right direction,’ coach says

by Trevor Keiser

May 08, 2013

While building a young team into a mature team can be difficult, varsity boys’ and girls’ track and field Coach Matt Johnson see signs that they are “heading in the right direction.”

“I would say the major strength of our team is they always go out there to compete individually with excellence, trying to out due their personal records. Every meet we’ve had 10 or 15 kids who always break their personal records, so even though we’re not winning every meet, we are winning individually.”

The boys’ team record is currently at 2-3 and the girls are 1-4. Standouts for the boys have been Mike Tuski, Jarrod Butler, Ryan Gillespie and Robbie Norfolk.

“Mike Tuski is a true middle distance runner and Mike’s got a good possibility of going to the state finals, his time just keeps coming down,” Johnson said. “He hit the two-minute mark for an 800, which is pretty good.”

“Robbie Norfolk has been a surprise sprinter and Ryan Gillespie is a standout distance runner,” he added.

Johnson also said junior leaders and point-scorers Joey Ufolla, Noah Jenkins and Jacob Schenten “have stepped up into big areas.”

“We have a couple freshman standouts,” Johnson said. “Gabe Hogan is a distance runner and total standout, and Anson Rowley is a sprinter hurdler and he is a major standout in his field.”

Another standout is sophomore and first year track athlete, Noah Kinne.

“He’s never done pole vault, ever, and (he) is already now (in) the number two position in Oakland County,” Johnson said. “He’s just going up and getting better.”

Currently, the highest point-setter for the boys is sprinter, high jumper and long jumper Dallas Pruitt.

“He actually has more talent than events we can run him in,” Johnson noted.

As for the girls, Johnson is hopeful seniors Brooke Kovacic and Victoria Bearse will make it to states.

One of the major goals of this season, said Johnson, has been to “really be seen as team and not just individual athletes.”

“My main goal as a team, especially (since it’s) my first year as head coach, is to grow the program in expectation, not so much just in this year’s winning record or goal of this year’s 2013 team, but it’s really to grow a program. That program is one where kids are really getting coached and at the same time, encouraged and parents along the way know what’s going on,” Johnson said. “At the team meeting at the end (of a meet), I actually ask the parents to come stand around the kids, so the parents hear what I’m saying to their kids. They hear me being encouraging.

“It’s been a really good first season as a head coach. Parents have been wonderful, stepping into holes and (the) coaching staff is always developing and growing in communication,” he continued.

“I think that’s going to be a strength moving forward – that there is trust in the coaching staff both on the athlete and parent level.”