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Coed Varsity Track · Track coaches bringing added insight into second season at Bearden


In year two at the helm of the Bearden track program, coaches Patty Thewes and Ashley Powell will bring something to the team that they didn’t have a year ago – they now have in-depth knowledge about all of their athletes.

The coaches’ first season brought success, but in year two, knowledge and experience will help the Bulldogs and their coaches improve on and off the track.

“The best part of going into year two of coaching is knowing my athletes,” Coach Powell said. “I have been able to develop relationships with each athlete and knowing my athletes helps me to individualize training in order for each athlete to be successful.

“Each person cannot be trained the exact same way.”

Coach Thewes, Coach Powell, and Bearden have a little bit of a break after their meet at West on Tuesday. They will compete next at the Tennessee Relays, starting on April 9.

Though both coaches have been through two seasons coaching cross country at Bearden, cross country is different from track from a coaching standpoint.

“The team is almost twice as big, so I think it’s harder to have focused attention on every athlete,” junior runner David Shankles said. “Also, the races are shorter, so the workouts focus more on speed and less on endurance.”

Last season at the KIL Championships, the boys team finished second overall while the girls took fifth place.

The strong finish to last season is encouraging for the Bulldogs, but a championship is not the main goal for Coach Thewes in the 2015 season.

“Success in the classroom, first,” Coach Thewes said. “Skills learned in sport should enhance capability to succeed in the classroom and in life – not be a contradiction.

“A winning season is a byproduct of individual goal setting, appropriate work plan, and most importantly work ethic and commitment of student-athlete to program. Our goal is for all of our student-athletes to achieve their individual performance goals for the season. If this occurs, we will be successful.”

Added Coach Powell: “The ultimate goal for the team would be that each student-athlete is able to meet the season goals that he or she and I have set. I would also like to see the freshman and sophomore class athletes step up their leadership on the track team while also developing physically into stronger runners.”

But to the Bearden coaches, what goes on off the track is just as important as what happens on it.

“Knowing that being part of our team has made a positive difference in a student-athlete’s life whether by becoming a state champion or by an equally important life-changing experience that does not make the headlines [is the most rewarding part about coaching track],” Coach Thewes said.