Familiar faces in new places at North

Mealy, Gould give Knight cross country teams consistency

By: Justin Feil
   A change in the coaching staff for the West Windsor-Plainsboro North cross country teams did not make much more than a ripple among prospective team members.
   That’s because the Knight distance runners are very familiar with Bill Mealy and Brian Gould, and that familiarity is something that both men expect will only help the program. Mealy moves over from coaching the boys’ team the past two seasons to the girls’ team this fall. Gould, who was the head winter track and field coach, steps in as new boys’ head coach.
   "We’ve always had two coaches for the two teams," Mealy said. "Now there’s a little more consistency with the distance runners. I have the girls in the spring. We have quite a few new people, and they’ll have me again this spring."
   Mealy was a shared coach in the spring last year, and worked with distance runners from both the boys’ and girls’ track teams. If North doesn’t find another boys’ distance coach in the spring, Mealy will be back in the shared position. Otherwise, he’ll be working almost exclusively with girls.
   "I’ll miss (working with the boys) a little bit," Mealy said. "If I hadn’t worked with the girls in the springtime, I wouldn’t have made the switch. But the winter track coach was interested in coaching the boys and they always liked his workouts, so it worked out well.
   "He knows his stuff. It wasn’t like I didn’t know who would take the team. I knew a qualified person was taking it."
   Gould, himself an established distance runner as proven locally by his second-place showing the inaugural Diana Run in the spring, is excited about the prospects of working the boys’ cross country team in addition to his winter track duties.
   "I enjoyed it, and when Marty (Flynn, WW-P athletics director) offered me the job, I didn’t hesitate," Gould said. "I’m looking forward to having a full year with them. I’ll have the fall and winter with them and that will give us more consistency with the team. It helps to have them in both (seasons).
   "When they make that change from cross country to track, I’ll know exactly what they’ve done. And if I can put them in a program in the summer, that helps get ready for the fall."
   Gould feels confident that the Knight boys can remain a contender in the Colonial Valley Conference. He was told of the cross country position in late May, and was able to meet with the cross country team to go over a summer plan. And after a winter season with many of the members of the team, he knows what sort of talent he has, and is expecting to see steady progress over the entire school year.
   "I think now that I’ve gotten my feet wet, I can do a better job," said Gould, a teacher at the Community Middle School. "I feel more confident. By spring track, that’s when they’ll make a name for themselves. Mike Jackson has really made a name for the sprinters and jumpers. He’s done a great job with them, and I’m looking to do the same for the distance runners."
   Gould is confident that the Knight boys he worked with in the winter and has seen come back from a summer of training have all the tools to become a force in the CVC.
   "They’re all good guys," he said. "They’re very dedicated. Anyone who can come out and run in the 20-degree weather in the winter, you know is dedicated. All of them have good attitudes and it’s going to pay off."
   And it’s going to pay off that the boys’ and girls’ distance runners at WW-P North should become quite familiar with their coaches’ styles and demands over the year. It’s something that should help the Knights make quite a splash in local distance running circles.