Track coach Hall of fame

Track coach and art teacher Curtiss Hall brings fun and encouragement to his athletes

Malori Richards, Editor-In-Chief

At the start of the track season, he will be out there. Out amidst the pairs of running legs, flying feet and swinging arms. Head coach and teacher Curtiss Hall will be running around amidst the track athletes, giving directions, yelling encouragement and cracking jokes. Hall has been a track coach for almost 17 years now. During school this year Hall is teaching drawing and painting and batik. Hall has not always been a part of the Seahawk family, however.

“I [‘ve] taught in a number of places, I taught for 5 years right after college in Silverton, Oregon, a  little farming town. Then I taught in London, in the suburb named Bushey.  I actually taught American Sports, because there were kids from all over the world,” Hall said. “For just one year. Then I was at Lakes High School for like five years or six years.”

Not only was Hall a teacher at Lakes High School, he is also an alumni and broke the 800 meter record while he was a student there. In college, Hall said he was “just a run-of-the-mill college athlete.”

His own athletic experience has helped him as a coach and as a teacher, a fact evident in the students he instructs. Junior Michala Zilkey throws the shot put and discus in track and loves the environment of the track team.

“Everyone’s really friendly and nice to each other. It’s a very welcoming and open society. It’s a family, a track family,” Zilkey said.

This feeling of community is found throughout the Seahawk track team and is a main reason why most of the athletes are attracted to the program. Junior Kaitlin Flanigan is a sprinter and works with Coach Hall, who said he is the “head coach, but the event group I work with specifically are the sprinters; the sprinters and relays.” Flanigan has been a varsity runner for the track team for two years and is anticipating lettering again this spring. Like Zilkey, Flanigan’s favorite part of the track team is the feeling of community.

“It’s just such a great group of people and we have so much fun at practice,” Flanigan said. “It’s just all around great, I guess. Coach Hall makes it fun and knows what he’s doing.”

Apart from growing the sense of community on the track team, Hall is busy encouraging, instructing and joking around with his athletes.

“He’s definitely taught me how to run better, better form. He just really encourages all of us to do our best and keep going,” Flanigan said. “He makes practice really fun, we’re always joking around. He’s telling us jokes in between our intervals.”

Even when the Washington weather transforms the track into more of a pool than a race course, Hall is still out there, yelling and pushing his athletes forward.

“It’s pouring down rain outside and we all don’t really want to do anything, we just want to stand in the bleachers. He’s always making sure we’re up and moving, staying warm, so we don’t get injured or anything like that,” Senior Mavric Mason said.

Mason has been on the track team since he was a freshman and has lettered every year. Mason said that one of the key things that Hall has taught him is to “keep yourself motivated, through hard times you just have to keep going through them.”

Hall has impacted Flanigan and Zilkey in the same way. Zilkey said one thing she has learned from Hall is to “never give up, every foot counts.” Another thing that track team members appreciate about Hall is his sense of humor. The track team has frequent self-proclaimed ‘Bad Joke Days’ and often crack jokes in between sets.

“In between our 200 interval workouts, we always get him to tell us jokes. Sven and Ole jokes, so we can get a longer break in between the running time. He’s famous for his Sven and Ole jokes,” Flanigan said.

All joking aside, one of Hall’s favorite things about both coaching and teaching is the ability to impact and inspire his students.

“They have a lot of energy, a lot of talent, even if they don’t think they have it, it’s amazing how many have it and with a great teacher, like me, to be able to extract it-seriously with some good teaching- god these guys can do such cool stuff. It’s just amazing and it’s fun to watch them go ‘I did that!’” Hall said.  “I love that moment when the kid’s proud of what they did.”