Woodcreek’s boys 4×100 relay team will beat you and then make you laugh afterward
By TREVOR HORN | Contributor
If anything, the Woodcreek-Roseville boys 4×100 relay team is a comical, yet confident foursome.
Marco Hanan, the track and field coach for the Timberwolves, calls the group “fun, goofy kids.”
Tyus Williamson, the fastest of the group, says “You take one look at us and you don’t expect us to be the fastest in the section.”
Oh, but they are.
Williamson, along with fellow junior Aspyn Walton and seniors Colton George and Alex Rotteveel, have put together a string of impressive relays together all season. The Timberwolves have the fastest time in the Sac-Joaquin Section at 41.91 seconds, which is also good for eighth best in the state.
All with a group that is comprised of a 2013 Masters qualifier in the 100 in Williamson, a football player-turned sprinter in Rotteveel, a 400-meter specialist in Walton and a jump specialist in George.
The group is not normal, yet, they set the standard in what matters most for a winning relay team — the handoffs.
“We put a lot of emphasis on the exchanges and we feel we don’t lose any speed through the three exchanges,” Hanan said. “We practice it a lot and put a lot of detail into it.”
The athletes understand the importance of what those critical times mean for a race.
“We talk about perfecting our handoff,” Rotteveel said. “If we can get a half-second faster, we have a chance to go in the high-40s. And that’s what other teams will be doing.”
Walton, who is currently ranked third in the section in the 400 at 48.67, is the new guy this season. The other three have been together as a relay team since Williamson’s freshman year on the junior varsity squad.
That group, with now-senior Dylan Stacy, finished second at the Division I meet to Elk Grove and did not get out of the preliminary heat at Masters last May.
Hanan said the group’s focus is not on the past, good or bad, but on the present and future of what this bunch can do.
“We want these kids to believe they can compete with anyone in the state because that’s our ultimate goal,” Hanan said.
Woodcreek has already won titles at the Stanford Invitational and Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles. During meets, the group uses the baton given to them from winning the Stanford title. A friendly reminder of what the group has accomplished.
On April 23 at a Sierra Foothill League dual meet at Granite Bay High School, SportStars Magazine clocked the group at an unofficial 41.58, which would be good for third in the state.
But why is this group so darn fast?
“It’s like a family,” Rotteveel said. “These are like my brothers, We have the chemistry.”
There is the answer. Like a recipe or chemistry equation, the result is greater than the parts. “We are like a band of brothers,” George said. “I don’t think anyone in the state can compete with us as long as we have good handoffs and we compete together.”
The next big test for Woodcreek will be May 3 in the Sacramento Meet of Champions at American River College. Nearly a dozen of the top relay teams from the Sacramento region as well as the North Coast Section will be in the event. De La Salle-Concord, Castro Valley, Deer Valley-Antioch, Vacaville and San Leandro along with Woodcreek are all part of the event.
A championship for Woodcreek would be another testament to the hard work the foursome has put in this season.
Even the order of which the relay team is compiled is unique, yet, very well-thought out. Rotteveel, whom Hanan calls “one of the best block starters in the section”, is the lead runner. Rotteveel has the sixth fastest 200 in the section at 21.90.
Williamson is the lone one of the group with a 100 clocked under 11 seconds. So putting him in the anchor would makes sense, but with the back stretch actually being the longest of any of the four, Hanan said putting Williamson second was a no-brainer.
Walton is the third leg and with his ability to turn corners well in the 400 and possessing “top end” speed that rivals any in the section, according to the coach, gives an extra boost heading into the final stretch. That is where George — who calls himself “Napoleon Dynamite” because his floppy-curly hair and long build resemble the title character from the 2004 indie classic film — comes in.
Not a sprinter alone, but Hanan said the senior is “super competitive and refuses to lose” and is a perfect fit. “They have the rare combination of goofiness while keeping the ability to be competitive,” Hanan said. “I really enjoy coaching them.”
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