On the run: Distance track coach steps up to head coach

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By Devon Rocke, Staff Reporter

The track and field season is off and running, and Mark Carberry is making his debut as the new winter and spring head track coach, replacing Pat Williams. For the past few seasons, Carberry worked as a distance coach, but this year he is stepping up to lead the team. 

Carberry competed in track through high school and into college, when he attended Villanova University. During his time there, Carberry recalls being influenced by his coach Marcus O’Sullivan.

“He was a guy who kind of stepped right into that dad role right when I really needed it,” Carberry said. “He ended up being just this incredible influence on me, but more so, he became a much greater influence on my coaching world.”

After college, Carberry ran professionally for a few years before coming back to work as an assistant coach alongside O’Sullivan at Villanova for about three years. 

One of Carberry’s first changes as a head coach this year is allowing team members to experiment with different events. The new coach favors letting kids dabble in events they would like to compete in rather than limiting them to one. For example, if someone who runs the mile is interested in pole vaulting, they can try both and see which they like best.

“I think that’s a good thing,” senior Noah Lanouette said, “because track is just about finding what you’re good at.”

Carberry is also known for bringing his 17-month-old daughter, Pepper, to practice, where he balances being a coach with his role as a stay-at-home dad. He feels it is important for her to socialize with others, but with an hour- long commute and a child in the back seat, he knows what it means to be a man of patience.

“Parents come to me and say, ‘It’s great for these kids to see a responsible parent taking care of their child and still being able to work while they’re doing it,’” Carberry said. “(It’s good) just seeing that you can do those things, and that’s okay.”

Along with the changes that come with a new head coach, another challenge presents itself: the new building addition planned for Conestoga. Recently, the administration announced that another wing is being added to the high school to accommodate for its influx of students. Depending on approvals, the expansion is expected to start around spring 2020 and be completed at the start of fall 2021. The wing will cut into the field used for certain track events, meaning that the facilities will have to be reconfigured.

“We are fortunate enough to where we can move the pole vault into the track,” said athletic director Kevin Pechin. “We have some room behind the practice football field where we can put the discus and the shot put area, and what we’re going to have to do for the javelin is basically hold it at the end of the meet (and) clear the track.”

Carberry is determined to tackle challenges head on, and although “every season comes with its own unique challenges,” he believes in the team’s talent and thinks that they will transition into the                      winter season smoothly.