Cougars leaning on vets to guide them

Friday, March 29, 2013
In the county track meet last year, Alex receives a hand-off of the baton during a relay. Land, a sophomore, will be counted on for more leadership as she goes through her second year. (Banner Graphic Archive/CAINE GARDNER)

ROACHDALE -- There may be no single sport that requires as much precision and expertise as track and field. Each event is vastly different and requires an entirely unique set of fundamentals and skills.

North Putnam girls' coach Kevin Lutes knows that, and he knows that trying to guide a team of so many, across such large space of land, is a difficult task.

That's why he's glad his seniors have stepped and taken the reins for their own event.

"Pretty much in every event we've got returning juniors and seniors that make it a lot better for the underclassmen that are coming up," Lutes said. "We're kind of short on coaching in different areas so that's very helpful to me."

Several are sharing what they've learned from the past four years to help grow the program.

Audrey Healey has taken leadership of the high jumpers. Although the event is new to her, she is helping the large group of underclassmen stay focused, Lutes said.

Josie Parent has lent her technique and teaching to the discuss throwers, a talented but young group.

And Sam Lucas, the Cougars only returning regional qualifier, has taken a leadership role with the shot putters.

"It's so helpful that rather than me just preaching what they should be doing, they set an example and it hits closer to home," Lutes set.

The Cougars have modest goals this year, striving to get better as individuals. Lucas will be in a position to return to regionals in the shot put, but Lutes said he is hoping a few more can make that leap by the end of the season.

"We'd like to get a couple more people to regionals," he said, "and we'd like to improve on our finishing in the county."

North Putnam will struggle to get significant team success because of a few holes in events that will make scoring points difficult, but Lutes said he is looking forward to seeing where the season goes.

"We've got a lot of new girls this year, so we're spending a lot of time getting form down," he said. "They're hard-workers."

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