MACKSVILLE — The Kansas Cross Country/Track and Field Coaches Association named Macksville High School head track and field coach Jennifer Gillespie the 2012 Class 1A Boys’ Track and Field Coach of the Year.
It was her third year as head coach of Macksville after working as the assistant coach under Daniel Grizzell.
“I’ve been coaching for 18 years,” Gillespie said. “In 2006, I got an Assistant Coach of the Year for hurdles from the same organization.”
Gillespie is part of a successful run for Macksville, starting in 2001 while Grizzell was still head coach.
Macksville’s girls’ track team won the state championship in 2001 and 2002, before taking third in 2003. The girls were runners-up at the state meet in both 2004 and 2005.
The Mustangs were state runners-up in 2006 and third in 2010.
“I have been very fortunate to be a part of this run,” said Gillespie, who coaches volleyball at Macksville as well. “I just thought what great kids we have. How fortunate I am because of the kids I coach.”
This season, the Mustangs were led by seniors Adam Oak and Seth Filbert. Oak won seven silver medals at the state meet in his high school career.
“Oak was our leading points scorer,” Gillespie said. “Filbert scored points for us in the mile and he tripped in the 800 when he was in third place. I didn’t want that to be the last thing that Seth remembers about his high school career, so I told him I needed him to tell Adam what we needed from him.
“He did, and Adam did what he had to do. That’s the kind of kids that we’ve been fortunate enough to have on our team. Seth is a great leader.”
Before coaching, Gillespie was a track and field athlete at Wichita State University.
“I graduated from Wichita State in 1995,” Gillespie said. “I ran track there under Coach John Kornelson.
“I had some excellent mentors in high school, and coach Kornelson was like a father to me. I wanted to be able to reciprocate that to other students. That’s why I wanted to coach.”
The award will be handed out at a 2013 KCCTFCA clinic in January.