While the Enterprise High track and field team’s 2020 senior class may have been small in numbers, it was large in leaders during its abbreviated season.
Under first-year coach Brad Fortney, EHS hosted its first ever track and field events on campus before the season came to a premature end.
“I thought it was coming along really well and you always hear ‘what if’ in sports but this truly was a ‘what if’ kind of season,” Fortney said. “When I look at the seniors I think we had several that had the opportunity to finish the season down in Gulf Shores for the state meet.”
That senior class included Tyrone Clark, Romaine McFarland, Jeremy Bernal, KJ McNeese, Kaitlyn Price, Tyler Rathburn and Henry Templin.
“We didn’t have a big senior class but I thought they were great for our underclassmen just showing them how to do things and being seniors that cared and took initiative,” Fortney said.
Fortney pointed to seniors Tyler Rathburn and Henry Templin – who had experience making it to the state meet – as really stepping up as leaders for younger teammates.
“Henry and Tyler were huge for our distance (running) side having that experience and having some success from years previous and just being able to guide and kind of nurture our underclassmen on how to do things,” Fortney said. “Distance is one of those things – those aren’t easy events – that you have to be really dedicated and disciplined to have success in.
“You have to put all of that time and effort and they did a really good job of leading that group. We were really young on the distance side – which is great for the future – and I thought they did a great job of laying the foundation for what you have to do to be successful.”
Rathburn said that being a leader was something he had been working towards for several years.
“It was nice to be able to be a leader,” he said “It was something I definitely worked for over my six years of running.”
Templin said that he and Rathburn made a conscious effort to push the younger runners, as well as bring more students to the program in general.
“Me and Tyler both decided we really wanted to help the younger people grow and get better at running,” Templin said. “Plus, the more people we have running the more people we can touch in the community.
“That always helps introduce people to the track program. We did things like fundraisers and car washes, and during those we would try and get younger people to come so they can maybe bring their friends and help grow the team and grow the sport itself.”
The small senior class spent most of their high school careers competing together, which meant they were able to form strong bonds with one another.
“Most of the people in the senior class I’ve been running with for at least 2-3 years if not more,” Rathburn continued. “So, I’ve grown pretty close with them and not to be able to finish off the season together sucks.”
Templin said that his fellow seniors were the embodiment of hard work.
“We put a lot of work into what we dedicated ourselves to,” Templin said of the seniors. “Me and Tyler have been doing this for about four years and have met a lot of great people and a lot of great friends.”