Eagles Track and Field excelling under Courtemanche

COS Track Front copy

Photos by Janine Turner

Last season, under Coach Shannon Maas, the College of the Siskiyous Track and Field Team set several school records, including California Community College State Champion Alex Henderson’s 229′ 1″ Javelin throw. This season, Maas is coaching at Southern Oregon, but the Eagles haven’t skipped a beat under new Coach Les Courtemanche, especially in the throwing events.

In the Javelin, Kelsey Shaw is currently number-one in the nation for all junior colleges, and ranks among the top-five in the nation for all divisions, including NCAA D-1. Shaw’s throw of 50.69 (166’4”) at the Sac State Invite two weeks ago set a meet record, and qualified her to throw in the Pan-Am Games this summer in Toronto Canada, where she plans to compete, according to Courtemanche.

Courtemanche, who coached Henderson the last two years, specializes in the Javelin and assists current throwing coach Katie Woodward in that area. He says that Javelin requires some special qualities in athletes.

“The Javelin event is unique indeed. When I am out recruiting or working with a group of beginner Javelin throwers I look for coach-ability and bravery. The Javelin event is one of the most taxing events on the human body. You are literally sprinting with a long spear into a complete stop. I call it the ‘car wreck.’ It takes a lot of patience and pain to become a decent javelin thrower. When you finally get to become comfortable with the technique, you then develop the mentality of attacking the finish. I train most of my advanced javelin throwers to have an out-of-body experience when they throw at big meets. The javelin is a combination of skill, mechanics, and being a little crazy in the head,” said Courtemanche.

Along with Shaw, several other throwers are showing great promise for this season.

“With the help of Katie Woodward, our throws team, which is very young, has been improving every week. Michelle Kinney, Kelsi Syverson and Taylor Gaines have done great in the discus and shot put on the women’s team. Roy Allen, Chase Demoor, Diamond Pedro and Clarence Cowart have all had huge improvements in the men’s discus and shot event. The javelin team (Elijah Marta, Derrick Doss, Aaron Larson, Trent Bateson, Kerry Stabler, Mike Martin, Terrence Brown) is still leading the state on the men’s side. Kelsey Shaw, Michelle Kinney, Taylor Gaines, Keli Syverson, and Holly Quant are paving the way on the women’s side. They will be gearing back up in three weeks to prepare for the post season and hopefully break the state records at San Mateo College on May 15,” said Courtemanche.

On the track, DJ Bien-Aime, Elijah Chapman, Kendrick Murphy, and Drakkar Sweet all have leading marks in the 100m for the Golden Valley Conference. Courtemanche feels the four will most likely have a shot at breaking the COS 4x100m school record. Brady Svilich, Oudone Ngouyaphanh and Chris Taylor are the running, hurdles and sprints coaches.

Kendrick Murphy, Kaden Culp, and Seth Arena are leading the way in the Long and High Jump, according to Courtemanche. Ngouyaphanh and Steve Pappas coach the jumpers.

What level can the Eagles Track and Field Team reach this season?

“This 2015 team has been a huge surprise and I am excited to see the end result. My goal for the season is for our team to represent College of the Siskiyous and Siskiyou County in a respectable manner when we hit the road 12 times for track meets. We currently have a roster close to 40 total athletes which in my opinion is a fairly high number for a first year head coach. The team has been well trained and prepared for the end of the season, when points and performances matter the most, said Courtemanche. “I anticipate our team being in contention for the GVC championship along with sending a majority of our team to the post season (Northern California Trials). We currently have the ‘Fastest’ team in the GVC. We hold four of the top five spots in both the 100m and 200m sprints. We also have the fastest 4x100m time which is very close to our school record (41.65). Our jumps team is also holding strong in the conference. With some help from throws, middle distance and a few other events we may be able to pull it off.”

Courtemanche gives a lot of credit to his coaching staff for the Eagles success so far this season.

“I am very fortunate to be working with a solid group of coaches. Every coach on staff has been there for the athletes and wants the best for each and every one. Every coach on staff is, or has been, part of our local track and field community which is what I enjoy best about the staff. Each coach brings a distinct style to our team that cultivates an excellent learning environment for the athletes.”

While the season is still quite a ways from being completed, Courtemanche is already busy searching for next season’s stars.

“I have already begun the recruitment process and I definitely have my eye on a lot of local talent. I think the coaches in our local community are doing a great job with their athletes. I want all of our local track athletes to know if they have a passion for track and field and want to continue their dream of becoming a college athlete, then they will always have a home here at Siskiyous. No matter what the talent level is, I believe our staff and culture will bring the best out of any athlete whether it be on or off the field.”

If you’d like to be an Eagles track and field athlete, Coach Courtemanche would like to hear from you. Email him at courtemache@siskiyous.edu, or call 707-616-1772.

Editor’s note: a big thank you to Janine Turner for taking the time to get some shots of Eagle athletes at the ARC Invitational, last weekend. Janine was there watching her daughter Jena compete for Chico State. Jena was 7th in the 100m Hurdles at the meet.

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