MHS boys' track team hurls forward in 2012

By Felicia Whatley - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Thu., Mar. 22, 2012
An MHS runner glides through practice.
An MHS runner glides through practice.

After last year’s win in Connecticut’s state competition, the members of the Manchester High School boys' track team praise their coach and take on the challenge to strive for excellence again this year.

Coach Thayer Redman led the MHS boys' team in 2011 to win by one point, 75-74, beating the Danbury High School team and claiming the Class LL title when the competition went right down to last event, a 4x4 400-meter relay. He continues the legacy.

“We are hoping to continue to be a competitive team. Windsor and South Windsor are good teams. There will be few easy days,” said Redman.

The coach said losing some of its talent and bringing in new competitors will be the team's biggest challenge. He added that, in his 17 years of coaching, he stills finds it important to reach out and help teens in more ways than just on the field. “Our whole philosophy is to develop good men and women, to help them let go of their baggage and reach for higher things. I want to help teach kids to reach beyond their problems. That is what my coaches did for me,” said Redman.

On his team, it is more than just winning. There were no cuts from this team. “Everybody makes the team. There are no cuts; in fact, we will pick up more athletes when softball and baseball ends,” said Redman.

Some of the new seniors to watch for are Kodjo Erasmus (who placed second in the 110m hurdles and third in the 300m hurdles last year) and Shamar Smith, who are the two better runners in the state, said Redman.

A few of the seniors expressed an interest in college track scholarships, not only for the chance to run, hurdle, or sprint for a college or university, but also for the chance to study mathematics, business or science. “I am from Ghana, and before a year ago I had never run before. Once I had a good coach to inspire me, it helped to do this. I would love to do this for college, and maybe study business administration,” said Erasmus.

Erasmus cheered on new and old teammates and stressed what an impact Redman’s coaching had on him. “This team is a very good family. It doesn’t matter what skills you have. The coaches can help you learn. This is only my second year running. That shows how good our coaches really are. I thank the coaches for all I have now; without them I would not have come this far. This is the place to run,” said Erasmus.

The seniors agreed that there was much room to grow. Joseph Padilla, who concentrated on what he was good at - sprinting - as well as learning new events, said, “I want to step it up this year and help win State. I also want to learn the long jump. I will do my best and maybe bring it to the next level for college,” said Padilla.

Redman welcomed new runners, hurdlers and throwers during one of the early practices. “We believe there is an event for everyone. Here they can run farther, jump higher and run faster,” said Redman.

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