Louie Quintana will pass the baton, but he'll keep the clipboard.
Quintana, who's led the track and field program at Hancock College for the past 19 seasons, is stepping down from his head coaching post as one of his former athletes, Kenna Wolter, takes over.
Quintana has made it clear, though, his beloved trademark clipboard is firmly staying in his two hands. Quintana's had the same one for all his 19 years at Hancock, hardly ever seen on campus without it.
One time he left it at a Ventura College track meet and didn't realize it until he drove an hour down the road. He went back to pick it up. Another time, Quintana left the clipboard at a meet in the Bay Area and had opposing coaches look for it, find it and ship it to him in Santa Maria.
A race walker for about two weeks, Hancock College sophomore Mireya Martinez will compete in the 3K women's race walk at the Southern California Regional Preliminaries at Riverside City College Saturday. Race walking "is hard to get used to," Martinez said as she and her teammate and fellow So Cal qualifier, Davina Jannine Valerio were about to depart Friday with their coach, Louie Quintana, for Riverside.
"It's a security thing... that's my blanky," Quintana said with a laugh, while clenching said clipboard to his chest.
Quintana and the clipboard can still be found at Hancock meets, and he will continue to be the cross country program's head coach, but he'll be working more behind the scenes to support the track and field program now led by Wolter.
"It's a good feeling," Quintana said of handing over the program to a former pupil. "It's time. It's time for me to step back a little bit. I'll still go to the meets, but Kenna will do a great job. She'll relate to the kids and it's good to get some new blood in there. I was happy to pass it on to her and I feel good about it.
"This will allow me to spend more time with my grandkids."
Quintana said he plans on visiting his son Louie Quintana Jr., now a track coach at the Oregon State University, and also officiating with the extra time he has.
Michele Marceleno did not like how her senior track season at Pioneer Valley High School went, so she decided to give cross country another go…
Wolter graduated from Righetti High School in 2007 and competed in both soccer and various track and field events at Hancock. She then transferred to the University of South Dakota where she holds the school indoor triple jump record (41 feet, 9 1/4 inches) and is fifth in the indoor long jump (19-1/2). With the Coyotes, she won six conference titles and advanced to two NCAA prelims in her three seasons.
Wolter is also a part-time instructor at Hancock.
"After I was all done with competing and getting my degrees and everything, I moved around a little bit," Wolter said. "I came to find out that the Central Coast is a gem. I moved back after living in the Midwest and the South for a little bit. I moved back home and Louie gave me a call and asked if I wanted to be an assistant coach. Once I started with that, he kind of nudged me with the idea of becoming head coach when he was done. It came a little quicker than I anticipated."
Wolter has familiarity with a number of different track and field events. Quintana even had her compete in the heptathlon (seven different track and field events) at Hancock.
Her college career is over, but Righetti grad Kenna Wolter is still competing. She recently finished in sixth place in the triple jump at the …
What are her plans for the future of Hancock track and field?
"Growth," Wolter said. "I want to see kids compete hard and I want to see them develop over the two years they're allowed to train here. The main goal is to get conference champions under our belt and compete with the schools in our conference. That's the plan."
Wolter will focus on drawing student-athletes to a place like Hancock, which she calls a vibrant community college. Wolter competed at Hancock herself, an experience that will further help her relate to recruits.
"I still remember being that kid, coming out of high school and not really having the money to go to a four-year university right away," Wolter said. "This is a good bridge between high school and a university. A place where you can learn what you want to do and figure your life out and save some money. Then you get to go off and get some degrees with minimal student loans under your belt. It's a great place."