Kaley Hambelton Jumps into Her New Track Coach Position


By Bella Forrest and Allie Montgomery

With big shoes to fill, new teacher Kaley Hambelton jumps into her new coaching role for the Cleveland track and field team’s 2016 season after the difficult passing of Kenny Bibles last fall.

Her experience in sprinting throughout high school and into her collegiate studies at Concordia University makes her an amazing candidate for the job where she will work with the jumpers.

“At the previous school I worked at, I started a track and field program and was the head coach for two years. While I was an athlete, I focused on sprints. I have been around the sport of track and field for a long time and am excited to be working with the jumpers,” Hambelton said.

“It’s a very tough situation we’re in. We lost a beloved coach Kenny Bibles who was not only a really good, but excellent jumps coach. He was a father figure, a grandfather figure, he was very very special to the program. It’s difficult; you don’t really replace someone like that, but you need a new coach,” said Stephen Nims, head track and field coach.

“It can be hard to come into a program for a coach who has had such a lasting impact on the students and was so good at what he did. Coach Bibles really had an impact on the athletes and truly cared about them as people. Each of his athletes are lucky to have had him as a coach,” Hambelton said of Bibles’ passing. “I love the sport of track and field and am excited to be involved here at Cleveland. I am most excited to get to know the athletes and see each of them work to better themselves in their events,” she said.  

Being a versatile part of the teaching staff at Cleveland, she was ready to step in and help coach the track team. “Coach Nims contacted me knowing that I had some previous involvement in track. I had the opportunity to be a track athlete starting in junior high and was involved in the sport through college. I especially enjoyed my time as a collegiate athlete at Concordia University, and it made me realize I could see myself coaching in the future,” said Hambelton.

Hambelton started teaching Government and Economics as well as Film and Literature this year. However, like many new teachers, she was faced with the problem of not having a permanent classroom, leaving her to move to a new room constantly throughout the day.

“I heard that she taught six classes in six different classrooms and somebody who can do that, especially new to a school year, shows organization and resilience, quick to adapt on their feet, and those are a lot of the traits that can lead to successful coaching. I was impressed with her rapport and the relationship she had with students,” Nims said. “I have a really good feeling that things are going to go quite well.”

Not only is the faculty looking forward to Hambelton’s addition, but so are the students.

“What I’m really looking forward to is that last year, I couldn’t really compete because I had severe shin splints and this year, I’m getting better, so hopefully I’ll be able to break the school record,” said Emma Hausafus, a senior and longtime runner.

She is working hard to learn the ropes of jumping before the season begins, and is ready to help kids learn and improve at track. “She seems nice,” said Linus Clark, adding, “She said she didn’t do jumps and hasn’t coached jumps; she has done sprints and coached sprints. They’re very close in form and in muscle groups. She seems like she wants to learn more which is always a good thing. She’s dedicated to improving,” said Clark.

The first official practice of the 2016 season is on Monday, Feb. 29.