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Wofford had team prepped for run at region
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American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that unless executed, good thoughts are no better than good dreams.

At the start of the 2009 track season, fourth-year Gainesville High boys track coach Todd Wofford provided his team a dream to think about: a region title.

And the Red Elephants executed, to the tune of a 30-point victory in the Region 7-AAA meet.

“The No. 1 goal we had coming in was winning region,” Wofford said. “We took each meet individually as a way to get ready for region.”

Gainesville led by four points after Day 1 of the meet, which included the field events.

Thanks to a first-place finish in the 4X100 meter relay, where Tai-ler Jones, Blake Sims, Teryan Rucker and Xavier Ervin bested the field with a time of 42.75 seconds, along with nine other top-five finishes; Gainesville ran away from the competition on the track.

“We were strong coming out of the field events,” Wofford said. “I felt confident in our running, and we brought it home.”

For his efforts, Wofford is The Times 2009 Track Coach of the Year.

“We’ve tried to put together a staff with expertise in everything we’ll be doing on the track,” said Wofford, who was a sprinter and jumper for the track team at Presbyterian College. “I handle the sprinters and let the other coaches do what they need to do to get our other events where they should be.”

Along with running track in his freshman and sophomore years at Presbyterian, Wofford also played wide receiver for the Blue Hose football team.

That experience translated into, what is now, a 14-year coaching career with four of those years coming at the helm of the Gainesville track program and as an assistant for the football team.

Being involved in coaching both sports for the Red Elephants gave Wofford a better understanding of what was perhaps his team’s greatest strength in their championship season.

“Our guys play football and basketball together and that comraderie carries over to the track,” Wofford said. “Physically and mentally they are just used to being a team and it really showed.”

And with a core group of seniors returning, including runners Blake Sim, Teryan Rucker and Tai-ler Jones along with pole vaulter Paul Malquist; Wofford is confident that the precedence set this year will translate into future success for the Red Elephants track program.

“This group of seniors coming up have been with me for four years,” Wofford said. “They have bought into it and they know what I expect as far as mental and physical preparation is concerned — they’ll teach the younger guys.”
Regional events