Six of the top seven runners for the Blue Devils were seniors, so this was their year. Many of them had been a part of the team for three or four years and their work was starting to pay off.
Coleman, 2012 the Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year, coached his team to a second-place finish at the state meet—just 14 seconds behind winner Mill Creek. The team also finished second to Walton at the Cobb County Championships.
“They knew what we needed to do,” said Coleman. “They just brought it all together. We got everyone on board to do the work.”
While Coleman was disappointed that his team wasn’t able to win state, he recognized how far his runners have come.
“Three of our guys had been with us since eighth grade, so we had them for five years,” the coach said. “We had some of the others for threes years, one guy for four years and our young guy was in his second year. Everybody knew the ropes, so it wasn’t like we were taking anyone out there that didn’t know what was going on.”
Coleman said he didn’t do anything different with this particular group. They focused on strength and ran hills.
It might have also helped that Coleman could relate to what they were going through as a former runner himself.
“I know what they are going through,” he said. “The guys have to be able to tolerate it. It’s a tough job.”
Next year Coleman said he will begin the process of rebuilding.
“That’s what we do at Marietta,” he said. “We don’t have the same numbers that they have at some of the other schools. We have about 30 guys on the team. A lot of the more competitive teams will have 50-60 guys.
“We build them as we need to. We’ll get back to work and be back in a couple more years.”