2016 Boys Track Coach of the Year: Lytton guides deep Central squad to success

Rick Lytton

WOODSTOCK — Central track and field coach Rick Lytton said before the season he thought his boys team had a chance to be pretty strong this year, and his team proved him right.

The boys finished tied for fifth in the Group 2A state meet and won the state title in the 4×400 meter relay.

“Things fell into place and it did work out that we had a good season,” Lytton said. “We had a good group of seniors coming back in the hurdles and in the distance races, and we had kids who found their niche in relays.”

Central had success in all three relays. The Falcons finished ninth in the 4×100 relay with a time of 44.66. The 4×800 relay team of Wyatt Robinson, A.J. Crider, Mason Lucy-Speidel and Sawyer Lucy-Speidel placed sixth in a time of 8:40.61.

Entering the state meet, the 4×400 relay team was seeded second by one-hundredth of second behind Glenvar. Lytton said he knew his team of Carston Shockey, Wyatt Robinson, Kyle Clanton and Coy Jimenez had a chance to win the race if they could just stay close throughout the race.

That’s exactly what they did and Jimenez, the anchor, was able to pull it out on the home stretch to just barely edge Glenvar, winning with a time of 3:30.43. Glenvar was just two-hundredths of a second behind.

“I knew Coy runs a smart race. If people take off fast that’s fine he can keep up with them, but he always has a little extra at the end,” Lytton said. “He did well on the back stretch and then coming down the home stretch he was behind, and he just decided I’m not going to lose this. We are not going to lose this relay. He won. The kids say that somebody was at the finish line and took a picture and it was a matter of an inch or so. That’s all he needed.”

Lytton, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Boys Track Coach of the Year, said one of the keys to Central’s success was their depth and their balance. The Falcons had the ability to score in most events, and the depth to have several people score in the same events.

Donavan Armstrong placed fourth in the 300-meter hurdles at the state meet. He along with Daniel George and Phillip Dysart produced in the hurdles all season for the Falcons.

“All three are seniors so they’re going to be sorely missed next year,” Lytton said. “But three years ago when they started they were not very good at all, and they have improved each year. I guess the thing that put them over the edge was last summer we left some hurdles out and they came up numerous times during the summer and hurdled on their own and got better. Then some of them ran cross country, and so they were in very good shape when practice started.”

Central also had plenty of success with its sprinters and jumpers. Freshman Clanton and junior Saxon Franklin had a solid season in the jumps, and Shockey was also strong in the sprints.

Jimenez led the way in sprints and finished fourth in the 100-meter dash at the state meet. The sophomore missed all but one meet last year due to injury, and Lytton said he knew Jimenez, who also had a good season in the discus, had the ability to do special things this year.

“He wants to work hard. He never shies away from workouts,” Lytton said of Jimenez. “His performance in the discus was a pleasant surprise. He comes out, he never gets excited. He never gets angry or anything like that. The other sprinters were drawn to him. When he worked harder they wanted to work harder. He convinced them that if they work hard with him, he’ll carry them along and they bought into it.”

Central also did really well in the distance events led by Robinson, who placed third in the 1,600-meter run.

“I can’t thank Coach Wright enough for the work she does with them in cross country and in track,” Lytton said. “They liked to run distance. …They like working hard. Wyatt and the Lucy-Speidel boys, A.J. Crider all of those bought into what she wanted to do. And they bought into their niche in the distance races.”

Lytton said it was a very good and memorable track and field season, and he was very pleased with how both the boys and girls teams did.

“I still think back to (the state meet) and the way things worked out,” Lytton said. “It was a very, very good ending to a very good season.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com