Keeping Track of Changes

Laurel Westerman, Staff Writer

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Strong leadership is an important aspect of any organized activity, especially one requiring huge investments of time into practice, individual training and competitions, like the girls track and field team. With the recent retirement of its head coach, some have wondered, “Will we recapture our strong leadership?”

Last year, the MN girls head track coach Mindy Reed retired, leaving a gap in leadership. The new head coach, Monte Scheef, is a former assistant coach to the team, who instructed alongside Reed for over 20 years. With the spring season having only recently started, the members of the girls track team have only had a short amount of time with him acting as head coach, yet most are optimistic about the change.

“He’s a familiar face to the girls. Often times it’s hard to adjust to a new coach or coaching style, so it’s nice to have the same continuity of coaching.  He’s been here for many years and coached with Reed. Even though Reed’s not here, it’s still like the program we’ve come to love that she created,” junior Miranda McDaniel said.

Reed was appreciated by seemingly everyone on the team, both as a person and a coach. She and Scheef emphasize the importance of being multi-sport athletes, and Reed was known to find students and recruit them for track. Sophomore Asia Bryant was approached by Reed while playing on the basketball team.

“She brought a lot of us together [and] she knew what she was talking about. We all really trusted her,” Bryant said.

Reed truly cared about the team, and the relationships between the girls and her was based on mutual respect and trust.

“Everyone loved Reed on the team. She’s such a great coach. She really cared for all the girls on the team. I don’t think that it’ll be any different with Scheef. I think he still really cares for the team and the girls just like Reed did.” McDaniel said.

There are similarities between the former and current head coaches, especially after teaching together for so long. They value a lot of the same things, like encouraging students to become multi-sport athletes. Both take a more holistic approach to coaching, focusing on the individual as a whole than just athletic ability.

“Coach Reed and I came at the same time, so we had very much the same philosophies and ideas of what this sport should or could look like, how to treat the girls, and how to expect high things out of our student athletes, not just as athletes, but as people. They’re good students,  a good community,” Scheef said.

Another change stems from distance coach Robin Lenz also retiring from the team last year. She was replaced by Coach Emily Janda, who also coaches our cross country team.

“All the distance girls were pretty sad about this because we all really loved her and her teaching style. We [also] like Janda and she knows us as runners, because obviously she’s our cross country coach,” McDaniel said.

However, there are some reservations the girls have. Scheef also is a physical education teacher at Bryan Elementary School, which has the potential to cause issues between himself and the team, even with a lot of information and their forums online.

“Because Scheef doesn’t teach in the building here, it’s not as easy to contact him so that’s kind of something that’s a little more difficult. If we need to talk to Scheef or whatever, we can’t just go see him, so that’s something that could be a little bit of a challenge,” McDaniel said.

Scheef acknowledges that not teaching at MN could pose a problem, but he is confident in his solutions.

“It’s going to  be an issue, but I don’t know if it’s going to be a big one. It’s something that’s going to take some organization and help. I have three coaches in the building that have already stepped up. They helped a ton last year, and they know the situation.They’ll be wonderful. I know the administration is gonna help me out, also,” Scheef said.

With this team of assistant coaches,  administration, and a dedicated head coach, it seems like “strong leadership” never really left.

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Keeping Track of Changes