Track team off to good start

Orondo/Waterville Middle School track team with coach Mitch Meyers, far right, and assistant coach Leah Johanson, far left. (Darlene Paterson photo)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

The Orondo Middle School track team practices weekdays from 3 to 4:45 p.m. with meets on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons through mid-May. Students begin practice with stretching exercises, followed by a run around the track while waiting for their teammates from Waterville Middle School to arrive. Following warm-ups, the team gathers with head coach Mitch Meyers and assistant coach Leah Johanson for instructions and encouragement before beginning practice.

Coach Meyers said he attended Orondo Schools from kindergarten through seventh grade and graduated from Eastmont High School, where he played soccer and ran track. “I was recruited to play college soccer but due to injuries, I had an early retirement. I am home now but will probably go to WSU in the fall to finish my degree,” Meyers said. “My twin sister was head track coach at Orondo last year. Since she is attending Eastern, I thought I’d like to give it a shot this year. It has been fun to be coaching track at the place my schooling began.”

Assistant coach Johanson likes to get involved in all sports. “With track it’s really fun to see what the kids excel in based on their strengths,” she said. “Our team did well at Liberty Bell on April 23 considering it was our first meet. At Mansfield on April 30, many students beat their personal records. We also had someone placing in the top three in almost every event.”

“I like the diversity of track,” Meyers added. “Kids don’t all have to be fast runners to compete. There is an event for everyone. The kid who can throw farthest or jump highest has as much chance to place in an event as a runner. With coaching and practice, anyone can develop skill in their area of interest. Kids keep motivated by trying to beat their own personal records. We are pretty happy about our good turnout and excited to see how our season goes.”

Thirty students make up the team, with 10 from Waterville and the rest from Orondo.

Cameron Deeds, a seventh-grader from Orondo, said this is his second year running track. His favorite event is the 400 meter dash. Diego Castillo runs the 100, 200, 400 and his favorite, the 4×100 relay. He placed second in the 200 at the Liberty Bell meet. “The first two meets have been great and I really like running,” Castillo said. “I think we have a very competitive track team and good coaches.”

Upcoming meets the team will participate in are May 7 at Chelan, May 12 at Eastmont and May 14 at Bridgeport. All meets begin at 3:30 p.m.


Some team sprinters at practice. (Darlene Paterson photo)

Some team sprinters at practice. (Darlene Paterson photo)