Being a jack of all trades has paid off for assistant track coach Ashley Hildebrand, as she was named one of two Assistant Track Coaches of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association …
Being a jack of all trades has paid off for assistant track coach Ashley Hildebrand, as she was named one of two Assistant Track Coaches of the Year by the Wyoming Coaches Association (WCA).
Hildebrand has been a part of the Powell coaching staff for 25 years, coaching both distance and high jump for the Panthers.
“With both high jump and distance events there is a lot of individualization when it comes to practice,” Hildebrand said.
That individualization allows her to review film footage for each of her high jumpers and permit them to train differently depending on whether they need to correct their approach, take off or technique going over the bar.
In distance training, Hildebrand said she loves to research different distance workouts and plans those programs based on results from meets. This determines what each athlete needs to hit in practice to succeed and improve.
Because coaching two different events has not been easy, Hildebrand relies on middle distance coach Tracy McArthur to help her coach the long distance runners on recovery days while she focuses primarily on high jump.
“Coach McArthur and I have an excellent working relationship, and on meet days when I am busy giving feedback to the high jumpers as they compete, she is there to get splits for our distance kids,” Hildebrand said.
Throughout the season, Hildebrand has been a part of many special moments with the team.
Isaiah Woyak cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, during his sophomore campaign at the Cody meet near the end of the season, and senior Eli Weimer hit his personal best the next day at 6 feet, 4 inches, in Thermopolis.
Addy Thorington hit a personal best 4 feet, 11 inches, during her sophomore year, and the 4x400 girls relay team won the state team championship.
However, there was one moment that stood out the most to Hildebrand.
At the state meet, Daniel Merritt broke the school record in the mile with a time of 4:28.93, taking second place overall and earning All-State honors. Merritt will have a chance to return next season as a senior and look to improve upon his school record time.
Along with Hildebrand, head coach Scott Smith was named the 3A Girls Coach of the Year by the WCA, and Hildebrand credits him with the longevity of the track program at PHS.
“Most of our coaching staff has been together for a very long time, and I think it is because of the stability, knowledge, cooperation and professionalism we have all developed under coach Smith’s leadership that our teams have had a lot of success over the years,” she said.
Going into this next year, Hildebrand has a lot of distance runners and high jumpers returning to the program.
Many of those distance runners are members of the cross country team who have already been building and maintaining a solid base through the summer.
The Panther distance program has a lot of young runners but also a good mix of older runners, which Hildebrand thinks will provide the team with positive and motivating leadership.
“We will keep working to make them stronger, faster and continue to cultivate a positive and caring environment in which they can strive to be their best,” she said.