New East Detroit boys track coach looking to set up program for sustained success
Published April 29, 2013
EASTPOINTE — Johnathan Sails said he’s learning a lot in his first year as East Detroit High boys track coach.
“As an (Amateur Athletic Union) coach, where competition is always (strong), I’m learning that my knowledge and experience there, and as a runner, helps the kids’ ability to trust me as a coach … that will take us to the place we need to be in order to be successful,” said Sails, who served as an assistant with the Shamrocks in 2012.
At press time, East Detroit had a mark of 1-1 overall and in the Macomb Area Conference Silver Division. The Shamrocks have one league meet remaining: at 4:30 p.m. May 7 against St. Clair Shores South Lake at home. The Shamrocks host the Silver Division meet May 21.
Prior to that, the Shamrocks’ Division 1 regional takes place either May 17 or 18 at Grosse Pointe South. East Detroit will run against 12 schools in the regional.
Sails said he thinks his distance program is stronger than last year. He said he feels like East Detroit will perform well in mid-distance events, such as the 800 meters and 1,600 meters.
“Last year, I didn’t do a great job of instilling my passion for learning exactly how to run distance events, so I feel like my mid-distance programs are going to be pretty solid,” Sails said.
Junior Brian Finn runs the 800 and 1,600, along with the 4x400- and 4x800-meter relays. Sails said Finn is the team’s catalyst.
“He’s one of those kids who just has ‘it,’” Sails said of Finn. “(Finn) will see his biggest competition at regionals.”
Senior DaJuan Black, a sprinter, may be the Shamrocks’ most versatile runner, according to Sails. Black can run anything from the 100-meter dash to the 800, along with being skilled enough to perform in the long jump and hurdles. The senior is also a member of East Detroit’s 4x400 relay team.
Senior Travis Headd competes in the 400 run and is having a promising season, according to Sails. Junior Marcus Ross, who runs the 110-meter hurdles, relays and competes in the long jump, has been a pleasant surprise this season, Sails said.
“I always joked that if (Ross) ever took my workouts seriously that he would be successful and, indeed, he’s done that,” Sails said.
The East Detroit coach said his squad needs to improve in the sprinting events. The Shamrocks lost nine runners to graduation, which has put it in a tough spot.
“But we’re adjusting as a team,” Sails said. “I’m pulling (runners) out of everywhere to ensure we’re successful at regionals.”