Clinton TownshipApril 3, 2013
Chippewa Valley girls track sets out to defend league championship
By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer
Clinton Township Chippewa Valley’s girls track and field team is preparing to defend Macomb Area Conference Blue Division title.
Although first-year coach Terry Wilson said the team lost approximately 12 members from last season’s squad, Chippewa has 62 girls in place to try to make it another successful season.
The Big Reds went undefeated in league meets last year with a record of 5-0 (5-1 overall), and while it may be a tall order to duplicate that kind of success, Wilson is hoping his team is up to the challenge.
“Early in the season, when we started our weight training program, there was a lot of seniors coming to the weight training program, and that’s what they mentioned,” said Wilson, who was an assistant coach last season. “They (want to) win another championship. I told them the true test of a champion is not winning a championship, it’s how many times you repeat. Winning a championship with a young team, like last year, you’re kind of hopeful, (because) you’re not losing that much to graduation. And the girls who are left on the team have that taste of a championship, and they (want to) get another one.”
You can count senior captain Caitlin Pertler as one who has given some thought to going after back-to-back league championships.
“Last year was the first time we won the title in like 10 years, I think it was,” she said. “That was amazing. We had a lot of girls leave from last year, so we’re hoping we can still work together and get that title again.”
Although Chippewa’s roster may have a different look, there are still some remaining athletes, including five seniors. Wilson is looking to them to help lead the way.
“I’ve had discussions with them,” he said. “I want my seniors to step up. Sometimes, they have to lead practice. When I asked them if they felt they could get that accomplished, they all said yes. I think sometimes young teenagers look for somebody to lead them. And then a lot of times, leaders have to be taught how to lead.
“I keep in contact with the seniors. I talk to (them). ‘This is what I need from you. Let’s do this.’ All my seniors are hard workers, so that’s easy. They can lead by example. Sometimes, you have to lead by vocalizing.”
As one of the team’s seniors, Kayla Rubio would like to do her part to help lead some of the more inexperienced members of the team.
“I kind of feel like we’re their moms,” she said. “Like they need someone to push them along, so they can get started.”
While Wilson would like for Chippewa to take its shot at another league title, he also understands that accomplishing that feat isn’t likely to be an easy task.
“I think it’s going to be good competition,” he said of the MAC Blue. “Last year, even though our girls team went undefeated, we had some close meets. We had some meets that came down to the last race that we pulled out. I just want them to compete (until) the last event. Usually, all our meets are competitive.”
Aside from a league title, Wilson has even loftier ambitions for the program.
“I think my ultimate goal is to have our teams qualify for states,” he said. “I think having a large team and keeping everybody interested is conducive for being a championship team.”
Kaleigh Roberts, a senior captain, is also aiming high.
“My goal is to make it to states this year,” she said. “Hopefully, other of my teammates can make it to states, too. Sometimes, we have only like one or two kids going. It would be nice to have a decent group and all do it together.”
Chippewa is scheduled to open its season at 3:30 p.m. April 11 at Sterling Heights.
In other Chippewa Valley track notes:
Wilson is looking for the boys team to experience some success of its own in the MAC Blue.
“I have, I think, 90 boys out,” he said. “They’ve been working extremely hard. I think because of how high the girls raised the bar last year, that the boys have to step their game up, too. And they know it. They actually have been doing it in practice so far.”