Cougars hope for unbreakable drive
The North Putnam boys' track and field team is young but they have high hopes of building into a strong season.
The Cougars are loaded with underclassmen and preparing for an exciting -- though challenging -- year.
"Twenty of our kids are either freshmen or sophomores so this year will be an exciting process," NPHS coach Tony Gray said. "We have doubled our participation numbers since I came on board last year, so we are heading in the right direction by growing the program in numbers and quality of athletes."
Senior captains Eric Davis and Dalton Spear lead the squad and are helping to teach the less experienced athletes, including first year senior Joel Murray, the Cougar way.
The athletes will have help in doing that. In addition to Gray, the NPHS coaching staff includes four assistants: Linda Keuneke, who will help with middle- and long-distance; Brittany Nees, who is handling hurdlers; Ashley Moeller, working with high jumpers; and Brent McColgin, who helps with throwers.
"I'm excited about my 2013 coaching staff," Gray said. "This year I have the luxury of four assistant coaches who will be instrumental in the team's success"
The Cougars have a pair of meets in the books and are still finding footing, but they have established a motivation and a motto.
"Our rallying cry this year is MONPNBU," Gray said, "Which stands for, 'Men of North Putnam: Nothing Breaks Us.' The boys have to learn to be strong and fight through adversity in their academic, social, personal and athletic lives."
NPHS will be steadily improving throughout the season. The squad has no home meets this year, but that adversity could help the team prepare for later in the year.
"The key ingredient for the boys will be to have fun and compete with intensity," Gray said. "This year will be about the stopwatch and the tape measure. As long as we run faster and jump further, higher, today than we did yesterday, then we'll have success."