News: High School track team aims to defend Kanto League Championship during 2013 season
Story by Joseph Schmitt
YOKOSUKA, Japan – Nile C. Kinnick high school boys and girls track teams competed at Yokota Air Base track and field meet held at Yokota High School on Bonk Field.
The meet was the third of the season for Kinnick teams, with the season-opening meet held at Yokota Air Base, March 16. The entire staff has high hopes for this years’ crop of athletes after last years finish, as both boys and girls teams finished the season as the 2012 Kanto League Champions.
“Right now the team is extremely chocked full of returnees, so we do want to improve on last years’ finish which is going to be a tough goal because of last years strong finishes,” said Al Garrito, high school track teams head coach. “I am mainly talking in terms of performance at the Far East tournament, where our boys were the champions and the girls finished fourth. I would like the boys to continue what they did last year and I would like the girls to finish higher in Far East than fourth place. I think they are more than capable of doing that.”
Featured events during the meet were races in 100, 200, and 400 meters; long distance races in the 800 and 1600 meters; long jump, high jump, shot put and discus.
Garrito said that the teams’ preparation prior to the beginning of the 2013 season has been the key to their solid start.
“The [teams’] preparation has been awesome,” said Garrito. “I’m really glad that I have a whole bunch of veterans that are leading the way. When you have veterans who are leading the way, you always want people to follow, and fortunately, I have a whole bunch of young freshmen that are willing to follow. So I have been blessed this year with a great crew; probably one of the most talented all-around crews that I’ve had since I have been at Kinnick.”
Garrito said that the biggest strengths on both teams were difficult to access due to its overall depth of talent. Team members agree with their head coaches’ analogy.
“I think it is hard to point out any particular strength on this team, because I think we have good representation across the board,” said senior sprinter Quinton Holden. “We have a good group of underclassmen that I am confident will be able to make our school a championship threat in the foreseeable future.”
Garrito thinks that appreciation of his coaching staff and most importantly the support of the parents has been a key contribution in the readiness of Kinnick’s track and field program.
“The team is only as good as the assistant coaches and the support of all the parents coming every year is great,” said Garrito. “I think it is because the parents buy into what we’re selling as coaches which is self discipline, dedication, while teaching responsibility to the kids. They really have to own up to the goals that they have. We demand from our kids and not just on the field but in the classroom and behavior outside. This team is pretty much very family-oriented. I always say I ask of them what I think parents want me to ask of them, nothing more, nothing less.”
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