“I love being surrounded by people who work hard everyday to achieve similar goals and aspirations, and that is why I love track” said Sr. Anna Smagacz.
Smagacz has been running track since her freshman year and her love for the sport never ceases. Anna isn’t the only one who holds this love for the program: a familiar face on the track coaching staff, Johnny Bertrand, also shares this feeling. This year he has stepped up to take the challenge of being the head coach of the biggest sports program at DHS.
“The last few years I have taken on a little more responsibilities each year and I guess being the Head Coach was the next step” said Bertrand. Bertrand isn’t new to the DHS track program, but he is new to the responsibilities of being the head track coach, striving to be the best he can.
Meanwhile, Sr. Marcus Flint has had his run of track coaches at DHS, and shares similar virtues of a good track coach as Bertrand, “Someone who knows how to connect with their athletes but still acts like a coach, still maintaining authority, I feel like that is what makes a successful and good track coach” said Flint.
Bertrand has a history in track and field, running in highschool and in college, and has experience being the sprints coach at DHS for a while. Although he was coming into the head position with a background in sprints and less in distance yet he didn’t let this affect his coaching style.
“I think that yes, in the past we’ve had a coach who is focused specifically on the distance team, but even though Johnny is more experienced in sprints he still works hard to make sure we are all improving and are performing as well as we can” said Smagacz.
With that said, none of this slow Bertrand down, or the team for that matter, as they plan to reach their goals and find triumph in many different ways this season. He has big plans and goals for the athletes this season, planning on winning each individual battle one step at a time.
“Track and field is unique in that you can lose a race but still win personally with a new personal best. It is awesome to see an athlete when they improve on their time, height or distance and to share that experience with them” said Bertrand. Bertrand is determined to see his athletes improve and excel this season, creating an atmosphere where student athletes can work hard while getting better and better everyday.
“I would say that Johnny is pretty supportive and believes in all the athletes and will help every one of us reach our goals, but he also keeps us in line and I think it creates the perfect balance” said Smagacz. Yet, while Bertrand works to be victorious this season, he also works to be the best head coach he can possibly be, intent on making track a memorable experience, in a good way.
“Track coaches need to be able to make running fun. They need to be able to develop relationships with athletes so they want to come to practice. We don’t want any of our athletes to hate coming to practice,” said Bertrand.
Bertrand stands out against the previous track coaches in many significant ways. Since his coaching style is different, the athletes look forward to a new type of season.
“What makes Johnny stand out among the past coaches is he isn’t also the the cross country and I think that he is more experienced in track then the cross country, which can cause the season to be successful for many athletes” said Flint.
Everyone wants to be victorious in the things they do, and handling the massive team while trying to keeping track of the success of the team can seem like it would be difficult.
Yet, Bertrand believes that success can be measured in more than one way. “Obviously we are judged on how well the athletes perform but when the season is over I’ll look back and determine if our athletes are better people than when they started. Did they show respect for each other? Kindness? Did they support each other? Was it a positive experience for them? If the answer is yes then I will consider it to be a successful season.”