With spring just around the corner, Chillicothe High School's track and field athletes already are training. I sat down with Chillicothe girls track coach Steve Semancik to talk about life, coaching and the upcoming season.
Question: Track season is right around the corner. When do you guys get underway?
Answer: Our track season just started last Sunday. Right now we're going three days a week. By February, we'll get to four days a week and, by March 1, we'll be at five days a week. We're kind of in full swing.
Q: What kind of things are you able to work on this time of year?
A: Well, at Chillicothe we're blessed with a hallway that's 230 meters long straight ahead and we've got a quality weight room in here On Friday's we'll run over to the field house and pull out the high jumps mats and work on that. We just make do with the building and use the resources that we have.
Q: Tell me something you're looking for out of this season?
A: The upperclassmen have been with me for some time and we're just looking to continue on the success that we've had. One thing I keep reiterating with my athletes is repeat or bust. We've won two league titles in a row. It's our last year in the league, and we want to go out with a bang.
Q: Megan Osborne got a lot of press last year. What can we expect from her?
A: I believe we're looking for a lot of the same things. Last year, we spent a lot of time working on her speed in the 100 and 200, and one thing we're looking for now is to improve her 400 time. She works hard. So everything she gets she'll deserve.
Q: You coach both track and cross country. Which is harder?
A: Well, in cross country there's only one event; everyone runs 5,000 meters. In track, there are 17 different events and the way you train a 2-mile kid is a lot different than the way you train a long jumper or a high jumper. Track is a lot more technical. All of the coaches we have our great teachers. I've got a lot of really good people helping me out. A lot of the coaching gets done by the people who don't get their name in the paper.
Q: How many years have you been coaching?
A: About 17.
Q: Is there a certain moment in that time that stands out?
A: Yes. Although I was the girls coach, my son had joined the boys track team. We were at State watching the prelims of the 4x4 and the boys ran the race of their lives. Not only did my son qualify for the State finals, but he was running for a medal at the State track meet. That was the biggest personal moment for me.
Q: Any other sports you care to try coaching?
A: You could give me multiple sports. I coached at least seven years of football before I went to cross country. I just loved the chess match between offense and defense. I coached soccer; I coached baseball.
Q: What made you pick this sport?
A: I fell into this. I had asked to coach the middle school and I did that for six years. I just learned to love the sport.
Q: What makes coaching so special for you?
A: That it's not really about me, it's about the kids. When someone yells out, "Semancik, I got a (personal record)," and they come over, you get the high-five with the fist pump.
Those are the days that make all the hard work worthwhile. I've got a great wife that understands that this is my passion and this is what it's all about for me. My thing is track and field because you can measure your improvement. You always know if you're getting better or not.