Elgin Builds Track Year around Goals Witt, Probst Work to Develop Larkin's Program
Clarkson, Jeff, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Jeff Clarkson Daily Herald Correspondent
When Mike Swistowicz took over Elgin's boys track program, he set two goals for his varsity and freshman-sophomore teams.
"I have dual goals," said Swistowicz, who is receiving help from assistant Bob Pleticha and volunteer assistant Robert Linke.
"I want to develop a winning team, and I want them to have personal goals."
While the numbers haven't been sufficient to give the varsity team a winning record, the freshman-sophomore team has built one in the Upstate Eight.
They swept a triangular from Unit District 46 rivals Streamwood and Larkin, and they beat East and West Aurora and DeKalb while losing to Waubonsie Valley, St. Charles and Lake Park.
The three UEC powers had much larger numbers and could fill more events to earn additional points.
In a separate freshman-only meet, West Aurora's freshmen swamped Elgin again because of an advantage in numbers of athletes.
But the Maroons' frosh-sophs have also been meeting or surpassing their individual goals, either running on their own level or in varsity competition.
Last week's Kane County meet is a case in point.
With the squad's dual goals, even if the team doesn't do well or if the athletes don't win events, they still can get a sense of accomplishment by beating their own times.
Swistowicz developed the philosophy through personal experience.
"I run road races in the area myself, and I have to compare my times," he said.
Swistowicz said he decided to place more emphasis on the frosh-soph team than he might normally so that the sophomores and freshmen could achieve success.
In the varsity triangular against the other U46 teams, Elgin placed third.
The 24 members of the Maroons frosh-soph team cover 16 of 18 events, only omitting pole vault and triple jump.
The distance corps is strong with freshmen Jose Uriostegui and Donny Nieto appearing ready to pick up where former Maroons distance greats Mike Rotondo and Weert Goldenstein left off last year when they graduated.
Josh Ruston has been strong in the 800.
The Maroons strongest relay team has been the 3200 where Swistowicz is able to rotate in as many as seven runners. Ruston is the anchor of that team.
In sprints, Ed Wajda and Jon Cordell in the 400, and Leonard and Jimmy Roby in short sprints have been strong.
At Thursday night's Upstate Eight Conference meet, Swistowicz planned to follow the same course that he had in earlier meets and let the freshmen and sophomores run in the frosh-soph meet and run a skeleton crew in the varsity meet.
Elgin Larkin track
Larkin track coach Scott Witt knows the importance of a strong freshman-sophomore team to a track program.
Witt, who along with co-coach Jim Probst is trying to restore a solid track program at Larkin, has tried to put a competitive underlevel team together this season.
The Royals are low in numbers and aren't able to compete with many other teams in the Upstate Eight for team honors, but individual frosh-soph athletes have had some success.
Witt hoped to continue that in Thursday's UEC frosh-soph conference meet.
"We are hoping to instill the proper attitudes and values," Witt said. "This is a learning and growing year."
One problem facing Witt and Probst is the recent changes in the Royals' coaching staff, which has changed personnel three times in three years.
Witt and Probst, Larkin's only two coaches, are trying to do the work that four and five coaches do in established programs. They split the events they coach evenly.
Witt is handling the sprints and relays and shot and discus, and the two take care of long jump together. …