Chippewa Valley boys and girls track and field each come away with league championships

By: Mark Vest | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published June 19, 2013

Winning a league title is a nice way to get a program off to a good start, and Chippewa Valley track and field coach Terry Wilson, who completed his first year at the helm, had two teams accomplish that feat, as the boys and girls squad each came away from the season as Macomb Area Conference Blue Division dual-meet champions.

To the best of Wilson’s knowledge, it is the first time in program history that both the boys (4-1, co-MAC Blue champs with Fraser) and girls (5-0) teams have won a league title in the same season. And while it may be possible for some teams to get by on mere talent, Wilson thinks his teams had more going for them than just that.

Winning a league championship is something that he thinks  meant a lot to his squad.

“We had a lot of competitive people on our track team, boys and girls,” he said. “Once they saw they had a chance, they turned up their intensity. They worked hard. We put (them) through some very hard practices. Some of (them) limped off the track, but they finished every workout rep that we had with them, and we were successful because of that.”

Before the season started, Wilson said he told his girls team, which also won a league title last season, “The true test of a champion is not winning a championship; it’s how many times you repeat.”

With the girls team having proven itself capable of doing just that, it will be the boys turn to go for a repeat of their own next season.

And while winning a league championship on the girls side was a goal, Wilson wasn’t sure about the boys’ prospects for coming away with a title. But after seeing them in their first race of the first meet, Wilson said he told them he had a “gut feeling” after that very first race that they would be successful.

Wilson also thinks that the success the girls team has had may have helped provide motivation for the boys. He was pleased with the kind of dynamic he saw on his team.

“I told (them) at our first meet that I wanted to create like a family-type atmosphere,” he said. “But they had to buy into it. They bought into it, and we were successful because of that, I think.”

Good leadership can go a long way toward winning championships, and Wilson expressed appreciation for what his senior captains meant to the program. Adrian Hulaj, who finished second in the long jump at the Division 1 state final; Graylyn Claiborne; and Evan Belleville were the captains of the boys team, with Caitlin Pertler and Kaleigh Roberts in that role for the girls.

“They did everything I could ask,” Wilson said. “I chose them to be captains of the team. I put them in leadership roles, and they excelled at it. I think that’s one of the main reasons why we were so successful.”

While Chippewa might be looking for some new captains to help lead the way next season, Wilson expressed optimism about the state of the Big Reds’ program going forward.

“Our track team is young,” he said. “We’re (going to) have a very strong junior class of boys and girls next year, so I think we should be competitive next year, as well. After that, we have to keep the program going and keep building it.”