Track is back.
By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
After vacating the program after the 2006 season, and co-oping with Dickinson Trinity, track and field has made a return to the town of New England.
The move came after dissolution conversations began with Dickinson Trinity. Superintendent Kelly Koppinger said that when the students were surveyed, interest was overwhelmingly positive for participation if the Tigers had their own team.
So the decision was made to field a team from New England, and coach Shawn Flaherty said he’s really pleased with the number of students out for the team. In total Koppinger said there were 12 students on last year’s team, this year there are 43 out for the sport.
“I’m really pleased with the number of kids we have out right now,” Flaherty said. “I couldn’t be more happy.”
Flaherty is the coach of the boy’s team and Jordyn Bender coaches the girl’s team. Flaherty did say that even though they have their coaching designations, the two work together with both squads. He didn’t have the exact number breakdown, but Flaherty estimated that two-thirds of the athletes are girls and one-third are boys.
Mostly they have been working on endurance. The team has invited a guest instructor to hold a kind of workshop on throwing javelin. The school also transported students to Dickinson in order to make use of some of their facilities. Flaherty said some of the coaches from Dickinson High and Dickinson State University have been kind enough to show the students some of the field events like shot put and discus. The team has been able to bring that training back to New England with them, so they can practice on their home field behind the high school.
Randy Gordon, the Business and Technology teacher with New England, has been working with team on strength and conditioning. Gordon has taken time before and after school hours to help the team get in shape.
Flaherty hopes that the work these athletes are putting in now will benefit other New England sports.
“It’s obviously going to help all of our other programs as well,” Flaherty said.
The team is not short on enthusiasm, and Flaherty said that the students are excited to compete.
“Like I said, we’re excited about [the season],” Flaherty said.
The track season opens Saturday, April 9 with the junior high traveling to Dickinson and the high school heading to Hazen.
Overall the junior high team is tentatively scheduled for seven meets with the high school slated to compete in 11.
As the team looks to the future, Flaherty said this isn’t a one and done situation, they are looking to build the program.
“We’re not looking for this to just be a one year thing,” Flaherty said.