Olympian, World Champion, high school track coach: Catching up with Jeremy Wariner at Parish Episcopal
It's not every day that a group of athletes can say that their minds are being molded and their skills are being sharpened by an athlete who has had quite as many accomplishments as Parish Track and Field head coach Jeremy Wariner. You might recognize the name as Wariner has three Olympic gold medals and one Olympic silver medal. Wariner has also been a five-time world champion. VYPE DFW was given the opportunity to chat with Wariner during the VYPE DFW and Parish Episcopal Spring Sports Media Day about the track season ahead.
A Look Back
Last season, Parish Episcopal track had an excellent season. Coach Wariner reflected on sending quite a bit of athletes to the state meet: "We had a lot of people make it to state for the first time- our biggest team that we've taken since I've been here. The outcome wasn't what we wanted, but they had a great time out there. They competed and that's really all I could ask from them," said coach Wariner.
Some of the athletes that made it to the state meet last year include the women's 4x100 meter relay team (Chloe Murphy, Indigo Sims, Brooke Dial, and Samantha Ward), Cedric Mays II (men's 200 meter dash), Ryan Forson (men's 200 meter dash), Austin Uke (men's discus throw, shot put), and Jai Moore (men's long jump). Although the athletes didn't finish with the result they were hoping, making it to the state meet and being able to have a good time is something every athlete looks forward to doing during their high school career.
When it comes to this season, Wariner believes that his team is more than ready to make it back to the state tournament- this time with even better results. "I think we have a good chance at sending more people this year than we did last year. With a couple of kids, I believe we have the opportunity to possibly place at state in certain events," coach Wariner told VYPE. With a strong group of athletes coming back this spring, the Parish Panthers track team is looking as strong as ever. It's possible that fans can expect to see some really great accomplishments come from this group. "I'm looking forward to breaking some more school records and getting to state this year," Wariner said.
The secret to the Panthers' success might not be as big of a secret as you'd think. When all things are said and done, Wariner believes his team is cohesive, reliable on one another, and able to hold close bonds with one another that isn't usually seen in a track team. "We have people all over the place in different events. Usually throwers and sprinters don't get along well; throwers stay off to themselves, sprinters stay to themselves, the distance kids stay to themselves, but here what I've learned is that everybody comes together as a team real well," Wariner started. "They're watching events that they'd usually never watch- like the mile and two mile. They're cheering their teammates on trying to help them get better and vice versa." A great team bond, as well as excellent camaraderie, will certainly lead the Panthers to success.
This season there are many team goals that the Panthers have. However, there is always one goal that weighs a little heavier than the rest. To some teams that goal might be a state title, gold medals, and wins. For Wariner, it all comes down to small victories. "For me, the biggest goal I want to see is improvement," he said. "I want this team to improve and do better than they did last year. I'm kind of going to change up a little bit of training things this year to prepare for state a little bit earlier than last year to help them improve."
Learning from the athletes
With so much experience in life as well as track and field, there's no doubt that Wariner has a lot of knowledge that he can share with his athletes. Wariner has an obviously caring mentality when it comes to the kids which was apparent throughout the entire media day as he guided his team with wisdom and kindness while also being able to keep the kids loose and having a good time. There's no question about Wariner's ability to lead the next generation of track and field athletes to successful careers in the sport.
When it comes down to it, each coach teaches and learns. In Wariner's case he has learned the simple art of having fun from his athletes. "During my career- obviously I took it real serious- I was focused, I was driven, and I worked hard, but I kind of got away from the fun aspect of it. Now that I'm out here with these kids, I'm laughing all the time. I'm having fun and I'm enjoying what I'm doing."