Eagles track and field squad captures first CIF title in 17 years
TEMPLETON — For the first time in 17 years, the Templeton High School girl’s track and field team brought home a CIF title, earning the Central Section Division III championship on May 12 at Nipomo High School. The win has been a culmination of hard work, individually and as a team, to overcome some of the season’s obstacles.
Rosalie Smith has been coaching track and field at Templeton for the past five years, the last two as head coach. She notes how close the team came to a CIF title last year and how that experience fueled her team this season. With a crop of freshman added to the team this year, Smith found herself with a well-rounded team and strong athletes in nearly every event.
“They really took the momentum that they had started last year and they used a little of that experience,” said Smith. “They just took off. It was so neat to watch.”
Throughout the season, the team has been challenged by competition against Division I and II athletes. But at the Nipomo meet, the girls were able to race against over 30 teams in their division.
Part of the team’s success, Smith thinks, is a result of the school’s dirt track.
“I think it built some mental toughness because they compete on these beautiful all-weather tracks and facilities, but they are training on some of the toughest conditions,” she said.
The beginning of the season brought challenges for the team as they were fighting the unusually rainy winter in the county. Smith explained having to find ways for the athletes to train in the various events despite constant downpours and canceled track meets.
“The beginning of the season was so challenging because of all the rains, and our track was flooded, and half of our week was torrential downpours,” she said.
Despite training in adverse conditions, the athletes remained focused and dedicated to their goals. Smith attributes their success not only to their individual efforts but also to the unwavering support of the coaching staff, including Ted Swan (jumps), Michael Williams (sprint relays/hurdles), Marcel Acebo (throwers), and assistants Susan McAdoo, Bandy Smith, and Adam Medina.
“The team of coaches that we had was also something I felt had contributed to our season too,” said Smith. “Our team of coaches pulled through for everybody.”
As the season went on, Smith watched her team go from focusing on their personal accolades to working more as a team.
“It was exciting to watch throughout the season because you could see how well they were doing,” she said. “As the season went on I think they saw how good they were as a team and started focusing on what they could do for their team.”
The team, which sent 14 athletes to the competition, achieved remarkable results, with several members securing medals.
Among the rising stars on the team is sophomore Taylor Sutton, whose achievements have garnered attention. Sutton’s performances include victories in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter events at the CIF meet, as well as a 10th-place finish at the Masters meet. Smith commended Taylor’s dedication and highlights her progress throughout the season.
The success of the girls’ team, which has not won a CIF title since 2006, has ignited a spark of motivation within the entire track program. Smith hopes that the boys will draw inspiration from the girls’ accomplishments and strive to reach new heights.
Looking ahead, Smith is optimistic about the team’s future. With a solid girls’ team poised to elevate the boys’ team, she firmly believes that the future is bright for her team.
“I think we are going to have a solid girls team next year and it’s going to elevate the boys team as well,” said Smith. “This is possible. We are a small school, but it is something that they can do.”
The Templeton High School girls track and field team celebrates after winning the CIF Central Section Division III title May 12 at Nipomo High School. Contributed Photo