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Coach says bar raised for Springfield boys track team

4/17/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield boys track head coach Kevin Gorby said the team’s No. 1 goal this season is to challenge for the league title.

“We are looking to step up from where we were last season,” he said. “We’re a Division I program now — we aren’t Division II any longer — so we are going to have to step up both our work and our expectations of ourselves. And my expectation of this boys team is to be able to challenge by the end of the season. That means hard work — hard, constant work — and dedication to the program. If we can do that, I think we’ll see some great things come championship time.”

The first-year head coach said he has seen consistent improvement from his athletes from his first day in practice to where they are now.

“We started off easy and slow in the first couple of practices. The practices were really light, and the kids were probably surprised by how easy it was,” he stated. “But if you look now, it is nothing like that. These kids are out running multiple repeats on the track and having big-time weight-room workouts. What we’ve seen is change and improvement in leaps and bounds.”

Those improvements have left the team “very excited” about what they can accomplish, Gorby said.

“You can tell how excited they are, and you know how you can tell? Nobody misses anything,” he said. “They show up at every practice. Nobody misses practice and nobody misses meets. They show up on time, ready to go. Why? They want to see what’s going to happen next. That’s the excitement level that success brings. If you are doing poorly, nobody wants to show up because they know what’s coming. But when you start doing well and everybody’s improving, you want to be part of that.”

Some of Springfield’s individual track athletes to watch this season, Gorby said, include: David Carlyn and James Williams in distance; Tyler Banig, Noah Delaney and DeAndre Andrus in sprints; and Danny Mook and Josh Hako in shot put.

“Those are the guys that, right now, that when we get to the weekend, you know they’re going to be big players in what we’re doing,” said the coach, before adding he expects numerous athletes to make their mark on the team throughout the season. “We’ve got some freshmen that are leading our program. We have some sophomores that are leading our program. It’s a young team, and we are succeeding through hard work. It’s not always about experience. These guys aren’t always looking at somebody else and asking, ‘Well, what’s he doing?’ They are working and doing it for themselves.”

According to Gorby, all of the team’s athletes — no matter their level of experience — are “new to the intensity the program is seeing this year.”

“The bar has been raised this year. That’s one of the key factors that makes this season different than previous years,” he said. “There is no time to have a down day. You have to bring your ‘A-game’ on a consistent basis, and the boys have been doing it every day in practice. They are really working hard and they are focused. Plus, we have some good leadership from some boys who are working to get everyone on the same page.”

Overall, Gorby said, the future looks strong for the Springfield boys track team.

“The numbers are very, very good,” he said. “We’re up in the 40s for the boys. An unbelievable amount of kids came out, and the nice thing is that they’ve pretty much all stuck it out. They’ve been working hard — hitting the classrooms hard and hitting the track hard in practice — and I think everyone will agree that it’s been a very good start to our season.”

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