South Tama's new girls track and field coach didn't have much time to meet his team before it competed in its first indoor meet of the season.
After years away from the sport, retired STC teacher George Corum returned to lead the Lady Trojans two weeks ago. While only semi-retired as a substitute teacher at the STC Middle School, Corum was asked to take over the Lady Trojans team this spring. He replaces Emily Chyma, who was unable to continue coaching this season after coaching the team during the opening indoor practices.
"I've never really been out of track," Corum said. "I've been talking to coach Kuhter and Chyma over the past few years. I've always had a passion for it and I've coached for a lot of years here. I just love it.
"When the need came, I was willing to help out the district as a temp," he said. "It worked out now that I'm full-time contract wise. The school has been nice about asking me to come help. I'm excited to be here."
During his first few practices with the Lady Trojans, he brings an energy and excitement for the sport of track and field. Corum also isn't shy about showing his enthusiasm for it, too.
"I am so pumped up to be back," Corum said. "I'm thankful for the school district giving me an opportunity to come back and do this. I've always coached boys, so it's a readjustment for me. It's still the same basics for the sport. We just have to take it one day at a time."
Although excited, Corum didn't have much time to get acquainted with his new team before it competed for the first time all season. After just three days of practice, the Lady Trojans traveled to Ames for an indoor meet at Iowa State University on March 11. It was a big meet, but the Lady Trojans new coach was pleased with the results.
"It was a good start for us," Corum said. "For the first meet, it was a good starting point. It gave us a good base of where we really need to address the team. We have a lot of ability on this team. There is a lot of talent, but whether they know that or not, we will soon find out.
"I was only with the girls for three days, so we had a lot to cover in three days," he said. "We are behind where we want to be, at least in my eyes, but we will get there."
"It's very tough," Corum said. "That's why we're taking these indoor meets as practice. I want to try and get as many times on these girls as I can. I'm in favor of letting everybody get a chance to run at two of the meets."
Leading the way for the Lady Trojans was Sam Holtz in the shot put. She set a new-personal best mark by throwing 34 feet, 5 inches. That throw was good enough to place her 10th in the field of 60 competitors.
"That's her personal best," Corum said. "Some of the other results are just off the times from last year."
In the long jump, Shelby Bradley, who is out for track after participating in soccer last spring, placed 13th out of 49 jumpers. Bradley jumped 14-10.25 in her first meet of the season. Her teammate Riley Craun didn't have her best performance, but she jumped 13-1.5 to place 37th.
South Tama also had two high jumpers do well at the ISU meet. Jade Rohach and Maddie Bacon each cleared 4-8 and tied for 16th place.
Corum admitted that the girls haven't practiced much on field events before the meet, because they've been unable to go outside, due to cold weather and the snow-covered ground. The Lady Trojans did go outside last week, but after the first meet.
"We had limited time, but we went right to the basics," Corum said. "We had certain drills that we are working on. Riley didn't have her best jump. She's a 15-6 jumper from last year. With that being said, our field events did a really good job."
Taylor Ellenbecker and Erin Filloon competed in the 3,000-meter run. Ellenbecker finished the race in a time of 12:02.86 and placed 27th out of 56 runners, while Filloon ran 15:11.56 and placed 52nd.
STC had two sprint relays place well at the meet. The 4x100 relay team of Bradley, Kaleigh Sieck, Craun and Rohach ran the race in 55.72 seconds, placing 32nd out of 63 teams. The STC sprint medley ran 2:02.58 and finished 28th out of 45 teams. The sprint medley team consisted of Bradley, Sieck, Rohach and Belle Tyynismaa.
"We're really heavy on sprinters right now," Corum said. "It's a group that we can be pretty flexible with. I'm still recruiting. When everyone is here, we have 31 or 32 out. I am in the high school trying to get more out."
Other STC results from the meet:
4x800 relay - 11:32.74, 29th out of 38 - Trisha Walz, Kelsey Kupka, Natalie Stadler, Ellenbecker
60m dash - Nicole Berry (8.89), Michele Kroger (9.65), Aileena Iron Shell (9.95)
60m hurdles - Julie Wise (11.4), Jordan Knowles (12.46), Brittany Bear (12.85)
800m run - Naomi Hoskey (2:53.89), Natalie Stadler (3:07.89)
1,500m run - Kelsey Kupka (5:57.58), Trisha Walz (6:20.19)
4x100 relay B-team - 56.6, 39th out of 63 - Nicole Berry, Kiley Culbertson, Sonya Peters, Jasmine Rios
4x400 relay A-team - 4:37.99, 34th out of 55 - Belle Tyynismaa, Maddie Bacon, Paige Balvin, Naomi Hoskey
4x400 relay B-team - 5:11.29, 54th - Natalie Stadler, Brooke Keller, Kallie Hala, Sam Magpie
The Lady Trojans competed at Northern Iowa University on Monday as a tune up for the North Iowa Cedar League meet on Friday. Their coach is excited about the potential for his new team this spring.
"If you don't have that attitude that you're the fastest, strongest or best, it isn't going to happen," Corum said. "You have to have that internal drive that will lead you there. Some of these girls are a diamond in the rough. They are going to be good. Whether they know it or not right now, I don't know, but they will get to that point. That's the key."