ELLENVILLE – Coach Phil Althouse has been voted "boys' track coach of the year" by his fellow Mid-Hudson Athletic League coaches. The award will be presented to Althouse this fall, according to the MHAL office.
"Kids are excited about track and field in Ellenville," Althouse said in an interview earlier this week. "We had an outstanding season and the program has come so far."
Most people don't think of track and field as a team sport; however, Althouse's program emphasizes the fact that even a sixth-place finish gives the team much-needed points, so you need not have a large number of star athletes in order to do well.
"They've bought into the team philosophy we've developed," Althouse said of his student athletes. "Track is like life: there're things you want to do, and things you have to do. Not everyone is going to run the 100-meter dash or the 200-meter dash."
Althouse says that he has stressed to his athletes the importance of giving your best effort, even though you may not reach the podium, and that it was really the kids who deserve the credit.
"If you look at the league [meet], we scored points in 15 of the 19 events, and we had multiple scorers in many of these events," Althouse said. "If you look at the sectional meet, we scored in 18 of the 19 events."
It turns out that the Ellenville High School team won the league despite having only one first-place finish — the 1600-meter relay team — at this year's final.
Ellenville High School Athletic Director May Borriello said that all of the EHS coaches perform very well, but that she was particularly pleased with Althouse's success this season.
"He's done a great job," Borriello said.
Althouse also praised Mary's husband, Coach Tony Borriello (who was himself voted 'football coach of the year' by the MHAL for his work with the EHS football team), for the job he did this season with the "throwers" — discus, shot put, etc.
"He [Coach Borriello] was my track coach when I ran at Ellenville, so it's a real honor to be working with him. He's a great track coach," Althouse said.
Coach Althouse will now gear up for the next significant challenge on the immediate horizon: he and his wife Natasha are expecting their first child any day now.