As the Woodinville football team practiced last week, the track and field squad did drills nearby. Kids underwent testing as part of offseason conditioning.
Justice Reign, in his first year with the Falcons, coaches the sprint teams. Rangy and athletic, he played football and captained the track team for the Air Force Academy back in the 1990s. He later coached at Air Force and at the University of Louisville.
Now in his early 40s, Reign largely echoes the philosophy of Woodinville head coach Frank Shuck. An overhaul of the track and field program is underway.
“It has been a really interesting year,” Reign said. “I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I hadn’t followed Woodinville track and field very much. But what we have is a very young team, a very smart team. A group of folks with some very good attitudes. They have the will and desire to get better.”
Reign was asked to speak about specific athletes, but declined.
“We’re at a point as a program that we need to grow together,” he said. “We do want to celebrate individual excellence. But we first need to create excellence and cohesiveness as a team. So it’s best to talk about the program in general. We need to bring our cohesiveness together as a program. I’m starting to see it and that’s what we’re working on this summer.”
He was asked about the drills he helped conduct last Tuesday with co-head coach Ali Hadley.
“We’re introducing weight and cross training into the program,” he said. “Track is brutal on the body. You’re pushing yourself to the limit. So we need to build them up stronger so they can take the training we’re putting them through for the entire season. Plus, there’s the camaraderie that comes when you’re sweating and hurting together in the weight room and seeing the progressions coming together.”
Falcon sprinters won’t see the fruits of their labor until next spring. But in the meantime, there’s work to do.
“This program has a lot of opportunity,” Reign said. “If we can partner with other programs [at Woodinville] that would be ideal. Because speed, power and explosion in any sport is going to be a benefit. Then once we create the cohesiveness and get the core track and field members together and strengthen that community, we will have a championship program.”
Woodinville Coach Frank Shuck always tells his athletes “Service before self.” It’s the idea of contributing to something bigger than oneself. Reign gave his own take.
“It always starts in practice,” Reign said. “The competitions are always the cherry on top of the cake. If you’ve got a group of people who are putting it down in practice, then once you get to the meets it’s just fun. You run not just for yourself but for your teammates as well. That’s when you see folks coming from behind to win. That’s when you see folks pushing themselves past their limits – because they’re doing it for the team.”