CLOVER — Jeremy Smith, head boys’ and girls’ track coach at Clover High School, said he is pleased with the level of participation this season.
“Our numbers are up,” Smith said before the March 20 three-way meet with South Point, N.C., and host York. “We have 120 participants in girls’ and boys’ track. You have to get the numbers up to build a successful track program.”
“We have a good many football players among the boys’ track participants. They need to be playing another sport,” he said.
Smith said there are so many events in track that it takes many repetitions to compete successfully.
Smith praised participants for making sacrifices to compete in a tough region. “Our kids have great work ethics,” he said.
Senior shot-put and discus thrower Trey Stevens is an example of that commitment. “I’ve already improved my best throws from last year,” Stevens said.
Stevens goes to the gym every school day in the offseason to work on technique, execution and conditioning. He also works out in summer.
“I have a summer job and go to the gym when I’m not working,” he said. “I want to do whatever it takes to be a better discus and shot-put thrower.”
Keith Pressley, a senior in his second year of varsity, runs the 100 and 200 meters.
“I look forward to the challenges a sprinter faces,” Pressley said. “It takes a lot of preparation and total commitment. You have to prepare in the offseason.”
Senior Emily Sparrow is a second-year girls’ varsity participant who runs the 3,200 and 1,600 meters. “I work hard to build the conditioning and stamina it takes to succeed as a distance runner,” said Sparrow. “It takes a lot of self-motivation. You have to accept the challenge.”
Sophomore Vanna Sands competes in the 400-meter run and is a member of the Lady Blue Eagles’ 4x400 relay team. “I train hard every day during the track season,” she said.
Sands said she also makes a year-round commitment to the sport. “I am involved in offseason training in the weight room as well as personal training,” she said.
Smith said improvement in track often comes at a gradual pace.
“I don’t want our kids to top out too soon,” Smith said. “I would rather they peak at the region meet.”
The Clover teams competed well in the March 20 meet at York, with the boys’ team second with 49 team points. The Clover girls also placed second, with 51 team points.