It’s one of oldest cliche’s in sports but not even West Creek boys’ track coach Josh Stoeckl could help eluding to the fact that his team had potential
“On paper,” Stoeckl said.
But paper and reality are two vastly different things.
“Paper and production are too,” Stoeckl said. “I knew we were good. How good? We had to find that out but the coaching staff had a sense that we could win a lot of meets.”
West Creek won all of its regular season meets, finishing 8-0. It’s only setback was a fourth place finish in the sectionals.
“Everyone knows our section is full of great athletes,” Stoeckl said. “We send a ton of athletes to state and often you see times from other state qualifiers around the state and that would be the fifth or sixth best time in our section.”
Stoeckl has been named The Leaf-Chronicle All Area Boys’ Track Coach of the Year. The award is selected by the newspaper’s sports staff while the All Area Track Team is chosen by the area’s athletics directors.
“I feel fortunate because we have great coaches at West Creek and in the track program and it’s a collaborative effort,” Stoeckl said. “It also helps when you have great athletes and have a deep group.”
The Coytoes lost several seniors from last year’s team but returned several more for this season. That allowed his depth to be backed by experience and a group that had bought into Stoeckl’s system when he arrived three years ago to head the program.
West Creek benefited from the talent of athletes like Jalen Thompson, DeAnthony Smith and Phillip Smith. The latter Smith proved a revelation, advancing to state in his first year in track. But it was the selflessness of athletes like Thompson that allowed West Creek to shine.
“Jalen ran the 4×100, 4×200 and the 200 meters,” Stoeckl said. “Then we asked him, this year, to give up the open 200 to help fill some holes in our 4×400 relay team. He agreed and then went out and ran a 51-second split for us. That’s the kind of attitude that we want from our athletes in this program.”
Stoeckl knows the foundation has been set with this past season’s success and although he’ll lose the majority of his talent from this past spring, he’ll have Phillip Smith returning along with Anthony Ledet and long distance star, Alex Haycraft.
“We won’t be rebuilding as much as retooling,” Stoeckl said.