By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Being a Track and Field Head Coach now for seven years at Sprague High School and for the better part of 15 years Brent Charles has been through it all and it raises the question of, ‘What brings you back year-in, year-out?’
“Oh just being with the kids as a teacher and a coach this is what you live for,” said the Olympian Head Coach. “To work with kids and help them and see them do well. That’s what keeps me coming back.”
As he enters another year coaching the Olympian athletes, they are returning some great athletes from last year to help build up and lead by example with their first meet next Wednesday versus West Salem to kick off the season.
“It’s important to me because I’ve been doing track, track’s been my favorite sport,” said Keaton Beckmann. “I started with soccer and move to track and I really appreciate on being the leader than nothing else because I want to see everyone succeed and myself right? So it’s fun to teach people because I feel like I learn more when I do teach other people.
“So being able to break records and have my team with me to get them up there too to get points at the meets.”
For seniors Austin Kleinman and Kyle Rosenau, State Returners from last years Sprague squad; knows how important it is to lead by example this year as seniors.
“We have a pretty good overall team this year so I think it’s really important to…we’re one of the few returning guys who went to State so it’s really important to lead by example,” said Kleinman. “You know, put in that extra work, be one of the last people to leave and just kind of show them what it takes.”
On the girls side, 1500 and 3000 meter stud in sophomore Ginger Murnieks returns healthy after missing the end of last season due to injury as Charles mentions a three-headed monster of juniors with Emily Kraschel (sprints), Natalia Caedillo-Rodriguez (Hurdles) and Alexa Smith (200, 400) to go along with the speedy Murnieks.
A new face, yet very experienced in the Cross Country and Track and Field scene is Kaylee Mitchell, a transfer from Astoria High School. Last year as a sophomore, Mitchell finished second in the 4A 800 and 1500 meters race last year.
“I think she might be the one that helps us in the 8- and the 15-, then having Ginger in the 15 and the (3,000), I think we have a good little mixture there where we’re going to be pretty tough in those distance races,” said Charles of her.
Mitchell can bring in and share experiences of her State experience as the junior holds Astoria records in the 800 (2:16.51) and 1500 (4:41.47).
“It’s important to treat every meet…pretending your running at State and just imagining yourself, ‘oh this is what I’m going to be doing in a few weeks’ and that kind of stuff,” said Mitchell.
Sprague’s first meet of the year will be on March 15 with an Icebreaker versus West Salem at Olympic Stadium as they also host McMinnville (3/5) and West Albany (5/3) as the Olys will take part in the Titan Track Classic (4/7), Canby Invitional (4/14) and the Rob Allen Twilight (4/28).
But for the full schedule check it out at: http://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/School.aspx?SchoolID=274
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!
Extra Practice Pictures by Jeremy McDonald