New season, new coach

Lopez Lobos are ready to hil the track for the second season since the sport returned from a five-year hiatus, what’s more, there’s a new captain at the helm, ready to lead them to victory.

Four athletes return from last year’s team, joined by five new runners. Another new face to the team is coach Mike Hanby.

“Coaching young people – regardless of ability or size of school – is a real privilege. I’m excited about it,” said Hanby. “They’ll run, they’ll throw, they’ll jump and they’ll make things happen.”

The runners returning to the team this year are Ashi Bartolucci, Jonathan Doherty, Dylan Moore and Ryan Schaefer. Newcomers to the team are Quinn Steckler, Miguel Valazco, Avery Conner, Galen Westervelt and Jana Gruenwald.

Hanby said there’s great talent in his team this year and hopes they will do well. He’s impressed by both the returning runners and new athletes, in whom he said have a lot of promise.

Doherty is set to do well in the 100-200-meter races, said Hanby, and Gruenwald has a history from middle school of excelling in 100-meter hurdles. He added that Schaefer is showing potential in shotput and discus, and that track rookie Gruenwald, who was a fast runner on the basketball court, should be a good addition to the team.

Hanby’s professional coaching record is quite outstanding in itself. He has coached for 55 years at various schools around the Pacific Northwest including Evergreen State College and Steilacoom High School. He moved to Lopez to “retire,” though he doesn’t like that word because coaching is his life not just his job.

“I don’t like bragging about myself,” said Hanby. “I’m just Mike Hanby. I’m here on Lopez.”

When Hanby was coach of Steilacoom High School’s track and field team from 1983 to 2002, they won 25 boys and girls league championships; 25 boys and girls district championships; and 17 state trophies, with seven of those teams winning state titles. Also while coaching at Steilacoom, student-athletes won 56 individual state championships and 27 relays.

“I’ve given my life for athletics,” said Hanby, whose dad was a college baseball player for the University of Southern California. “ I come by my athletic endeavor pretty naturally.”