BATH — While the pandemic continues to alter the high school winter sports season in Maine, a new indoor track and field program is finding their legs as they kick off their inaugural season, albeit under some different circumstances.
This winter will mark the first season that Morse has their own program with their own coaches.
Athletic director Nathan Priest said it was time for Morse to have their own program, mainly due to an increased level of interest in the sport
“Over the past few years we’ve actually had to ‘cut’ some athletes because Brunswick could only take a certain amount from us,” Priest said. “I sought board approval for a coaching stipend, which was granted.”
For years, the Shipbuilders would practice with Brunswick or Mt. Ararat in their respective facilities, but would participate as a solo entity in meets. Now, Morse will be practicing as a team, with their own coaches and in their own facility. Priest hired two coaches to lead the new program, both of whom are familiar faces within the running community at Morse; Paige Gallagher and Brent Luchies. Gallagher and Luchies are both currently co-head coaches of the school’s cross country team. Luchies is also an outdoor track and field coach at Morse, while Gallagher is the head coach at the middle school level. Both teach at Bath Middle School.
“To have consistency in coaching across cross country, indoor, and outdoor track has great potential for the growth of all these programs,” said Priest.
Gallagher has been the coach at Bath Middle School for the past six seasons, and has been with the Morse Cross Country program since 2018.
“I’m very excited to get going with our program with the momentum and potential that we have here,” said Gallagher. “Our numbers in terms of participation have been increasing over the past couple of the years and it’s exciting to see our growth continue.”
Luchies has been a coach with the boys outdoor track and cross country program for three years.
“I’m grateful that Mr. Priest worked so hard to make this happen, this is really a great opportunity for the kids in our program,” Luchies said.
With this year being unique, the goals for the Shipbuilders will be different compared to previous seasons.
“Our plan early on is to meet with the athletes and have them tell us their goals for this season,” Luchies said. “We mainly just want to get a sense of why they are here and what they want to improve upon.”
“We’re going to keep our options open this year for the athletes this season,” Gallagher said. “Whether it’s trying out new events or working on a personal record, we want to serve all the kids as best as we can this year.”
The Shipbuilders are looking to build off of a successful cross country season, where both the boys and the girls teams’ qualified for the state meet before it was canceled due to rising COVID-19 cases.
“Our main goal for right now is to give these athletes a place to work on their times and their events,” Luchies said. “After the New Year hopefully we get some good news and can prepare for some sort of competition.”