The Ferris State men and women’s Track & Field team will travel to Grand Valley State on Friday to begin their season.
The team is going through some big changes, especially with the addition of a new interim head coach Jared Kelsh.
Kelsh will be replacing fellow alumni Steve Picucci, who was the Bulldog’s head coach for six years. Picucci landed a head coaching job at Division I Moorhead State in Kentucky.
Kelsh was a four-year letter winner for the Bulldogs in both track and cross-country from 2004-08 where he currently holds the school’s second fastest time ever in the outdoor 1,500 meters according to the Ferris State website.
He followed his time as a college athlete by becoming the Bulldog’s assistant coach under Steve Picucci from 2008 to 2012 before working as a personal trainer and becoming an assistant coach at Division I University of Buffalo in New York.
When asked how he felt coming back to coach his alma mater, Kelsh said, “Being here as a head coach is quite an honor. I am familiar with Larry [Levine, assistant coach] and he has helped make the transition a lot easier.”
Coach Kelsh said that coming off the cross-country season the team took 7-10 days of down time and says it’s going to be important to get back into the routine of practice and class while still staying “race ready.”
Kelsh admits that it has been tough to train with the weather being so poor, but he believes that consistently getting his athletes to get runs in is the biggest thing in preparation for the season.
First year sprinter Josh Duggan is excited for the season to begin, “the team has trained long and hard, it’s going to be a great year for us,” said Duggan.
Duggan is one of many freshman and sophomores on the young Ferris State squad. Although the team is young, Kelsh said, “They have done a really good job of coming together, especially with a change of coaching.”
While the majority of the squad remains young, the team is returning two all-American seniors in Samantha Johnson and Breeann Ovokaitys to help lead the team with their experience and abilities.
In a rebuilding year for the Bulldogs, they hope to still compete in the GLIAC and Coach Kelsh said he would like to finish the season in the top half of the conference and to get as many athletes as possible to qualify for Nationals at the end of the season.
The team will travel to Allendale on Friday for their indoor meet at Grand Valley State.