Track may be filled with individuals and their individual efforts, but it can still be a team sport.
It certainly requires a team of coaches to lead a team, and Becky Huey knows that, as the co-head coach for the Capitan Tigers this season.
Huey, who has led the team since last year, is nominally in charge of the boys, while Kim King – Capitan’s cross country coach – leads the girls.
But Huey knows the delineation isn’t that clear.
“It’s a collaborative effort. I help the girls, she helps the boys and vice versa,” Huey said. “We’re a team.”
Huey needs the help, because there’s a lot of kids out for track this season. However, they’re all still very young.
The Tigers are benefitting from a burgeoning middle school program that has been feeding a whole lot of kids into varsity.
“There’s a lot of freshmen,” Huey said. “There’s a ton of kids out, at least 15 boys and probably that many girls. I’m not even sure how many girls are out here. We’ve just got a lot of them. It’s great.”
Whether all those numbers mean more State qualifiers has yet to be seen. Huey is hard pressed to make any kind of prediction because it’s still so early in the season.
“We’ve only had our entire team for a day or two,” Huey said, shortly after the Tiger basketball teams’ season ended in the District 4-3A tournament. “Also, some of the kids are splitting their time with baseball this year. We’ll see how that works out.”
In a school the size of Capitan, having baseball and softball at the same time as a full track program can be a drain on all sports, but Huey is optimistic the kids splitting their time might actually help.
“I think the cross training will be perfect. Track goes hand in hand with any sport,” Huey said. “Any time kids can run and have proper form and be working on quickness, that does nothing but enhance any of the other sports.”
Capitan’s season starts March 17 at the Demon Relays in Dexter. It’s a meet they – and several other teams from the area – usually head to.
There’s also many familiar stops along the way this year, including the Alfalfa Capital Relays in Hagerman, the Carrizozo Grizzly Relays, the Rose Relays in Tularosa, and Capitan’s own Tiger Invitational on April 25.
That’s a lot of meets facing off against a lot of the same teams, but Huey said the competition is still fierce.
“The Demon Relays usually has a lot of teams from the east side of the state. It’s always a great meet,” Huey said. “We’ve also got Fort Sumner in there to see teams from even further east. It’s still a pretty tough schedule.
“At this point, it’s all about getting the kids qualified for State,” she added.
Just getting out of district will be a challenge. The 4-3A landscape includes Dexter, Eunice, Loving and Tularosa – a series of very strong programs.
“It will be one of the toughest district meets we’ve had in a long time,” Huey said.
“The goal will be to get the kids qualified before the district meet. We’ve got some pretty fired up kids, and we’ll just have to wait and see.”