GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — In our digital series ‘High School Standouts,’ Digital Sports Reporter Michael Epps features local athletes with incredible talent, hoping to take that talent to the next level.
These are athletes that stand out both on and off the field.
This week’s High School Standouts are Haley Kells and Logan Wagner, two athletes on the South Greene High School Track & Field team.
South Greene is getting a new batch of uniforms.
“Still learning, a lot of kids have been on the track for three days now,” Joe Case said.
Case started the Track & Field program at West Greene High School nine years ago; now, this year he’s starting one at South Greene.
“It’s just been a great opportunity I’m thankful for the administration at South Greene High School and the community at South Greene they’ve been receptive of it and the kids seem to be really excited about it and it’s just been a great opportunity for us and the kids and I’m really thankful for it,” Case said.
To start a program from scratch is quite a task; first of all, you need the athletes. He got kids from other teams to spend their spring on the track.
“We have girls that play volleyball and basketball we have guys that play football and basketball and I think it kinda correlates with speed explosion ability to control your body so it’s a great sport to transition to other sports,” Case said.
That’s what the Rebels have in senior Haley Kells, who was competing for the West Greene program since South Greene didn’t have one until now.
“It was very exciting when we heard that he was coming here I didn’t know how many would show up but there was a lot more people than we expected and it’s just fun it’s a lot more fun whereas when we ran for West Greene we did meet new people but it’s just a better feeling to run for your own school and represent you’re own school,” Kells said.
“She’s such an athlete and she’s been at it a couple years so she’s used to it she’s been to the state in volleyball basketball and track and field and she’s been all-state in a couple events triple jump high jump pentathalon and she’s qualified in the hurdles,” Case said.
She’s one of just a few bringing experience to this team. Most of these kids have never done Track & Field before, like junior Logan Wagner, a football player who is competing in Shotput and Discus.
“I hate running and coach Case said he thinks I’d be really good at this with my explosiveness and everything and right now we’re just trying to learn the basics I think this is definitely a learning year for all of us we like it we all love it it’s a great way to hang out and everything and we have fun when we’re over here,” Wagner said.
“I think it’s pretty easy he’s always a great kid to be around great young man to be around and he’s just really excited seems to be excited and he’s always wanting to learn so that’s a positive thing,” Case said.
Football is still his first love; his normal offseason routine consists of just hitting the weight room, but he sees a number of benefits to spending his spring out on the track.
“I know a lot of other college football players they do a lot of shotput for shoulder strength and discus for footwork and I figured it would be a good idea to improve football and everything and I found out it was a lot of fun to do,” Wagner said.
“Logan is explosive anyways the other day he did 275 set of 5 on powerclean so his transition is pretty easy he’s explosive and I think it correlates a lot track and field and football together,” Case said.
Kells is a three-sport athlete but her focus is Track & Field. She’s one of few with experience so coach Case relies on her to be another coach at times.
“He will be teaching one group like of high jump and if I go off to long jump and someone’s interested in long jump he’ll have me show them drills and teach them so it’s kinda just a team effort there’s always questions but it’s fun to teach them because you were in their shoes at the beginning too so you get to see how much you’ve grown and developed,” Kells said.
“And that’s a good thing, we have two or three kids that have a lot of experience as far as doing track it’s been a really good thing so they’ve been able to help transition,” Case said.
While it is the program’s first year, that’s not stopping them from setting some pretty high goals.
“Well we’re in the Region 1 small schools and one of the things my goal is to compete as a top three or four in the region and my goal is actually to try and qualify six to eight athletes boys and girls,” Case said.
Above all else, they’re having fun wearing a brand new uniform for the Rebels
“I mean it’s just amazing to see the kids smiling enjoying trying something new and they’re unsure of themselves in things but after the first meet or two they’ll realize that they’ll be able to compete and do some things so it’s exciting,” Case said.
“Mainly he wants us to just have fun since it’s our first year and everyone always thinks track is just running but there’s so many different events and different people like different things better so people are starting to realize that it’s not just running,” Kells said.
Follow this series throughout the year as WJHL’s Michael Epps finds the High School Standout every week on WJHL.com.