Wendell Larson begins his 16th year as track coach this season.
His enthusiasm never seems to run out.
Larson was recently named as the Northwest Iowa Class 1A Track and Field Coach of the Year, an honor given to him by his peers and the Iowa Track Coach Association. This is the third time he has received this honor, proving how well respected he is.
Larson has had a great group of athletes to work with throughout the years, making his job enjoyable.
He began as assistant coach under Marv Munden when Alta and Aurelia were sharing sports. Those three years, he said, helped form his coaching techniques. "I still use some of those techniques that he showed me. I still bounce ideas off him; we still have that bond," Larson said.
For the past 13 years he has been Alta's boys head coach.
What is it that he enjoys most about coaching track? "I like competition. Track is work. It's you running or throwing. Track is a very objective thing - the clock doesn't lie."
He gets nervous still, he admitted, wondering if the boys will false start or disqualify for not getting the baton passed. He is even nervous that the boys won't show up for their races - they always do.
He gets just as excited as the boys when they cross the finish line - especially if an improved time is seen.
Since 1997, Coach Larson has taken 63 athletes to the State Track meet, competing in 62 events.
Rory Payne is his assistant coach and he speaks highly of him.
"We think a lot alike. He is a great asset to the program."
Good luck to Coach Larson in this track season.