Championships aren’t new to Brian Harrod.
In 13 years, the Okemos High School boys track and field coach has led the Chiefs to five CAAC Blue titles. And heading into this season, Harrod had a feeling his team would be ready to take the next step.
“Being in Division 1, it’s so tough at the state level,” said Harrod, whose team captured its first Division 1 regional crown in school history. “We knew coming in that we could have a special season with the seniors we had coming back. They had big years as juniors … and it turned out to be a pretty big season.”
With the return of all-state selection Kael Fineout and other senior standouts, Harrod, the LSJ boys track and field coach of the year, put more responsibilities on his team’s shoulders in practice and during competition. And it worked out.
After winning the Michigan State University outdoor meet and capturing yet another league title, he could see they were responding to his wishes.
“I let the seniors take ownership of things,” he said. “Our captains were outstanding.
“The level of dedication has improved over the past couple of years. The team aspect, doing things for the team first, really has been the difference the past couple of seasons.”
Harrod hopes this season will be the climax of his program. And going forward, even with a heap of seniors gone to graduation, he believes state-level success will continue with the personnel he has at his disposal.
“You always hope you’ve laid the foundation and that the kids buy-in,” Harrod said. “It’s really up to them and their dedication. I have kids working out now throughout the summer in preparation for cross country, but with track in the back of their mind.
“Our assistant coaches have made sure our kids are prepared. They’ve been pivotal in our success.”
Contact James L. Edwards III at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JLEdwardsIII.