BEAT HERDER Shawn Huxtable, Adam Humphrey, Drew Evans and Carl Federer were honored with 2A Coaches of the Year this week. A new era for GHS Track & Field
Glenrock’s track and field will look a little different this year, even though there are no changes to the trademark purple-and-white.
However, as this is the first year that Glenrock will compete at the 2A level after being under state 3A classification for over 30 years, the competition will be unfamiliar and the venues will be different as well.
Also missing this year is coach Allen Finch, who retired after more than 30 years of coaching track for the Herders. Large shoes to fill, but the man for the job thinks that this year will be a great one for the kids.
While this is Ryan Collier’s first season as head coach for track, he has been an assistant for the past five years and believes he is ready to help kids improve in all areas of the sport. Collier grew up in Denver and went to high school in Westminster, a suburb of Denver. He attended college at Metropolitan State College (now university). While in highschool, Collier played football and ran track.
Coaching quickly presented itself as a natural advancement for Collier, who realized that his football playing career would soon be ending, but also wanted to stay involved in the sports that he enjoyed.
After graduation from MSC, Collier accepted a teaching position in Otis, a small town in the northeastern plains of Colorado. During this time, he was the head football coach and assistant coach for track and basketball. After 10 years in Otis, Collier, his wife and three kids moved to Glenrock when he accepted a teaching position within the district.
It was while in Otis that Collier, who started coaching track for the first time, really fell in love with the sport.
“As my coaching career began in such a small town, I had to wear a lot of hats, coach a lot of sports,” Collier said. “I found that I absolutely fell in love with track as a coach.
“Watching the kids compete and watching them work week in and week out to get better, and then being able to see their progress through better times and better distances throwing, things like that, it’s just awesome to see the gratification for the kids as they compete throughout the season.” Coach Collier has high expectations for his team this spring, thanks in part to a large turnout.
“We have 62 kids who came out for track, from a student body of about 180,” he said. “One thing that I came in telling the track team this year is I want it to become more of a team-oriented thing for us.”
Collier added, “I want kids to not only be competing and progressing at their own individual sport, but assisting everyone else at becoming better, working together as a whole to become better overall. We’ve had that here before, and it’s just an emphasis of mine.”
Ryan Collier is no stranger to Glenrock High School, having been a history teacher and assistant coach for football and track over the past five years. But with legendary track coach Al Finch retiring, the opportunity was available for Collier to step up.
Collier says that replacing a legend like coach is tough, but he’s looking forward to the opportunity.
“Al Finch, who was a great, great track coach and was involved for 30 plus years in Wyoming, was retiring. I was excited to get the job,” Collier said.
“I’m extremely excited for this opportunity,” he added. “It’s a huge push for me and it’s something that I want to take hold of to get better as a coach, week in and week out.
“I really want to help our other coaches help the kids reach their full potential.”
With the move to the lower classification, while the competition will still be steep, the school will finally be on level playing field against the rest of the schools in the conference. Previously in 3A, Glenrock was competing against schools with a much larger student body.
In addition to Collier, the coaching staff will be comprised of assistant coaches Ray Kumpula, Tara Chandler, Cody Tillard and Shay Harnish as well as volunteer coach Misty Allen.
Collier also said that he is excited to see the kids return from last year. There are quite a few returners and the coaching staff is looking for leadership from these kids, as the largest group in the more than 60 athletes is comprised of freshman.
The first meet of the season will be this Saturday, March 18 at the 6th Annual Glen Legler Memorial Earlybird at Natrona County High School in Casper. Events begin at 10:00 a.m.