Statesmen ‘looking for steady growth’

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2019


Randolph-Henry High School’s varsity outdoor track and field program begins a new chapter this year with many student-athletes new to the sport and Zach Orlando taking over as head coach.

Orlando, who is also the Statesmen varsity football head coach, said “yes and no” to whether or not he has had to alter his coaching approach in moving from football to track for the spring.

“The weight room has been the same,” he said. “We are still going to do explosive movements and back squat, as well as our push-pull stuff. What has been different is the structure of practice — still organized, but with track being an individual sport, the big picture stuff is not as involved as in a sport like football.”

Between the varsity boys and girls track teams, Orlando is leading 31 student-athletes. There are 22 on the boys team, including one eighth-grader, six freshmen, nine sophomores, three juniors and three seniors.

The girls squad features three eighth-graders, one freshman, three sophomores and two juniors.

Experience levels among the student-athletes are low, so Orlando is keeping his expectations simple.

“We expect to improve each meet,” he said. “Many of our athletes have never run track, so we are looking for steady growth throughout the year.”

The Statesmen are developing a variety of specialties. The largest group by only a small margin is focused on middle distance running, like the 400- and 800-meter runs.

Orlando is unsure right now who on his roster might qualify for the state meet.

“At this time that is hard to tell,” he said. “We have one returner who made some strides last year, but time will tell.”

As for what he hopes his student-athletes will take away from their experience in the outdoor track program this spring, Orlando said, “We hope to provide the athletes with a very structured and enjoyable program, that they can see growth in their times and distances.”

Randolph-Henry’s teams visit Prince Edward County High School on Thursday.