Desire to work is there for Tonawanda track and field
As coach Dave Nedell gathers the Tonawanda track and field team for year two under his watch he'll be asking his team for exactly what he asked from them last season-no less than their best, every single day.
"It's a great comfort to have a group that understands that and believes it and has been through it. It also helps with the (nice) weather," Nedell said with a smile. “Last year we were inside the first five weeks. I don't think we were outside, maybe two days. This year we were outside 13 of the first 17 days."
Nedell said that getting outside that often during the first few weeks was a tremendous benefit for everyone. Not only did kids get a chance to practice in a true track and field setting, just being outside that often helped with the enjoyment level.
"It's definitely helped in the positive mind set. The practice mode," he said.
Leading the way for the boys team is Bobby Liebel who is coming off of a breakout 2011 season that saw him qualify for the NYSPHSAA tournament.
Liebel will be running in the 100, 200 and 400 and the 4x400 relay.
Also back is Phil Giuga will join Liebel in the 4x400 and well as run the 800. Sam Battistella will shine in the hurdles, 4x400 relay and 100.
Jacob Choate, who is new to track and field, will join Liebel, Giuga and Battistella in the 4x400.
Corey Law returns after taking last season off.
The Lady Warriors will lean on Haley Snyder in the long-jump, 100 and 200, Annie Draves will go for THS in the 1500, 3000 and high jump. Caylie Stuart will be utilized in the 400 and 800.
But more than anything Nedell pushes for the kids to believe. In themselves and each other. A proud former Warrior himself, Nedell has often told me that he doesn't buy into the garbage that Tonawanda kids can't compete against other schools. Nedell has faith in THS kids, and he wants them to believe in each other as well.
"The work ethic coming back in. The comfort level that they know we're (the coaches) are there for them to get them to be the best that they can be," Nedell said. “And I think they know that. There's an excitement in the air with underclassmen knowing that we'll get a new track in a year or two...it's just all positive, upbeat."
Pointing to the success of baseball, basketball and wrestling in recent seasons lends merit to Nedell's stance and he hopes that all Tonawanda kids will see success is attainable-if you are willing to put in the work.
Renee Leetow joins the coaching staff that also includes JJ Gabor and Jackie Ferrentino.
"My expectations don't go down," Nedell said. “They go up."