MATTAWA — Head coach Joel Dugan and assistant coach Alexis Dugan (Joel’s wife) are in the process of rebuilding the Wahluke High School track and field program, and they are excited.
Already in their first year the Dugans and their “get after it” attitude are paying off. The program started with 18 athletes last year. It’s starting with 62 this year.
The Dugans have also created excitement with their schedule. They have moved Wahluke’s Windbreaker Invitational to March 17 instead of late in the season. Five teams came last year. So far this year, nine teams have signed up.
Dugan was the junior high head coach last year. This year he was promoted to head high school. He specializes in coaching the team’s throwers.
Joel is assisted by his wife and sprints coach Alexis Dugan, long distance coach Dave Miskimens, jumps coach Brock Anderson, Mike Matheson for pole vault and Luis Contreras as a volunteer coach who was a track and field athlete and Wahluke graduate from last year.
“We are promoting a team spirit and a strive to compete and better ourselves,” Joel Dugan said. “Our focus is on every athlete trying to beat his or her own PR (personal record) and score as many points for the team as possible.”
That means that some of the Wahluke athletes will need to compete in three to four events and, some will have to compete in events they may not like to score the team points needed to win league meets.
Joel Dugan started spring workouts with the Marianne Williamson quote: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
What that’s all about is changing the athletic competition culture at the school. It has one of the larger enrollments in the South Central A Conference East, and yet the Warriors struggle in nearly every sport. When the basketball team won the league title for the first time in 12 years, the level of school and community pride rose.
“I truly believe that some of our students, as well as our community, are scared to see their full potential,” Dugan said. “I keep telling my track and field athletes that I want them to be scared, even terrified, of how powerful, successful, intelligent and athletic they can be.
“I also want all their parents, friends, teachers, and family to come out and see how amazing these student athletes can be and for our student athletes to be proud to show off their hard work and success.”
My coaching staff and I truly believe that all of these future track and field student athletes can be successful this year and for years to come as long as they work for it and believe they can accomplish their goals.”
Dugan is serious about program development. He’s working to make the Wahluke track and field program a premiere K-12 program, create a pipeline of athletes who are ready to not only compete but win when they reach the high school.
“My athletes, coaches and I are not about doing something well for a year,” Dugan said. “We are about establishing Wahluke track as a competitive classy program that prides itself on our work in and outside of the classroom.”