By TJ Millman
The Milford High School Track Team has a long and proud history. Current Head Coach Patrick Helmick was a part of a State Championship team when he competed for Milford and is looking to get the Milford Track and Field Team back to their winning ways. Milford went 3-8 last year in an uncharacteristic campaign that left the Bucs with a hunger for revenge. As Helmick pointed out, the athletes are not solely to blame for their disappointing season.
“There has been a total of four head coaches in the last four years of the program, so these seniors have had to overcome a lot of instability,” Hemlick said. Such instability can hurt any program, but Helmick says that this has only strengthened his team’s perseverance.
Every coach brings their own philosophy to a team, and Helmick is no different. The goal for his program is simple. “We want our athletes to find personal improvement in their sport, and their education. For if the student is personally improving, the team will be successful.”
Placing the goal on personal improvement is an effective move because it allows each athlete to improve at their own pace. It is also refreshing to hear a head coach be concerned with his athletes’ education. It is easy to forget that these are student athletes, and it is important to remember that an education should come first.
Helmick’s priorities are also shown in his choice of captains. The captain for the Girl’s Team is junior Leah Barnett. Barnett is not only a stand out jumper, as well as being a phenomenal field hockey goalie, but she is also an Honors student in the top of her class. She exemplifies the ideal student athlete and is a model for others. The Boys Captain, senior Osvaldo Arias, is as exemplary as his female counterpart. Arias is a three year track veteran, a Conference Champion, and is also a SWEAT (Sacrifice, Wisdom, Eagerness, Attitude and Tenacity) program Leader.
Looking at this season, Milford will be fighting to be one of the top two teams in the Southern Conference. Helmick is also hoping for a top three finish at both the Conference and State meets. Milford begins their season against Smyrna on March 23 at home. Milford lost to Smyrna last year by a score of 89-50 and will have their work cut out for them again this year. Smyrna finished 12-0 last season and is expected to be dominant this year.
While athletes compete individually in Track and Field, Helmick makes sure that his team stays tight. Half of every practice is devoted to team exercises and all meetings involve the entire team. Milford Track and Field has a culture of being family-oriented, and it is important to Helmick that he maintains this tradition.
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