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By The Bakersfield Californian
One conversation with Dave Lonsinger will tell you he's more than a track and field coach.
"Two things I always go back to is that we love to foster these kids," said Lonsinger, The Californian's 2013 Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year. "The kids know they're loved by myself, our other coaches, their parents, no matter the results. And they love each other. And what we hope will happen is that the kids will compete fearlessly for each other."
Case in point: Stockdale's once fearsome-looking roster was trimmed to 15 or so boys by the time the final Southwest Yosemite League meet, the area meet and the Central Section championships rolled around. Yes, three of those were eventual state champion Blake Haney and fellow state qualifiers Connor Fisher and Alec Benavides, but the work of the others also stood out to Lonsinger.
Several freshmen and seldom-used athletes filled in for an injury-depleted group of sprinters, and Benavides stepped in seamlessly when the Mustangs' top hurdler, Tristan Watson, faltered at the section meet.
The result was a league title, a third-place finish in the section and a fifth-place finish in the state (all 20 of those points came from Haney).
"We just had this small group of guys that had tremendous love for each other," Lonsinger said. "They wanted to win for each other, and they acted that out in practice and in tough meets, asking how the other guy was doing. This team was very, very close."
-- ZACH EWING