By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Out in Olympic Stadium, on one of the nicest days in the year to this point in the young Track and Field season, the Sprague Olympians look to continue their momentum behind a mixture of young and experienced athlete’s on the squad.
But one of the things that stuck out to Sprague Head Coach Brent Charles was the team’s leadership during Tuesday’s icebreaker between McNary and McKay.
“As for our icebreaker, one of the things that totally showed up is just leadership,” said Charles. “We’ve seen a lot of older kids taking the younger kids under their wing and showing them the ropes, so that really made the meet nice to see not a lot of coaches going and initiate a lot of the kids are taking leadership themselves and making sure grabbing the other group.”
That leadership Charles was speaking of starts on the top with the coaching staff. Tom Jimenez, former Head Coach at Sprague, and an Oly Graduate, returns to the Olympians after a stint coaching elsewhere.
Jay Minyard, Sprague Head Football Coach is coaching the sprint team, and Charles is praising the Olympian coach with his wealth of knowledge.
Moving into the players.
Leah Olivo, Sprague’s Greater Valley Conference champion in the Triple Jump and finished 14th in State as a junior in 2015, has been praised by her coach on her leadership for the younger athletes around her.
“She is like another coach on the field for the young jumpers,” said Charles. “Leah is going to have a good year, she’s a little faster, a little stronger than we’ve ever seen her and she had a great year last year, so we’re excited her about her too.”
Other seniors expecting to contribute and help the youngins features distance runners in Gillian Griffin and Gillian Berry in the 1500 and 3000 meter events.
Braden Garner is going to do the same on the Boys side of the roster with his leadership in the longer distance while SJ Oum and Andrew Weaver will do the same on the guys sprinters end.
“Both of them have taken ownership in our big group there,” said Charles on Oum and Weaver. “They’ve been doing really well there.”
Some newbies and young athletes Charles is high on features freshman Ginger Murinek (1500meters), freshman Megan Blaus and Lucas Schnell to join Natalia Cedillo-Rodriguez in the hurdles.
Alexa Smith (mid-distance runner), Dylan Smith (Shot Put), Kyle Rosenau (Shot Put).
Not to mention Austin Kleinman, who finished fourth in the State Tournament in 2015 as a sophomore in the discus.
Overall, Charles is confidence that with his team, an estimated 140 in all will help the Sprague Olympians reach the promise land.
The GVC District Title behind their strength and leadership.
“Our number one goal is always to compete for the District Title, that’s our number one goal,” said Charles. “We’ve got areas of strength.
“What I love about (Track) is the fact that we have older kids helping coach the younger kids. Not just a coach yelling or instructing, but giving those older kids to help instruct the younger kids helps them out as well.”