Coaches Corner with Girl’s Track & Field – John Barthels
The ReSporter: This will be the most anticipated Track Season for the ladies in the past 10 years….give us a reason to be excited.
Coach Barthels: “For starters we only graduated 4 seniors last year. The track program as a whole has slowly, but surely been improving each of the past few years. We have had some individuals that have done well in the past, but this year we have more athletes that are dedicated to the program and the word is spreading that we can compete with anyone we run against.”
The ReSporter: Your JV Team last year was strong and you did not lose very many seniors….is it easier to start the younger athlete for another event or is the maturity of the older student a better fit for maximizing your points?
Coach Barthels: “That all depends on the athlete. Take Alyssa Strickland for example. She ran most of the year on the JV continuously improving her time in the 100 Hurdles, she moves up to the varsity a week before district, wins the district and the area meet and competed at the regional meet. That meet was the only meet that she did not improve her time. She did an outstanding job and I now know that success early as an individual will mean more in the long run for the team. We have more and more girls participating each year and this allows them to focus more on certain events instead of me “having” to place them in an event they may not be as strong in just to fill a spot on the roster.”
The ReSporter: How many ladies do you think will participate this year and what area will be your weakest and strongest?
Coach Barthels: “As of this article I have 72 girls signed up. I expect it to be a solid number of 65 going into our first meet. As I stated before, the word is out that we are able to compete and this gets friends involved and allows us as coaches a chance to coach and not have to go looking for people to compete.”
The ReSporter: When you have that many competing, then it should make your year very busy because if the numbers are small it does not take as much time to strategize on who you will want to participate. How do you see this year in that respect?
Coach Barthels: “We have 8 girls running track that also play softball, 10 girls that also swim, and about 30 girls that are also involved in soccer, club, and sand volleyball. Not to mention those that work to help support their families, buying their cars, etc… It is very difficult as a coaching staff to work together and come up with a plan to get everyone participating as much as possible. I am not complaining, I wouldn’t trade this for anything. It obviously means something to the girls that they are willing to work out their schedules to give us the chance work with them.”
The ReSporter: Coaches have an idea of who they would like in certain events….how do you make decisions as many times an athlete might want to be in an event and you do not have them or need them in that race?
Coach Barthels: “I have a system that allows the girls to choose the events they would like to participate in and then base the events off of that. I do my best to get them into the events that I can, and then we go from there. By the time district rolls around and they have done a few events they may not have wanted to, they realize that we do have an idea of what they will be good at and after they work at that for a while, they buy into what we are doing for the team.”
The ReSporter: Last season you had a chance of having a sweep (1st/2nd/3rd) in the 200 meter run but decided to not use one of the girls in that race and switched to another….what goes into those type of decisions? A sweep would have 24 points for the team and lower the point totals for the competition.
Coach Barthels: “We spent hours compiling numbers last year and coming up with what ifs. When it comes down to it, we are looking at what will #1 help the team the most and then #2 what will get the most athletes the chance to participate in the regional meet with a chance at state.”
The ReSporter: Give us the other Coaches and what they will monitor.
Coach Barthels: “We have made a few moves this year. I will be working with sprinters/relays (triple jump) along with Coach Ridgway (high jump) and Coach Moses (long jump). Coach Hodges will be working with Coach Hooper with the throwers. Coach Greene will continue to work with hurdlers, Coach Means will continue to work with pole vaulters, and Coach Gallagher will continue to work with the distance runners.”
The ReSporter: Coach, do you have any final thoughts?
Coach Barthels: “I am looking forward to this season with very high expectations. We have a pretty tough district and area who always seem to have high quality runners. This could be our best year, but we will not be given anything, we will have to work for it and based off of what I know we are returning and the new runners that have joined, I am excited about this season.”
The ReSporter: Thanks Coach, it looks like it will be a fun season and Go Hawks!!