Albert Lea has new coach, starts new season
Published 9:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2016
Girls’ track and field has new face at the helm
By Jarrod Peterson
Opportunities take time to develop. There are very few instances in the world of coaching where someone new is thrown into the fire.
For Jasmine Hansen, she didn’t know if her coaching opportunity would come soon or if she would have to wait a few decades behind Albert Lea’s girls’ track and field coach Margo Wayne, who coached the team for nearly the past four decades.
Hansen begins her first season as the girls’ track and field coach this spring, and said she is very excited about the opportunity.
“I knew that I wanted to coach after I was done throwing in college,” Hansen said. “I have been involved in track and field since I learned how to walk. This is a very exciting opportunity, and I am looking to take advantage of it.”
Hansen, a graduate of Morris Area High School, headed to Minnesota State University-Moorhead, where she was a thrower on the Dragons’ track and field team. She graduated in 2011 with a major in education and landed her first job in Albert Lea, where she teaches eighth-grade algebra.
“I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” Hansen said. “It was my junior year of high school when I decided math was the area I wanted to focus on.”
When she graduated, she was able to knock teaching off her list, but ran into some trouble with the coaching part.
“When I first got to Albert Lea, there were no assistant coaching positions open,” Hansen said. “I decided to volunteer my first year, and I was able to learn a lot.”
She did everything from taking attendance to helping the shot put and discus throwers prepare and practice. At meets, once the field events wrapped up, Hansen would take times of the sprinters and made sure the runners were ready to go.
“With only four coaches, it’s hard to keep track of 60 to 90 girls,” she said. “I was kind of all over the place, helping a lot of girls out and making sure they were ready.”
This spring, some of what she is doing has changed now that she’s the head coach.
“I’ve been doing a lot more planning,” Hansen said. “Planning workouts, working more with the sprinters and jumpers than in past years.”
She will admit she was very nervous coming into the spring, despite having been involved with the sport for such a long time.
“I was pretty nervous in the beginning,” Hansen said. “I know that I have a lot to learn, but luckily I was able to convince Margo to come back as an assistant coach.”
Wayne is now the sprints coach for Albert Lea, and that has Hansen pretty excited.
“Having her on the staff has helped immensely,” Hansen said. “She has so much experience and knowledge, and it’s a nice transition for all the girls on the team because everyone knows Margo.”
With the coaching staff in place, Hansen is looking forward to getting the season started and seeing how the girls can improve.
“My expectations are to see just how much these girls can improve,” Hansen said. “We have a very, very young team and we are in a very tough section with Lakeville North and South. Our goal is to send some girls to state, but that is a very lofty goal.”
Albert Lea’s first outdoor meet was scheduled for April 5, but was postponed due to weather conditions, so the team is still getting into gear.
It’s Hansen’s first journey in the lead position, and she wants to make sure the team is ready to go.
“Spring break came at a very unfortunate time,” Hansen said laughing. “But we have the whole team back together now and are focused on our first outdoor meet. We are looking to make this a successful season.”