SPRING SPORTS PREVIEW: HHS Track has a new face
A previous rival of the Hartselle track program is now the new head coach of it.
Nick Collier coached at Scottsboro for six years before moving to Austin’s track program last year and moving to Hartselle this year.
The health teacher is bringing a very successful track past with him, which he hopes to implement at Hartselle. Scottsboro was the 5A state runner up to St. Paul’s in the state meet every year he was there.
“Coach Lopez has done a great job with the track program here, teaching fundamentals and growing its numbers tremendously,” Collier said. “I hope to take what he has done and really put Hartselle’s track program on the map. Hartselle has the exact same type of athletes Scottsboro had, and I know they will be successful.”
Collier said the team has a nice spread of athleticism.
“We have enough good athletes around the board that we should be able to grab points from all over,” Collier said. “We want to focus on setting personal records at every meet and see what happens from there.”
Hartselle’s boys 4×100-meter relay team won the state title last year with Jaylan Jackson, Ja’mal Jackson, Steven Cleek and D’Andre Mack. Mason McGee finished third in the 110 meter hurdles. The boys team came in fifth overall in the state competition, while the girls finished eighth.
Assistant coach Kenny Lopez said they lost some key players last year.
“We lost some big contributors who were regular scorers last year,” Lopez said. “Half of our state championship relay team and other boys are gone, and we lost some good girls as well.”
Hartselle’s move to 6A will be a difficult adjustment with sectional opponents such as Austin, Decatur, Scottsboro, Fort Payne and Oxford.
Collier said wants a competitive team that can make top 10 and top five in most events.
“Our girls are fairly young, but we have some more experienced guys,” Collier said. “Mason McGee has a chance to win the 110 hurdles this year, Jaylan and Ja’mal are great sprinters and jumpers, and Ashton Quattlebaum is a good thrower. Jessica Hickerson should also see success at mid-distance running. Hopefully we can sneak in there with the really competitive 6A teams to get some points.”
Hartselle has been practicing since the beginning of indoor track, which started before Thanksgiving.