Jimmy Guy is enthusiastic about his new head coaching job with the Salem High boys and girls indoor track teams. Wanting to pass along his love for running, the Witch City native has big plans for his two squads.
“I’m excited,” said Guy, who has run in several marathons for the MR8 Foundation, named in memory of Martin Richard, the youngest victim of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. “The first thing I want to do is increase the program’s numbers to have a large core group. I want to be there to build the track program back up to what it was where I was in high school.
“My wish is for the kids to have fun and really be interested in the sport,” he added. “I realize we’re not going to accomplish it all in one season, but we want to build a strong foundation to grow.”
Guy, who has previously been an assistant track and field coach for the Witches, has been very pleased by this season’s turnout of athletes. There are over 50 boys and girls signed up for the program, which is a big increase from past years.
“There are so many events indoors and you need at least three athletes in each event — hopefully a few more in case of injuries,” Guy said. “We’re lucky to have some leaders who are all exemplary in track as well as phenomenal students. Our senior captains have those qualities.”
Patrick Collins and Roberto Pauleus will captain the Salem High boys’ team while Anyfern Gonzalez leads the girls.
Guy believes the boys will be strongest in the middle distances and longer distance events, anywhere from the 1,000 up.
Shot put is another strong area for both boys and girls.
“It’s great to see a lot of freshmen and sophomores out to help the program grow,” said Guy. “We’re working hard to find out which events are best for them.
“I’ve got a great group of coaches helping me. Timmy Ryan will handle sprints, Ally Duggan the shot put, Chris Patenaude the high jump and hurdles, and P.J. Bock is our strength and conditioning coach. That’s a new area we’re focusing on this season; you have to include some cross-training.”
Guy said numbers for the girls team are triple what they were last winter. They had several injured runners last season who are back and ready to lead the way.
“Running is my passion; I love the sport,” said Guy. “There are so many sports for kids these days as well as AAU programs. It’s exciting to see the number of people showing up on the first day. It looks like we’re going to have some sprinting strength in the 55 and 300 that we hadn’t counted on.”