Robert Maw got a taste of what coaching in a successful high school track program was like back in 2001 at Cheyenne High School and he's been looking forward to the chance to return to the prep level ever since.
Maw received that chance when he was named this week as the new Carson High boys and girls track coach. Maw replaced Todd Ackerman, who stepped down to become the CHS girls basketball coach.
While Maw's experience on the high school level is limited, his experience in track is not. He has extensive experience in track as an athlete and a coach, including the last six years at Carson Middle School where he coached many of the athletes now in the track program. Maw has also coached volleyball at Carson Middle School and freshman and junior varsity volleyball at CHS.
"I thought I'd jump on it," said Maw about when the chance to coach CHS track came. "I'm very excited."
At Cheyenne, Maw helped Cheyenne's girls win the NIAA 4A State title last year while serving as the jumps coach for the boys and girls teams.
Maw competed in track in the 100 meters and long jump in high school in Southern Alberta, Canada. As a senior in high school, he was invited to compete for the Lethbridge Community College/University club team.
He competed in track as a freshman at Brigham Young University. He then went on a two-year mission to New Zealand before focusing on his studies when he returned to BYU.
Maw earned a resource management degreen from BYU in 1995. He went on to earn a degree in education from the University of Alaska-Anchorage in 2000.
Among those who Maw coached at Carson Middle School were Kayla Sanchez, who has already won nine state titles and is being heavily recruited at the major Division I level, and fellow senior Christy Works, another one of the state's top runners.
The class that featured Sanchez and Works swept the Tah-Neva League titles in volleyball, track, cross country and basketball. "We had a phenomenal year," Maw said. "Just a phenomenal group of kids."
"It's kind of neat," said Maw about coaching the athletes in high school he coached in middle school. "I had at least half of those kids in the (middle school) program."
Maw should have a strong nucleus to work with in both the boys and girls teams, particularly in the girls, which have been the NIAA 4A State runners-up the past two season. With athletes like Works and Sanchez, Maw sees no reason why that success shouldn't continue, but admits there's pressure to continue the success as well.
"Todd had a good group of girls," Maw said. "I think there's some increased pressure there, some pretty big shoes to fill."
Carson and Eagle Valley Middle Schools have had continued success in track and Maw said as long as many of those athletes continue to participate in track at Carson, the high school program should have continued success as well. "Keeping the kids interseted in track is important," Maw said.