Brian Dinkel said it wasn't anything he did. It was the people around him.
Dinkel, head track coach at De Soto High, helped lead the Wildcats in breaking six school records and qualifying several athletes for the state meet this season. That, combined with a fourth-place finish by the DHS boys, led to Dinkel being named the Journal-World’s All-Area Track Coach of the Year.
“It was a combination of having good assistant coaches who worked really hard, and the kids bought into everything that those guys were teaching them,” Dinkel said. “We had great kids and good coaches, and that’s the reason we had success. It wasn’t anything I did. My name was just the name in charge, I guess. But those guys did a good job.”
Dinkel said he knew before the season started that his boys team could be really good. The boys team showed him that when it won the Baldwin Invitational in the first meet of the year. A few weeks later, the boys and girls teams both finished first at the De Soto Invitational.
De Soto built momentum at the league and regional meets, and the year ended with a strong showing at state. The boys finished fourth as a team, and senior Jamel Townsend won gold in the long jump after flying 23 feet, 4 inches. Jordan Riffel finished second in the boys 100-meter dash, and the girls 3,200 relay team finished third and set a school record.
“We had great kids,” Dinkel said. “Track’s a long sport but they had a positive attitude and worked really hard.”