BEST OF 2002-2003
Only the right antidote can protect your life
God's love is alphabetically revealed in random languages
Pitt's Track and
Field could go the distance!
The members of the eighth ranked Pitt Track and Field’s 2004-2005 freshman recruiting class are talented bunch already being expected to take their team to unimaginable heights.
“Yes, we have high expectations for them; you have to expect big things. I’m not sure how long it will take for all of them to develop, but what we do know is that we have an outstanding class and that sometime over the next four years everything is going to come together”, said head coach Alonzo Webb.
Coach Webb is a Pittsburgh native who was hired as the head coach of Pitt’s men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams in 2002. Prior to Pitt, Webb directed Kent State University to two Mid-American Conference track and field championships in three years as the program’s associate head coach.
This is his third year as head coach at Pitt, but only his second recruiting class. He explains how his recruiting style has changed dramatically from his first to his second class.
“When I first came here my goal was just to recruit numbers; to fill every event and put three or four people in each event. Some areas had no athletes in them and we had to rely on walk-ons known as “developers” to fill them. Starting with my second class (this year) however, the focus of recruiting changed from just acquiring numbers to finding the highest quality athletes,” said Webb
Apparently, Coach Webb’s approach works. This year’s class ranks eighth best nationally and expects to make an immediate impact.
“This truly is the best recruiting class in Pitt history. We’ve had a few outstanding individuals before, but never have this many talented track and field athletes come from the same class,” said Webb.
Two of Webb’s many talented newcomers include red-shirt freshman Sam Bair from Shaler and Mike Wray from Philadelphia.
Sam comes to Pitt as a transfer from Kent State University. He was a highly touted distance runner coming out of high school, but injuries kept him from competing all of last year. After discussing things over with his dad ( a former college runner and his high school coach), the two thought the best thing to do would be to run near home, much to the Coach Webb’s delight.
“I wasn’t looking good last year. I had gained weight and was injured all year,” said Bair who already has qualified for the Big East. “Coach Webb and coach Trautmann really made me feel comfortable here; having those guys around is great.”
Bair’s personal goals are modest, to improve his mile and 800 meter times. He believes the men’s team can be competitive at the Big East Championship and acknowledges the tremendous amount of talent around him.
“I think the distance runners will do really well. Tim (Konoval), Jeryl (Wilborn), and the rest of the guys have so much ability. I hear we have a really good sprinting corps too,” said Webb.
Mike Wray comes to Pitt out of Central High School in Philadelphia where he was ranked fourth in the country as a senior hurdler. He has competed this season at the Skip Summerville Invitational (Akron) Black Squirrel Classic (Kent, OH), winning his event at both. Wray’s goals are to potentially qualify for nationals (he already has qualified for the Big East), and to help put the men’s team back on the map.
When asked why not go to a more accomplished track and field school, Wray replied, “I liked it here. At other places I was like, ‘This is kind of cool…when can I go home!’ But I could really see myself being here [at Pitt].”
Wray also felt wanted by Pitt.
“I wanted to go where my talents could make a difference. Pitt was interested in me way before I even went to nationals; I didn’t even have to contact them like I had to do for other schools,” said Wray.
The recruiting styles of Coach Webb and his staff made a huge difference as well.
“Coach Webb pays attention, listens, and connects well with his athletes; his youth helps in understanding young guys,” said Wray.
Pitt’s young talent extends far beyond these two gifted men and it is for that reason that great things will be expected in the coming years. For this year however, Coach Webb just wants his team to improve. He would like to see the girls, who are a more talented group this year, to compete for the Big East title. The women finished last year third indoors and second outdoors in the Big East. The men finished 10th indoors and sixth outdoors. Webb would like to see them move within the top half of the Big East.