Track team set for state meet
"Our kids in Jamestown, despite not having a track, they do very well," Alfred said. "We may be small in numbers, but the kids usually place in their events."
The scoring for the middle school teams is different from the high school dual meet scoring because there is no team score kept at regular meets.
Alfred said the scoring is on the honor system, with kids reporting the scores to the coaches after their events.
The only event where a team score is recorded is at the state meet, which will be held over two days next week. The first day of competition will be in Smithfield and the second day will be in South Kingstown.
"Right now we have a handful of kids who have qualified for the state meet, but I suspect there will be a few more who will qualify at the next meet," Alfred said.
One of the team's strengths is in the short distances, and there are several students who have qualified at the 100- and 200-meter distances.
"We also have some strength in the throwing events. We have two really good turbo javelin throwers and a really good shot-putter," the coach said. "Both Dan Hanson and Ben Thompson are both going to the state meet for throwing events."
Hanson is also a long-distance runner and will be representing Lawn in the 3000- meters.
Eighth-grader Jessica Brown, along with Thompson, are strong possibilities to score points for the team in the sprint distances. Brown will also be competing in the shot put.
Danny Bailey, a seventh grader, has already qualified at the 800- meter distance and Alfred said he expects him to make the cut in the hurdles as well.
Nicole Perez and Katie Schnack, both seventh graders, will help round out the scoring for the team.
One secret to the team's success, Alfred said, is that he tries to keep things informal.
"I give them all a chance to do everything," he said. "I find I get more participation and effort if I let them choose the events they want to do."
He said because so many of the athletes already play another sport, they are already in good shape, so he focuses on drills to increase speed and performance.
Improvisation is sometimes needed for the team to practice without a track, but the team is able to practice all of the events with a little modification.
"We have all new equipment and we set the hurdles up in the grass so they can practice them," Alfred said. "We even have a long jump pit filled with sand that Mr. Kitts set up for us."
He has marked the street for the 100- and 200-meter races, so the runners will be able to practice with accuracy.
Training athletes for 17 different events is not an easy job, and Alfred said he would welcome volunteers to help with the team.
One thing he tries to impart to the team is that track is a team sport, but they can also succeed individually with hard work.
"The nice thing about track is that you are not competing against someone else, but against the clock and against yourself," Alfred said. "The harder you work, the faster your times are going to get and you will see that instant success in yourself."