Fallston's profile in courage Cancer doesn't keep Gary Trott away from job Coach of the Year

June 13, 1993|By Katherine Dunn | Katherine Dunn,Staff Writer

Back in January, Gary Trott didn't think too much about coaching. He had more important things on his mind.

After a seizure on Dec. 27, the Fallston track coach learned he suffered from large-cell lymphoma of the central nervous system. To combat the cancer, surgery to remove the tumor and then chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed.

Trott, 43, came through the surgery and chemotherapy well enough to return in March to coach the track team for the 10th year.

Even though he still underwent regular radiation treatments, Trott missed only a few days of practice and eventually guided his girls team to a fourth-place finish in the Class 1A state championships.

Other coaches in the county marveled at Trott's determination.

"Being a fellow coach," said C. Milton Wright's Jim McNicholas, "I'm amazed at how he has been able to accept what happened to him and go on with his duties like it never occurred. He's enthusiastic and he goes about his duties even though his energy is sometimes sapped. His being out in the public and with the athletes is a real tribute to him."

Sometimes fatigue from the radiation treatments, 34 total, wore him down, but Trott took a lawn chair to practice. Instead of wandering around the track, he would coach from the chair.

"A lot of times I used to run with them, but since I couldn't do that anymore, I would write up the workout for each group, and the seniors I had could lead the groups through their workouts," said Trott, The Baltimore Sun's Harford County Track and Field Coach of the Year.

With their biggest turnout ever, the Cougars had nearly 60 girls on the team. Trott developed some exceptional performers, including sophomore county champs Laura Snyder (300 hurdles) and Candy Credito (800 meters), but by season's end, he had helped almost every girl on the team improve.

Missing one of their top runners, the Cougars finished second in the Harford County championships but went on to win their Class 1A regional title. Fallston won three gold medals at the state Class 1A championships -- one by Snyder in the 300 hurdles and two more for the distance relays.

After a sprint to the finish that won the 1,600 relay, Snyder said, "I wanted it so bad. [Coach] Trott's been so great this year, I wanted to do it for him."

In addition to inspiring his runners, Trott also played host to the county championship meet, an event that takes a tremendous amount of work. He gave credit to boys coach Greg Thompson and assistants Chrissy Teague, Kathy Wunderlich and Dean Heffner, but Trott coordinated everything.

A physical education teacher at Fallston, Trott hasn't been able to return to teaching, so coaching has provided a welcome diversion.

"It was a big help to me being able to be there and coach, because I enjoy working with the girls," said Trott, who lives in Fallston with his wife, Jody.

First teams at a glance

* GIRL PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Rebecca Lesesne, Edgewood, Soph. -- In two years, Lesesne has a perfect record in the Harford County track and field championships. For the second straight year, she won the 100- and 200-meter --es as well as helping the Rams to victory in the 400 and 800 relays. The only girl to win four golds at the Harford County meet, Lesesne helped the Rams win the team title with only 11 girls. In the sprints, she was unbeaten until the regional meet. Her top finish in the Class 2A states was fifth in the 200 although she helped the Rams 800 relay team to the gold. In the 100, Lesesne's season-best time of 12.3 seconds ranked her among the top three times posted in the metro area this season.

* BOY PERFORMER OF THE YEAR: Terry Vail, Bel Air, Jr. -- For three years, Vail has dominated the hurdles events at the Harford County championships. This season, he won his third straight title in the 300 hurdles and his second in the 110 hurdles. The only boy to win four golds at the county meet, Vail also helped the Bobcats' 400 and 800 relays to titles. In the hurdles, he had lost only one race going into the Class 3A state meet where he finished second in the 300 hurdles and third in the 110. He won three golds at the regional meet -- for both hurdles and the 400 relay. He also helped the Bobcats' 400 and 800 relays to fifth place in the state meet.

GIRLS

* Becky Bystry, Fallston, Fresh. -- The county champ in the high jump, Bystry struggled with a quad pull but finished second in the Class 1A regionals. Her best jump was 4-10 and she also competed in the long and triple jumps.

* Candy Credito, Fallston, Soph. -- Credito boosted the Cougars in the middle-distance events, winning the county title in the 800 and finishing third in regionals and fourth in states. She also won two gold medals at the state Class 1A meet running on the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams that also swept county and regional titles.

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