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2015 Boys track coach of the year: Aaron Craver, Woodbridge
When Aaron Craver arrived at Woodbridge seven years ago, he entered with a built-in philosophy.
He knew all too well Orange County’s tradition of producing great distance runners. After taking over the head coaching duties in 2012, Craver began to change the culture at Woodbridge.
By placing an emphasis on the sprints, Craver put the Warriors’ boys track and field team in contention for CIF sectional glory. Following back-to-back seasons as the runner-up, Woodbridge fulfilled its goal this year, as the team won the Southern Section’s Division 2 championship to give the boys program its first CIF title.
The Warriors, who won the Orange County Championships, possessed the top-ranked runners in the 100 meters, 200, 400, and 400 and 1,600 relays. For his team’s execution on the track, Craver has been selected the Register’s boys track and field coach of the year.
“We’re just trying to grow the popularity of the sport, especially the sprints, within Orange County,” he said. “Orange County hasn’t been known for consistently having sprinters to compete every year. We want to start being known for competing consistently year-to-year with all the schools from Los Angeles and other parts of the state of California.”
Senior sprinters Gabe Warner and Scott Patton were the class of Craver’s first group of athletes to run for him all four years. They had gained valuable experience in the state meet the year before, but it took time to convince the promising young athletes that tougher challenges were on the horizon.
“You have to be a really good storyteller to convince them to work harder when they already feel like they’re fast,” Craver said. “You have to paint this visual to let them know as best as possible what they’re going to be dealing with once they get to the big-time in CIF Finals, Masters, and CIF State prelims and finals.”
After seeing their senior leaders go through the battle, newer additions to the Warriors program were more prepared to help the team pursue its elusive first CIF championship. The dream came true with Alex Young, Nehemiah Nash, Jalen Gill and Daniel Sun also qualifying for the Masters Meet.
“It’s a great honor to have kids that want to step up and compete at this level,” an appreciative Craver said. “It earned a lot of respect for them and Woodbridge High School in Orange County track and field.”