Changes to the cross country program

While Coach Pertner has stayed, Coach Luhmann has moved on from coaching.

This year, like many sports here at Hamilton High School, cross country is seeing changes to its program.

Mr. Kevin Spotts, teacher of biology, anatomy, and this year PE fitness, is now Coach Spotts for the cross country team. In the past, Spotts has coached many sports, most recently varsity football and the boys track team. He resigned as a coach from football after the 2012 season.

“It was a logical progression to work with cross country kids since I am a track coach,” Spotts said. “And there were no teacher applicants.”

Spotts also has two assistant coaches this season. Mr. Travis Pertner, who has also coached many sports, has been an assitant coach for the cross country team for six years and the head coach for the girls track team for 21 years. Spotts is also assisted by Mr. Garrett Lacy. Lacy is a recent Alma college graduate who also ran in college.

“Coach G., he is fast,” freshman Caleb Topp said. “He ran a 4:18 mile in college. He pushes us and runs with us and pushes us to run faster. Nice guy.”

Lacy ran in high school as well. He went to Carson City- Crystal High School located in Montcalm County. He was an all-state athlete four times: twice in cross country and twice in track. He set the school record for the cross country 5k and the 3200m in track. In college, he was all-conference in cross country all four years and won an individual conference championship in track in the 10,000m.

As for coaching, Lacy hopes to help the runners be the best student-athletes that they can be. He believes that his running experience will be useful in helping the runners.

“Helping out with the Hamilton program it has gotten off to a really nice start,” Lacy said. “Both the coaches and the kids have been really accepting to me helping out and that made things a lot easier for me.”

The new coaches aren’t the only changes to the program. The team still works on running distance, running form, core, and speed stuff, but they no longer work on plyometrics Noah Swartz said enthusiastically.

So why is Spotts the new cross country coach?

After the 2012 season, all cross country runners were called down to the conference room in the office during their fifth hour. There, they were met by Coach Jeremy Luhmann and Pertner. When you walked in, you could sense the ‘down’ feeling.

The runners were informed by Luhmann that he would no longer be coaching cross country in the upcoming 2013 season. It was a big time commitment and that was time that he wasn’t able to spend with his four children and wife. Practices would get out at 5:30 in the evening and the countless hours spent at meets during the week and weekends, there wasn’t much left over time when you have young children.

He posted on the Hamilton High School Cross Country Facebook page, “Cross Country Family, Today I resigned as coach of the cross country team. This has been a very difficult decision for me. As my own children grow, I find that I cannot be both the dad I want/need to be and the coach I want/need to be. I have excellent memories of all of you, and I am certain that I have learned more good life’s lessons from athletes and parents over the years than I have taught to you. I feel blessed beyond measure to have been a part of this family and I wish you all the best. Happy Running! Coach”

With the 2013 season started up, Luhmann still believes he made the right decision. A difficult decision, but the right one. He misses coaching, getting to know the runners, helping them with their goals and then celebrating with them when they acheive that goal. His two oldest children, Jocelyn and Olivia, also miss getting to know the runners, but they are happy with his decision as well.

“This past August was mostly spent relaxing with my family.”

They would play soccer and t-ball in their front yard, ocassionally spend the nights in the mini log cabin Luhmann built in his back yard, go to the zoo, and much more.

Luhmann plans on going to many of the meets this season.

“Yes, definitely!  We have Sept. 11th, Sept. 18th, Oct. 9th, and Oct. 16th on our family calendar in the kitchen.”


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