There’s no doubt that track and field coach Darrin Scheffer is competitive and loves to see members on his team win, but that’s not why he does it.
“It’s about the kids and watching them grow up,” he said. “I get satisfaction seeing them turn into athletes and learning what that means.”
The 2015 team is a mix of experienced athletes, those who have never run track & field and don’t know much about it or its events, and those who know what it is and are giving it a try for the first time.
Senior Katherine Close has been on the team since she was a freshman. She takes it seriously, but also participates to have fun. Her events are the four-by-two, the 200 sprint, javelin and long jump. Over the years she’s realized that track and field is more of an individual sport, but that the support from a team is still there.
“I like when you’re coming into the finish line, even if you come in last, and everyone is cheering you on,” she said. “You feel like you’ve done well.”
She’s hoping to throw the javelin to the 85-foot mark this year, and that her four-by-two relay team makes it to the state championships. Last year, the relay team made it to Tri-districts.
Senior Willie Blackmon also returns to the team. He’s shattered the school record and made it to state in the 300-meter hurdles the past three years.
“I just want to make everyone whose helped me get to where I am proud,” Blackmon said. “I’m really excited about all the fresh new faces and talent.”
Scheffer is also optimist about some of the newcomers. He’s not naming names, but is hoping some will go on to compete in post-season play.
“We have some really young, talented athletes,” he said.
For now, it’s all about training and setting individual goals for each athlete. For some that means achieving their personal best time, for others that just means learning what it’s like to be part of a team and to prepare for an athletic event.
Scheffer has help when it comes to coaching. Herb Mason is the assistant coach, Nathan Finn and Rebecca Clark are volunteers. Finn was a thrower in his track days, and Clark ran track in college. Her events were the long jump, high jump, and hurdles. They will focus on their areas of expertise and the athletes competing in those events.
— Emily Greenberg