With the first track meet now behind them and a long list of meets still left, new coach Sedrick Williams and his Henry County Cats are eager to get the program headed in the right direction.
Williams took over the Henry track team in February with a long-term approach for a program that has had three head coaches in as many years. His focus: building a foundation and progressing each year.
“I didn’t just sign up for one year to coach. It’s a passion of mine,” said Williams, who grew up in New York and was a college athlete at a small college in New York, Lindsey Wilson and Kentucky Wesleyan College. “I took the position to be the head coach, period. My focus is to be more consistent, build a foundation and work on that. And I want to surround myself with coaches and athletes with that same mentality.”
The Cats opened their 2010 season at the Carroll County All-Comers last Thursday night, and they will follow with a complete schedule this spring that includes the Wildcat Relays on April 10, the regional championship in late May and the state meet for those who qualify in early June.
Williams was named the new head coach in October and he decided to start practice on Feb. 22, skipping indoor season to focus on the outdoor meets. So far, he likes what he has seen.
“I think practices have been going well,” he said in a recent interview. “The turnout has been great and the effort has been there.”
Last spring, Henry sent five athletes to the Kentucky State Track and Field Championship. Brittany Crawford finished second in the 100-meter hurdles and 10th in the 300-meter hurdles; Travis Farmer and Alexa King both finished seventh in the pole vault; Jared Singleton finished 11th in the pole vault; and Cassey Fischer finished 13th in the 3,200-meter run. Crawford, Farmer, King and Fischer all are back for another go around this spring.
Crawford, who barely missed out on becoming the first individual state champion from Henry County since the 1970s, is considered one of the favorites to win the state title in the 100-hurdles; Farmer and King are both at the top in Class 2A in the pole vault and will also run individual and relay events; and Fischer, who is the school record holder in the 3,200-run, returns as the top distance runner with hopes of a another trip to the state meet.
On top of those four athletes, Robbie McClesky has high goals in the 400-meter open and long jump, Erick Butler is a key contributer in the sprints and field events, and Eric Phillips is the top boys’ distance runner who is the most improved from a year ago.
At the first meet last week, the biggest surprise came from the boys’ 1600-meter relay team, which ran away with an easy victory in what might have been a new school record of three minutes, 49 seconds. The relay, in order of positions, included McClesky, Farmer, Matt Petree and Phillips.
The first big meet for Henry is at the Central Invitational this Saturday in Louisville. After that meet, Williams said he will have a more accurate projection of his first season.
“My goal and expectations for the athletes are to have more consistency than they’ve had in the past and to take between four and six atheltes to the state meet in individual events,” Williams said of how he thinks this seaons will play out. “I want to build on the foundation we set in these early practices and get better as the season goes on.”