Eat, drink, and be humble: a recipe for Spartan track success?

Deptford Township High School’s boys track team shared the Group 2 state championship with Tri-County Conference rival during last year’s winter indoor season. With seniors (left to right) Tyrece Brown, Phil Sedalis, Jake Lynch, Kh’ion Smith, Tyriq Bundy, Marcell Washington, and Naseem Smith all back, the Spartans are hoping to win it outright in 2019. (RYAN LAWRENCE, The Sun)

If it’s 2018, then every high school sports program has a Twitter address, a Facebook page and a website.

Well, maybe not every team, but the good ones, because there’s an interest.

Deptford Township High School’s track and field program is one of those winning South Jersey programs with an online presence. There’s even a useful tab for parents to check out, a portion of the site that preaches the program’s importance on such items as dieting, sleeping, schoolwork, watches, shoes, and … laundry.

Laundry? Sure, teenagers need gentle reminders from coaches and parents to take their workout and running gear home to wash.

But, in looking at the big picture, keeping up with all of those items (sleep, diet, etc.) are as vital as stretching before hitting the track.

“I think if you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves,” Deptford boys track coach Kevin Sherry said. “I mean, we talk about their diet a lot, we talk about their sleep. I like to equate it to a cell phone. Every night they go home and they’re charging their cell phone. But if they’re not getting the proper sleep for themselves, than their batteries are going to be drained and when it’s time to perform, they’re not going to have what it takes to get to the top level.”

In a sport when races and meets can be decided in time increments of less than a second, the details matter. A lot.

“A lot of these guys have aspirations to run at the collegiate level,” Sherry said. “I try to explain to them, if you want to be at that level, if you want schools to look at you, then you have to do what it takes to get to that point. And sometimes that means sacrificing, hanging out with your friends, eating junk food, staying up late. You have to go to bed at a decent time, you have to drink a lot of water, you have to eat well. Sometimes you have to miss things with your friends. We talk about that a lot.”

If Deptford’s talented boys track teams walks that talk, then they could be ready to achieve big things in both the winter and spring seasons.

Last year, Tri-County rival Delsea won Group 3 in the spring after Deptford and Delsea were crowned co-Group 2 champions in the winter indoor season.

Deptford is certainly lined up to bring the hardware home to Fox Run Road. Senior Naseem Smith (who recently accepted a scholarship to Syracuse) is one of the state’s best 55 hurdles performers. Fellow senior Tyriq Bundy is one of the state’s top sprinters. And the 4X400 team of Bundy, Tyrece Brown, Javon Sanders, and Khi’on Smith has the chops to make a run at states and Meet of Champions in 2019, too.

Senior Naseem Smith (who recently accepted a scholarship to Syracuse) is one of the state’s best 55 hurdles performers. (RYAN LAWRENCE, The Sun)

Deptford’s track and field team is in line for special seasons in the winter and the spring. They seem to know it, too.

When asked who is the boys equivalent to Winslow Township’s girls track program (six straight spring state titles), at least a few Spartans said either “us” or “you’re looking at it.”

“These guys said that?” Sherry said. “I’m a big fan of humility. I think you need to be humble. I think we are a talented group, but at the same time if you start believing your own hype, now some weak spots start popping up because maybe they’re not doing the work because they believe that.”

Or, basically, go out and prove it first.

“Absolutely,” Sherry said. “There’s definitely a lot of talent. But South Jersey in general has a ton of talent. Delsea is always very good, I can’t remember the last time they were down, so they’re very good. Pleasantville is always very good, Camden is always very good, Haddonfield is always very good. So this area, as far as I’m concerned, is a hotbed for track and field talent.”

And that’s why it’s important to get your sleep, eat right, and hydrate (among other things). It could very well be the difference between being the best in South Jersey.