Vanessa Kuffner, Staff Writer
This year, Saint Martins welcomed the new assistant coach Atanas Atanassov to the SMU Track & Field team. Atanassov will primarily be working with the sprinters, jumpers and relay teams. Atanassov has been coaching for more than 20 years, with experience in his home country Bulgaria in addition to 14 years in the United States. Before arriving at SMU, Atanassov coached 12 national championships in Bulgaria. He has worked with a wide variety of schools from high school to NCAA Division I. He also worked with Olympic athletes in the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he coached the USA team to 11th place in the decathlon. “The Olympic games are something very big compared to single sports and competition. It’s an exciting experience to be a part of,” said Atanassov.
Along with his impressive resume, Atanassov coached Jeremy Taiwo in 2012-13, who broke a world record and high jumped 2.25- meters or seven feet 4.5 inches. With his high-level experience and knowledge, Atanassov brings skills and experience to the team that SMU has not seen before. “I like to work with developing athletes, like most of the athletes on our team. And I think I’ll be helpful for them with my knowledge and try and develop their skills. From the short time I work with them, it looks like we are getting together with our thinking and the results we are getting it looks like we are showing big potential for future of this season,” said Atanassov, describing pre-season training. “The team is looking good, the incoming freshman and the returners, they have some big potential to be a very high competitive level.” The indoor track and field season will begin on Dec. 9th with the first meet in Nampa, Idaho against Northwest Nazarene University.
Craig Boyle, a junior pole vaulter, recently joined the decathlon team on the men’s track and field team. Bolye, from Vancouver, Wash., has been vaulting since his freshman year at Seaton Catholic High School. Bolye is excited for the new season and the new coach, “…[AAtanassov] is really great, amazing to work with. I’m also excited because everyone seems more upbeat and more positive.” Last year, Boyle was bumped out of third place and ended up getting fourth. “…that was kind of painful, but this year I plan on knocking the other guys out.” Said Boyle.
With the indoor season coming up, the track and field team is gearing up and training hard with the hopes of having a home meet this year. “It’s exciting, that we might get a home meet this year, so if we do definitely come out and support the team no matter what…but really if we get more students coming out and rallying behind us that would really mean a lot.” Boyle commented. Behind some new coaches and new members, the track and field team plan on competing well this season.