Smyrna HS's Maura Schafer named girls track coach of the year.

Smyrna girls' track coach Maura Schafer was recently named the DIAA girls' Outdoor Track Coach of the Year for 2013. Previously, she was named the Indoor Track Coach of the Year for 2013. Here is our recent interview with Coach Schafer:

Q: How did you hear about being named Coach of the Year?

A: It was announced at the All-State Track banquet.

Q: What was your reaction?

A: It was very humbling. I look up to some other programs in Delaware, so I am honored to be selected by the

coaches. I consider this a tribute to all the hard work accomplished by the girls.

Q:At what point did you realize this was a special group of girls?

A: At the Meet of Champions last year, in the spring of 2012, we kept making progress, we had a really exciting

4 X 400 race, and I think that's where the excitement among the girls started to pick up. So, we got the

feeling that, Yeah, we really belong among the top runners, and that event kind of proved it for us.

Winter indoor track is kind of a training period. We had a lot of athletes take it seriously, and they

reaped the benefits at the (Henlopen) Conference and state level. We went to an indoor meet at the

University of Delaware and did well, then we went to a meet at Haverford, PA and we won it, and we

thought, Yes!, we can do this!

Q: As you grew in self-confidence, do you feel the team picked up on your vibes?

A: Absolutely! At the very beginning of indoor, we told them: 'we are going to train you like elite athletes,

because we know you can become elite athletes, competing with the best in the state. This is where we think

you are and where you can get to, and then they really started to believe in themselves, finally!

Q: Have you changed you training techniques over the years?

A: When I started, we had a very small staff. Sometimes just myself and one other, and we had boys and girls

together. So, our training has come a long way as our coaching staff has grown. Now we have coaches in just

about every position, Jen Suarez with the distance runners,a great throwing coach in Lauren Murray,

jumpers coach, Mark Williams, and Randy Faulkner in the Pole Vault. So, I think as the coaching staff grew,

it enabled us to really fine-tune our training, and it made training more effective.

Q: What did you do to prepare your team for upcoming meets?

A:For outdoor meets, we checked the times of the other runners, just to figure out where they will put certain

people, and where we can match up and score the most points. So we will make some line-up changes for

better results.

Q: What were your expectations going into the state championship meet?

A:We went in, expecting to win it. That was our goal and our expectation. It would have been nice to be in the

top three or four, but we really believed that we could win it. We had girls competing in every single event

for the first time since I've been here, and maybe the first time ever. It was exciting to know that in every

event we would have one of our girls competing. We rallied around the idea of finally winning a banner for

girls' track. It was the highlight of the year for us to win the state championship!