Southern Maryland Christian Academy hired Kevin Wilbon Sr. to help establish its track and field program as the Mustangs’ head coach.
“Coach Wilbon Sr. actually came to us just to talk about track and one thing led to another and I asked him if he was interested in helping us build a program here,” Southern Maryland Christian athletic director Paul Tarry said. “He is very well known in the track community, and from talking with him I quickly realized how much he could help us.”
Wilbon was named head track and field coach for the high school and middle school track and field teams at Southern Maryland Christian this past March. He has been a fixture within the Charles County and Waldorf communities since 2003 having served as an assistant basketball coach at Westlake, North Point and Thomas Stone high schools.
“I love kids and coaching both high school and middle school athletes at the same time was great,” Wilbon said. “I want to sincerely thank Mr. Paul Tarry for giving me the opportunity and trusting me to share my knowledge and experience with the athletes at SMCA. [At Southern Maryland Christian] this also gives me the chance to spearhead a sports program that has been on the rise for some time.”
Two things were on Wilbon’s mind when he accepted the job to help lead the Southern Maryland Christian track and field team this year: teach and improve the speed of all of the athletes on the team.
In total, there were 25 athletes on the team with 14 high school and 11 middle school athletes. A majority of the athletes had not competed in track and field before this season.
“The athletes actually did a superb job this season with a majority never ever running track before,” Wilbon said. “Being a head coach of any high school or middle school sports program is a huge responsibility and not to be taken lightly because you have to earn the respect of your athletes in order to get them to give you their all in reaching their fullest potential and that’s what I felt I did this season.”
Without having a track to practice on at the school, Southern Maryland Christian would run and train with cones in the school parking lot on some days.
Wilbon, with the help of assistant coaches Helissa Cunningham and Uthman Lockett, coached the athletes in the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs as well as shot put.
“We as coaches showed the athletes that running is an art form that has to be enhanced and controlled and that speed can’t be taught but running in form can be,” Wilbon said. “What I try to instill in my athletes is that dedication and doing different events in track and mastering what you really don’t want to do will turn you powerful and driven and ultimately you will be successful.”
Many Southern Maryland Christian athletes had success at the Metro Independent Schools Athletic League track and field championships earlier this spring with a handful of Mustangs taking home medals.
Kennadie Johnson earned a first-place finish in the shot put from the middle school event, while Jamie Davis won first place and Haley Johnson finished second in the shot put in the high school competition.
Nailah Nurse earned a third-place finish in the 200, while Jariah Russell earned third-place finishes in the shot put and 1,600.
“I had a lot of fun working with coach Wilbon and he really focuses on technique. He makes sure to work and include every single runner, and no one is left out. This year was my first year trying shot put,” Russell said. “Coach Wilbon showed me the proper techniques on how to throw, and I got third place. Competing at the MISAL championships was a great experience, especially with this team. This team is really a family and having their support is a big help.”
Russell’s mother, Kathryn Russell, attended the MISAL championships and she and Russell’s father, Simeon Russell, both agreed that Wilbon helped the program achieve new heights this season.
“As parents, it’s always great to witness your child and their team succeed especially when they have the proper coaches in place,” Kathryn Russell said. “In our opinion, the key factor in SMCA’s success in track and field was coach Wilbon Sr.’s coaching style. He evaluated them and used the strengths they already had and tailored their skills for the track and shot put circle.”
Wilbon hopes to build a successful track and field program for many more years to come.
“We are very proud that our team came back with medals making it a successful season as my first year as head coach,” Wilbon said. “This is just the beginning of greater things to come for the SMCA sports program and hopefully more kids will join the track team as well and enroll into the school to make it a dominant powerhouse.”