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Washington track and field honored by WDN

By Staff
Blank named the Washington Daily News Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year
By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Let’s face it, the average person wouldn’t jump a foot for a $10 dollar bill if there were a five on the floor, and the closest anyone comes to dashing these days is watching a 1950’s action hero on DVD.
But somehow Washington Track and Field coach Jon Blank has been able to motivate his squad and maximize its results, which inspired the Washington Daily News to name him the Boys Track and Field coach of the year.
Blank said the most difficult aspect of his job is getting the athletes pumped every practice for something most people despise doing.
While track and field may be the toughest of all sports to sell to young athletes, some how the third year coach has been able to double the size of his team each year he has been at the helm. Blank, who is also the Pam Pack football team’s defensive coordinator, said his pigskin connection deserves partial credit for the increased numbers.
Knowing that track and field can be as mentally challenging as it is physically, Blank said he tries to liven things up at practice.
So far Blanks’ tactics have worked. Aside from boosting the number of track and field participants each year, the Pack skipper has also increased the team’s success.
The Pam Pack also produced two athletes that advances to the state meet this year and placed in the top ten in their respective events. Washington Daily News Male Track and Field athlete of the Year Travis Daniels finished eighth in the state in the long jump, while Dujuan Murray placed sixth in the shot put.
Along with his motivational techniques, Blank credits the teams growth to assistant coaches William O’Pharrow, who’s own track and field success has landed him in the Pam Pack Walk of Fame, and Phil Crews.
While the upstart Pam Pack finished the season in the middle of the Coastal Conference this year, its standing is not indicative of how well it competed this season. The Coastal Conference is a hybrid of 4-A and 3-A schools, and while Washington held its own against the larger 4-A programs, it dominated fellow 3-A’ers.
Throughout the regular season the Pack wore out 3-A opponents faster than Steve Prefontaine wore out a pair of New Balances. However, in the conference tournament Washington ran out of steam.
The Pack’s poor outing in the conference tournament may have ended the season on a sour note, but all Blank has to do to get the bad taste out of his mouth is think about the upcoming season.
Blanks’ goals may seem lofty but with Washington returning everyone except Murray next season, the Pack coach has good reason to feel that the sky is the limit.
Blank said that while his star long jumper Daniels was soaring to success, there were plenty of other athletes flying under the radar.
It may be too early to determine just how successful the Pam Pack can be next year, but you can guarantee it will be motivated.
Daniels earns WDN Male Track and Field Athlete of the Year
By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
Hard work, preparation and dedication are the normal sports cliches that describe what any athlete has done during a prolific season. Though he may have used conventional means to obtain his success, there is nothing ordinary about what Travis Daniels has done for Washington’s track and field team.
The Pam Pack junior finished eighth in the 3-A state competition in the long jump and leapt 22-feet-six-inches in the Coastal Conference meet, which is why when it was time to name a Washington Daily News Track and Field Male athlete of the Year, Daniels’ name jumped ahead of the competition.
In his first two years on the Pam Pack track team Daniels showed steady progress, but this season he experienced a break out year which catapulted him into the state competition.
Washington track and field coach Jon Blank credited Daniels’ success to his hard work, preparation and dedication to the sport.
Blank is also quick to point the effect that assistant coach and Washington Walk of Fame track and field star William O’Pharrow has had on Daniels and the rest of the team.
Daniels also praised O’Pharrow, and said his teachings were critical during his stellar season.
O’Pharrow stressed the importance of Daniels’ pre-jump routine and proper mid-flight technique.
While Daniels was happy with his top ten finish in his first ever state meet, he said that he suffered from a little bit of rookie jitters.
Daniels said the experience will come in handy if he should make it back next season.
While Daniels, who also excels in the triple jump and 4×100 relay, had a spectacular season, Blank said he is setting the bar even higher next year for the would-be senior.
Blank said he expects to see Daniels not only improve on his statistics, but take a greater leadership role with the team.