Chad Palenshus, a member of the track and cross country coaching staffs at Jonathan Alder High School, is stepping up to the head track coach position this spring.
The school board approved Palenshus as head girls’ and boys’ track coach earlier this month. Palenshus replaces Chip Seely, who held the job for eight years and recently took a job as head track coach at Worthington Kilbourne High School.
As a previous assistant track coach, Palenshus is familiar with Jonathan Alder’s track program and is optimistic about the team’s prospects.
"I now we have good strength in our girls’ team,’’ Palenshus said, adding that he wants to see the same in the boys’ team.
Numbers are what Palenshus is after in his first season at the helm. He hopes students’ excitement about track will heat up after the holiday break when indoor track meets are scheduled and preparation for outdoor will begin.
"We’ve had 35 to 40 students showing interest right now,’’ Palenshus said. "We generally see many more than that at the junior high school level, but who knows why we can’t get those same students out here for track in high school."
Palenshus aims to develop in his athletes a love of track just as he has with the cross country team, for which he has served as head coach for several years.
"I’m hoping to make the track program grow as much as the cross country program did,’’ Palenshus said.
Assistant Coach Ray Russell will be back for the new track season. Marcus Harris, a former Ohio State University track athlete, joins the staff as a new assistant.
As for Seely’s decision to leave Jonathan Alder, he said Worthington gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
"The offer to go on to a Division I school was there, and I knew that Chad could continue everything we had worked together to do at Jonathan Alder," Seely said.