"It's not what you do April 1; it's what you do in late May," said Coons.
The Eagles have 33 boys out for track this year, about one third of whom are seniors. This should indicate a balanced attack. Across the board, in both running and field events, Coons has a good mix of kids of different ages he expects to compete.
"We have a good mix of everything."
On the running side, Coons looks for his distance runners to be strong. Led by senior Heath Pruitt, the core group also includes sophomores Tyler Heavin and Jacob Parker, as well as freshman Dylan Hayes. While the coach did not specifically name anyone who would be strong in any specific distance, he looks for this group to compete in all distances 800 meters and above.
"We'll be better able to identify who's going to run where once we get into the season," said Coons.
In terms of sprinters, Coons admitted he would miss some of last year's seniors.
"We lost a lot of speed last year, but that doesn't mean we won't be okay by the end of the year," he said.
On the speed front, the Eagles will be led by junior Josh Sanders. He identified Sanders as the team's main source of speed and called him an all-around good athlete.
"Sanders will be our top sprinter, and we have three or four other people vying for the other positions."
The coach also believes his main hurdlers, senior Zach Miller and junior Allen Riddell, will give him some good performances.
"I really expect them to be pretty successful this year. They are going to be our keys in both hurdle events," said Coons.
In the long jump and high jump, South has a number of individuals who will compete as both jumpers and runners. In the high jump, seniors Cody Terry and Ryan Flora will lead the way. Junior Derek Tomaw will be both a long jumper and runner.
A stable of young men are trying the pole vault this season. Among them are senior Ian Redman and sophomore Curtis McKinney. Coons feels most confident in sophomore Dane Nelson, who was conference champion in the vault as a freshman. He looks to improve on his winning height of 10 feet six inches.
For throwing events, Coons has some veterans anchoring his team with the younger kids also trying to step in. In the discus, Shane LeRoy and Gary Wade will lead the way. On the shot put, senior Brandon McKee is the main threat. Freshman Adam Masters looks to keep pace with his elders in both events.
"I think Adam will help us in both the shot and discus," said Coons.
Across the board, Coons looks for his underclassmen to push the older kids as well as coming into their own.
"We just have some young kids who have the opportunity to step up and be an integral part of what we do."
The Eagles' season outlook depends largely on exactly how much these athletes can progress. Coons expects to be competitive; he is just waiting to see how the year comes together.
"Progress is what we're looking for. It's just going to depend on our level of achievement up the ladder.
"You always look forward to a new season and seeing where you are going to go with your team," said Coons.
The Eagles' begin their season April 5 at 4:30 p.m., hosting Northview and Owen Valley.