Boys track has new coach, same goals

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton senior Perrin Hagge (far right) was second at state last year in the 800-meter run and fourth in the 1,600./File photo

The leadership at the top has changed.

But the goals, expectations and talent base remain the same.

Middleton’s boys track and field team has a new head coach, with former assistant Joe Line taking over the program. But a Cardinals’ outfit that has been trending upwards for years figures to be terrific again in 2016.

“I am excited about taking over such an accomplished program,” said Line, whose team began its season last Saturday at the UW-Whitewater Invite. “The program was left to me with great traditions and goals, and I plan on continuing and adding to the successes of the boys track and field program.”

Line, a 1999 graduate of Monroe High School, was a standout with the Cheesemakers where he competed in jumping events and also ran the 4x100 and the 4x400. Line competed at UW-Whitewater for one year, but stepped away following a leg injury.

Line coached at Janesville Craig for seven seasons — six as an assistant and one as the head girls’ coach. Line then moved to Middleton in 2014 and spent the last two years coaching jumps for the boys and girls program.

Line, a Special Education and Math teacher at MHS who also coaches JV football, is excited to put his own stamp on the program.

“Naturally some of the football instincts will trickle down to track as well,” Line said. “Mostly, I like to have fun during practice, and I hope that I bring a positive energy to the program accompanied with hard work and success.”

Middleton’s program has been on the rise in recent seasons and Line expects to keep the needle pointing up.

The Cardinals finished fourth at state last season, the best showing in school history. Middleton has also won three straight Big Eight Conference titles.

Several key cogs from the 2015 team return and will try helping Middleton have another big year.

Senior Perrin Hagge finished second at state last year in the 800-meter run and was fourth in the 1,600. Hagge, along with seniors Jordan Futch and Cole Conklin-Little, are back for Middleton’s 3,200-meter relay team that finished third at state last year.

Cardinals senior Jack Jesse was fifth at state in the long jump. Junior Gus Newcomb was also sixth at state in the 3,200 meter run.

That group, plus several promising newcomers and a handful of returnees ready to make their mark, should help Middleton remain dangerous.

“Our goal every year is to win conference, and that is not going to change with me being head coach,” Line said. “With that, we would like to get as many athletes out for track and field and build our strength in numbers. 

“We obviously want to get as many kids to state as possible and be able to place as a team at state. I am also a firm believer that track and field can complement many of our other sports at Middleton High School.”

While Middleton appears strong in most categories, its distance runners could be an enormous asset.

“We are a distance heavy program, and we are looking for our young sprinters to have a breakout year,” Line said. “Distance will be a huge win for us again this year, but I am impressed with the talent I am seeing within sprints and relays. 

“The work ethic I've seen so far, especially within the distance athletes, is astounding, particularly their training and determination. It has also been great to see the amount of teamwork and motivation I see within our sprints and field events.”

 

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