AARON DABNEY feltthe stares. The girls on his school's state champion hurdling team—girls!—werestanding around, watching, waiting for the sophomore to attempt the firsthurdle of his life. "Go over it," coach Leroy Galloway told Dabney."I know you're going to fall." The audience, recruited to witnessDabney's impending embarrassment, laughed when Dabney fell awkwardly over thehurdle. Then Galloway extended his hand to help Dabney up and said, "Onceyou fall—and everybody falls—you can learn. Now, let's learn tohurdle."
For 25 yearsGalloway has coached scores of track athletes over literal and figurativehurdles at the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pa. The boarding school,funded by the chocolatier's estate, provides free education, room and clothingto some 1,500 children who are orphaned, low-income or facing unstable homelives. (Dabney, for example, now a junior and a district title contender in the300-meter hurdles, came to Hershey after his grandmother struggled to raise himin a drug-plagued Chicago neighborhood.)
The most constantmale authority figure for many of his athletes, Galloway, 54, will end one ofthe most successful high school coaching tenures in Pennsylvania when heretires after the May 25 state meet. He already has 14 girls' and two boys'state team track championships, and his girls' team could contend at the statemeet again this year.
A former hurdlerwho graduated from Shippensburg (Pa.) University, Galloway is praised byathletes for coaching without pressuring. At meets he remains relatively quiet,trusting that his athletes have absorbed his instruction. "I try to teachthem to think on their own," he says. Galloway is stepping down, he says,because he doesn't "want to get stale." He will continue teachingEnglish at Hershey, and he aspires to write a book on coaching. What might thatbook say? Senior Anna-Christine Scull, who will be a favorite in the 800 metersat states, sums up Galloway's lessons: "He's taught me that you get exactlywhat you work for."
May 6, 2007
HE WAS BACK—and better—at the Penn Relays last weekend.Matt Centrowitz, a senior from Broadneck High (Annapolis, Md.) and the son ofOlympic distance runner Matt Centrowitz Sr., was named the meet's outstandingboys' individual-event high school performer for the second year in a row afterhe broke the 35-year-old Penn Relays record in the mile by running a 4:08.38.Centrowitz (left) will run for Oregon next year.
The girls' outstanding performer was Kimberly Williamsof Vere Tech (Clarendon, Jamaica). Her triple jump of 43'10" obliteratedthe old record by more than 19 inches. She is the Penn Relays' first-everthree-time winner in the event.