New season, new opportunities: Track and Field athletes welcome new distance coach
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With track season approaching, long distance runners will be under the direction of a new coach. After two years of assistant coaching, math teacher Alexa Hoffman will take over Craig Christians’ role as head distance coach.
“I’ve gotten a lot of information from previous coaches to assist me in the training,” Hoffman said. “We have a great crew on the coaching staff; everybody’s there to back us up.”
Although Hoffman already has experience with the team, she plans to bring new training techniques to her long distance athletes.
“I want to improve our lap time, to bring it down so we can compete more with other schools who run faster distances than we do,” Hoffman said. “We will do more track work, compared to just distance running. So, more interval work, rather than just running five miles at a time.”
Athletes who have run track in previous seasons held certain expectations for their coaches. Senior Kyla Lowenstein felt that coaching was in direct correlation with her success as a runner.
“From a coach I need the intensity,” Lowenstein said. “I’ve had coaches in the past where their practices were really hard, but it helped a lot.”
In agreement with Lowenstein, sophomore Caleb Williams also appreciated a coach who knew the “small stuff,” the techniques specific to long distance running.
“I need someone who knows what they’re doing, has a lot of experience, and someone who knows how to set up workouts designated to your level of skill,” Williams said.
Williams did recognize the necessity of a coach who is well-versed in distance running, but felt that success was ultimately up to the individual.
“It’s a lot about what you do for yourself, but coaching is still important,” Williams said. “I think it’s 70 percent you, 30 percent coaching.”
Both athletes were hopeful for the upcoming season, expressing that the coaching change could potentially “improve the [distance] program.”
“I think that it will be good to have something new, not because the last couple of years have been bad or good,” Lowenstein said. “I don’t think that part matters. It’s more of just having someone new that has more to bring to the table. I think that’s what the distance team needs.”
Hoffman was equally optimistic about track season; she was anxious to start “working on getting faster.”
Overall, athletes viewed the new season as an opportunity to come together with their teammates and coach to work toward one common goal: success.
“It’s good to have that closeness with your teammates and your coach,” Lowenstein said. “It makes your team so much stronger, and when you have a strong team, it’s easier to cheer each other on and to help out one another. It bonds everybody together, making you more successful in your individual events.”