SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Jonathan Dayton Bulldogs boys track team goes into the spring season with the benefit of added training from winter track and the same coach. Right now, the team has 43 participants including just seven seniors, ten juniors and at least, 26 underclassmen.
That number of participants should be even greater next year since there are about 200 students attending eighth grade at Florence M. Gaudineer Middle School. It should build on one of the team’s strengths, which is already being one of the largest and deepest teams in Group 1.
Matt VanDeursen is the Head Coach of the boys spring track team. This is his sixth year at Jonathan Dayton High School. He teaches world and U.S. history at the high school. Aside from coaching winter track, he is the assistant coach for Westfield High School’s cross country team in the fall. To keep current on track, he does one continuing education clinic a year for track and attends injury prevention seminars.
Coach VanDeurson said, “Winter track is meant to help build to spring track.” He added, “Training continues between the two seasons.” The coach believes in a “no cut” policy and feels all those willing to commit and participate should get that chance.
Training for spring track started at the beginning of March. The first three weeks of training are designed to increase the endurance of the athletes and developing the whole body for injury prevention. There is also base training which includes a half hour of warming up, dynamic stretching, etc. Training in practices becomes more event specific by mid April and through May.
The first competition will be an intrasquad match on March 23 or March 24 with the Blue team competing against the Orange team. On March 30 a scrimmage is scheduled away against Millburn. Then the season begins. Coach VanDeursen uses the dual meets to sense of where the athletes are and their potential. This is done to be well prepared for the Conference meet and the Sectional meet.
The top three Dayton in each track event qualify for the Sectional at the end of May. The top six in each event at the Sectional qualify for the State Championships in early June.
Based on last season and winter track, he feels the relay teams should do well and the distance group is strong. He said, “The distance group enjoy each other and they enjoy coming to practices.”
All home meets are at Meisel Park.
VanDeursen is a life-long resident of New Jersey, he got his undergraduate degree and Masters in Education from St. Peters University. While he was an undergraduate, he ran distance races for the track team and swam distance races for the swimming team.
Before the winter track season Coach VanDeursen said , “I ask the members of the team to get a little better every day.” That request still stands.
The season’s schedule follows: