Ep. 014 | The Strength to Run: Interview with Kevin Villars & Mike Washington
Join the CSSP crew as they interview Kevin Villars, coach of the Lummi Nation HS track team, and his protégé Mark Williams. Showcased in this episode are the developments of coach and athlete as they pushed themselves to be better runners and even better citizens.
Before Kevin Villars there was Enrique Medina. Enrique, head of the Lummi HS track coach, lead the team to win state title with only 4 people. After he left he was replaced by Kevin Villars who had to pick up the pieces Enrique left. From that time the team has grown, including 26 boys and 12 girls (a 4 fold increase).
Kevin himself began in track only after he was forced to partake in it before he could play baseball. However, once the opportunity to play baseball came he decided to stay with track, even going on to beat his school’s record. Similar to this is how Mike got involved, because he had to be talked into joining track by his cousin. Yet when he did he fell in love with the field.
Mike’s sophomore year happened to also be the year Kevin took over as coach. He came in to witness Mike’s team pushing it hard due to a disqualification they experienced freshmen year. Kevin realized their synergy and changed a few things, changes that helped them reach state that year. A bond soon formed between the coach and the student, and now Kevin approaches Mike like another son.
Heading to State was a great a achievement. Even so the system screwed them over, putting them in the lowest heat. This meant it would be tough for them to score onto the top ten. The coached wished them luck, and hoped they could get in at least 8th place. But when the announcements came it’d seemed that they hadn’t even scored that when the announcers moved past 3rd place without calling on the Lummi nation.
That year, they got in 2nd place. To Kevin, a miracle had just occurred.
This year Mike was injured for 3/4th of the time, and so in state his team only scored 9th place. Yet the year wasn’t all bad news for Mike, as he was able to get a scholarship for a school in California. Part of this is due to Kevin’s investment in his athletes being first good students, then good citizens, and helping them with their futures. That is, if their willing to do the hard work.
From this, and with Mike’s future, both coach and athlete seek to put Lummi on the map in college circles and beyond.