ShareThis Page
Sports

Freeport's control over Section 6-AA continues

| Thursday, April 28, 2005

Freeport track coach Bill Dillen doesn't believe in magic. There's nothing up his sleeve.

Dillen admits there are no secrets or tricks to coaching this sport that the Yellowjackets have simply owned in recent years.

Freeport's dominance, Dillen said, comes down to personnel.

"It's not magic," Dillen said. "It's about getting good kids to come out. An old coach once said, "Xs and Os don't replace Jimmys and Joes.

"You have to have the kids."

The boys and girls teams have combined to win 152 track meets against since 2000. They've lost 13 times in that time frame.

Both teams celebrated Section 6-AA titles this week.

In addition to winning back-to-back WPIAL titles, the Freeport boys team has won 36 straight section meets, going 9-0 the past four years. They are 76-6 since 2000.

The boys have not had a losing season in more than 30 years. The last one was in the late 1980s when the team finished 5-5.

"We've been really blessed," said Dillen, who has been head coach of both teams for 15 years.

The girls team, which finished second in the WPIAL last year, hasn't had a losing season since 1981. Like the boys, they are 52-2 in section since 2000.

"It comes down to three things," Dillen said. "Great kids, a great coaching staff and good support. Those are the ingredients you need to be successful, We have 'em all."

Balance has followed both teams around the track and into the pits. Standout hurdlers have traded high-fives with middle-distance runners, distance runners, jumpers and throwers.

Some teams are strong in one or two areas. Freeport piles up points all over the stadium.

"We have a lot of talented athletes, but we have to work really hard in practice and that's where good coaching comes in," said Freeport standout Lacey Cochran, who competes in sprints and middle distance events. "We have a lot of flexibility. We can move people around and still be OK."

Dillen is modest about his team's endeavors, but he a team of talented athletes needs direction.

"Sometimes, the coach gets all l the blame and too much of the credit," Dillen said. "

"Our coaches care about us," said hurdler Kiel Conjack. "They make us work. Some track coaches don't take track seriously."

Dillen credits his former track and football coach, Don Earley, for building the foundation for a strong program.

"Don Earley set the tone in 1968, my senior year," Dillen said. "I was lucky to play for him. He taught me a lot."

Dillen was a competitor in the javelin.

WPIAL team playoff pairings will be determined Monday morning. Freeport probably won't be complaining about its seedings.

They've earned the right to be considered favorites -- favorites to continue another magical season.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me