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Hondo still answering questions

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Joyce Ann Cooper, seen here running the 800-meter final at the Class 1A State meet last season, will again lead the Eagles on the track in her senior year.

It’s hard enough to prepare for a track season when you’re not sure what athletes you might have.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Kyra Lucero runs a relay during last year’s Capitan Tiger Invitational.

Now imagine trying to start a season not knowing what coaches you’ll have.

That’s the situation facing Hondo Athletic Director Brandon Devine with the onset of the spring.

“It just snuck up on us. We had a lot of changeover in coaching and teaching, and we were just going year by year,” Devine said. “If it comes down to it, I’ll step out there.”

Devine doesn’t want that to happen, of course, but he understands the difficulty of finding a good and dedicated coach to lead track.

“I want to give them the best advantage I can, realizing that track coaches don’t grow on trees,” Devine said. “Right now, most of our coaches are involved with basketball right now.”

That’s true of the athletes as well. Devine said he expects Kyra Lucero, Nina Herrera, Melissa Guillen and Joyce Ann Cooper to return, among others.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Nina Herrera is one of many talented athletes the Hondo girls will return to the track this season.

Cooper, in particular, was responsible for a majority of her team’s points at last year’s Class 1A State meet, finishing fourth in the 1,600-meters and high jump, third in the 800-meter and part of the 4×100 and 4×200 teams that finished sixth.

She’s part of a senior-laden team – be sure to add Chase Dicston to that roster – that hopes to go out with a bang in their final track and field season.

On the boys side, things are similar as with what happened in football and basketball – a lot of talent, but very little experience.

“We’re trying to count them up, including the eighth graders. They’ll be in the mix,” Devine said. “They’ve got talent, it’s just not developed yet. Although that talent can be expressed a little easier in track.”

Even during Hondo’s glory years – when they were winning football and basketball championships – getting boys out for a track season proved to be a struggle.

“I think it’s a perception thing,” Devine said. “The best teams in the past would rather play in Gus Macker and other events in the spring than run track.

“I hope there’s an attitude shift with this group of boys,” he added. “But I don’t really know yet.”

There is some experience, at least, as a few of the Eagles ran track while in junior high.

“I think, if they do hard work, they’ll be really successful,” Devine said. “We’ve got plenty of speed on both sides. I think we’ll be very successful.”

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