While the Red Devil baseball and softball teams have had to brave the elements here in the tail-end of winter, the Allen County track and field team is heating things up inside, making their way through the indoor portion of the track and field season.
“We got a late start because I’ve been by myself since December when my former assistant took the head coaching job at Fort Scott,” head coach Vince DeGrado said. “With 40 kids and just me, I decided to start later just to give me more time until our new assistant gets here.”
With the delayed start, DeGrado expected success to come slowly, especially throughout the early indoor portion of the season but the Red Devils have already had their share of qualifiers for the national meet in March.
“The kids have done a great job balancing out,” DeGrado said. “I think I’ve given some of them too much freedom. Their fitness isn’t where it needs to be and that’s about to change real quick. But the ones that are already having success are pretty self-motivated so they’ve met me halfway. We’ve gotten a lot of people qualified, more really than I expected. We’ve only been practicing for about a month.”
After experimenting with a “distance-heavy” philosophy over the last several years, the Red Devils are bringing in sprinter Dwight Davis as their new assistant coach to help bring a more balanced system to Allen County’s track team.
Davis ran collegiately at Alabama and South Florida.
With the success the Red Devil distance program has had over the past several years in both cross country and track, broadening the focus should get Allen County back in contention for track and field conference titles.
“We’re about to change the direction of the program,” DeGrado said. “Coach Davis is a sprinter so we’ll have more of a sprint and jump side. The distance-heavy thing that we were doing just wasn’t working like I thought. I want us to be a complete team. We’ll still be great in the distance races, maybe even better since I’ll be able to focus solely on that.
“I also noticed that some of the distance runners that ran cross country weren’t as serious about their training during track season. This will give the indoor part of the season meaning and it allows us to set a goal and try and go for conference championship like we do for cross country. Why wait around until next cross country season to try to excel again?”
The Red Devils will head to Cowley County on Thursday for the Last Chance Qualifier meet before competing in the NJCAA Indoor National Championships at Pittsburg State on March 3 and 4.
Below is a list of the athletes that have qualified so far this season:
Men’s qualifiers – 800 meters: sophomores Anthony Glasgow (154.07) and Ryan Yarde (156.17), and freshman Joshua Clethan; 1000 meters: freshman Yoel Yoel; mile: freshmen Joshua Doria (4:20.76) and Joshua Clethan (4:24.26); 5000 meters: sophomore Paul Becker (15:35.04), 4×400 relay team (3:19.96); distance medley (10:14.27).
Women’s qualifiers – 800 meters: sophomore Gemma Gonzalez (2:24.39), 1000 meters: freshman Betty Ramos; 3000 meters: sophomore Abby Steinhauser (10:54.74), sophomore Amber Gloria, 5000 meters: sophomore Abby Steinhauser (18:50.54), mile: sophomore Abby Steinhauser; distance medley (12:51.35), 4×800 relay team (9:59.97).
Stay connected to the stories and events that make your community a special place to call home.
Subscriptions start at $14.90/month.View subscription options
- Unmatched coverage of Allen County’s local news and sports, a tradition dating back to 1867
- Compelling portraits of our residents, experienced reporting and thoughtful analysis
- Unlimited online access to iolaregister.com and our archives