Rio Grande head coach Bob Willey is excited as his teams prepare to embark on another season of competition. “We’re really excited about getting the season started,” Willey said. “Our people have been very hard in conditioning and through the work out process.
“We always use indoor to get ready for outdoor,” Willey added. “We not always in peak condition for indoor, but most other schools aren’t either, they have the same philosophy.”
Rio Grande will face many NCAA schools at all three levels during both indoor and outdoor seasons. “One thing that we’ve always liked to do at Rio Grande is give people the opportunity to compete, not only with smaller schools, but bigger schools.”
Willey said that the men’s team will be well represented in the areas of sprinting, distance and throwing. “Probably our weakest area (in terms of numbers) would be the jumps,” Willey said. “We’ve got a few people who will be joining us for the outdoor season that are performing in other sports right now, but the other areas are covered pretty well across the board.”
Although it is not likely that the entire team will qualify for the national championships, Rio will have some individuals who should meets the standards to compete at the NAIA’s highest level. “Without a doubt, that’s one of things that we take a lot of pride in, is trying to get our people ready for the national championships,” Willey said. “But, again, for the indoor, we’re not peaking them for the national championships, if they do make through, we obviously try to sharpen them a little, but obviously not peak them for that.
“We’ll have several individuals who should have the opportunity to qualify and that’s always exciting,” Willey added. The NAIA Indoor National Championships will take place, March 8-10 in Johnson City, Tenn.
Willey will once again be assisted by Juan McCabe, who will coach the throwers and Shanna Carter, who coaches the sprinters and jumpers. “Being at a small school, sometimes, the coaching staff is kind of slim and right now we’ve got expertise in those areas,” Willey said. “They do a tremendous job and it makes my job a lot easier, instead of me trying to make out all the workouts for each event, I’m very confident in the knowledge and skills that they have and their hard work in preparing the athletes.
“Again, it just makes my job a lot easier,” Willey added. “We’re very strong right now in our coaching staff, we’re very fortunate.”
The meet at Capital will be a scoring meet, what does Willey from his team’s this weekend? “I’m one of those, that don’t get involved that much in the score,” Willey said. “I always try to look at the individuals, we pick certain distances and certain times that we want to try to accomplish and we try to be realistic.
“The only time that I worry about scoring points is when we go to the conference meet,” Willey added. “My philosophy is probably a little different, because I realize that track and field is an individual sport wrapped in a team concept, we try to concentrate on the individual throughout the season and then the team concept when it comes time for the conference championships.”