By ANDREW TURNER
As he entered his third year as Trabuco Hills’ boys track and field coach, JT Ayers saw the upcoming season as a crucial one.
He had planned for it to take three years to guide the program and its athletes to where he thought they needed to be.
Ayers got the results he wanted, which included winning the South Coast League title.
For his efforts, Ayers has been selected by the Register as the Orange County boys track and field coach of the year.
“My purpose is to invest in young men and make them great leaders,” Ayers said. “I want to see them leave Trabuco Hills High School as disciplined young men and have a purpose.
“We spend a lot time talking about purpose, about values, and about things that they do that make them men.”
Ayers met with the team’s captains on a weekly basis for what he described as “intense leadership training.”
“Those kids led the team,” Ayers said. “The 2016 team was led by their captains.”
Two of those captains were county-leading hurdler Cameron Hurd(Navy) and pole vaulter Chris Doerr (Air Force), who signed with military academies.
To capture the South Coast League title, the top-ranked Mustangs had to beat out two other county powerhouses, Dana Hills and Mission Viejo.
“I have very impressionable kids,” Ayers said. “The athletes wanted to learn. We had a team full of great young men. I just gave them opportunities, and all the success belongs to them.”