New throws coach for track program after 20 years


By Ryan Ding and Howard Kim, Staff Reporter and Co-Sports Editor

The Conestoga track and field program has gained a new addition with family and consumer sciences teacher Grace Hafer joining as a new throws coach. A former high school and college thrower herself, Hafer coached for six years at Fugett Middle School and West Chester East High School prior to her arrival as ’Stoga’s first throws coach since 2000. In previous years, most students interested in throws received coaching from jumps coaches.

It was only after sophomore Bradley Younce requested a throwing coach when Conestoga athletic director Kevin Pechin began his search for one. Younce made his proposal after running into Conestoga athletic director Kevin Pechin after a football team workout. Pechin suggested throwing shot put to Younce, who wanted to try out a spring sport after the football season, believing it would suit his build. Following the athlete’s agreement, Pechin sent out an email to the faculty to gauge interest and received a response from Hafer.

“I was excited. I was glad to hear that they would have a coach again,” Hafer said. “I love track, so I was happy to do it, and I was happy to meet the kids who wanted to throw.”

Due to the previous lack of a throws team, the program doesn’t have throwers with lots of experience. To compensate for this, Hafer plans to build the throwers’ skills from the ground up. Starting with the basics, she dedicates time to focusing on throwing dynamics and proper technique.

“They’ve spent a lot of time the last two weeks working on what it takes to throw,” Hafer said. “They’re the ones who are putting in the work, showing that they’re willing to give the effort to become great throwers, and I’m just giving them the tools that they need.”

She also often enlists additional assistance to develop the athletes’ skills. Hafer’s husband, who is also an experienced thrower, often comes to Conestoga to help her work with the athletes, giving pointers and helping them improve their technique.

“A lot of the people on our team have really good builds, so it’s just a matter of unlocking the full potential with the form,” freshman Zac Costas said. “That’s the primary thing with shot put, discus and javelin; you can have the body to throw really far but (be unable to) if you don’t know how.”

Although the team lacks veteran throwers, Costas believes they make up for it in work ethic. To improve, throwers frequently spend their free time watching YouTube videos and gather for daily workouts after school. Senior javelin thrower Josh Penny predicts the team has a high chance of success in upcoming and future seasons.

“There’s a lot of ambition, there’s a lot of drive to do well, and there’s a lot of pressure to have a good first season and to be able to continue that past this year,” Penny said. “But it’s really just for fun, just to try it out and see where it goes.”