Track and field athletes have some new leadership and talent to look up to this season now that Jack Hoyt and two of his former athletes have joined the Cal Poly team.
After six seasons as head coach with Seattle Pacific University in Washington, Hoyt decided to step up to a Division I school and return to his home state of California as assistant coach at Cal Poly.
“It was just time to make a move in my career,” Hoyt said.
Danielle Ayers-Stamper and Bridgette Sexton, two of Hoyt’s athletes from Seattle Pacific, decided to follow him to Cal Poly this year.
“Jack is like family to me. He’s like a father figure,” said Ayers-Stamper, who transferred to Cal Poly last quarter.
Ayers-Stamper placed eighth at the U.S. Championship last year and competed with the national team in Holland over the summer in the heptathlon, which includes high jump, long jump, hurtles, javelin, 200 meters and 800 meters.
“Danielle dominated Division II last year,” Hoyt said. “She should be an All-American this year.”
Sexton, another heptathlete, transferred to Cal Poly this quarter to continue training with Hoyt.
“Everyone is so friendly and the team is really welcoming,” Sexton said.
Hoyt expects Sexton, a sophomore, to be one of the top three for heptathlon this year.
“My goal for her would be to qualify for division nationals,” Hoyt said.
Both Ayers-Stamper and Sexton are looking forward to a successful indoor track and field season.
“We have a lot of strong athletes and once we start peaking I think you’re going to see the results of our work,” Sexton said.
As assistant coach, Hoyt hopes to build the indoor and outdoor track programs into top-tier Division I programs.
“There’s a lot of talent already here and I feel it’s possible to make the top ten,” Hoyt said.
The team is traveling to the University of Washington for an invitational on Jan. 27 where Ayers-Stamper will be attempting to qualify for the national indoor track team.
“There are lots of young, talented athletes who are highly motivated,” Hoyt said. “This team is definitely on the rise.”
Hoyt’s athletes seem to think he is the reason for their success so far.
“He always believes in you which makes you believe in yourself,” Ayers-Stamper said.
Sexton agrees, “He makes practice not feel like practice.”
As far as coaching goes, Hoyt feels he has a responsibility to the athletes on an athletic and a personal level. He wants to build up his athletes’ confidence to help them perform better on the field and in life.
“I like to work within the athletes, intrinsically,” Hoyt said. “I really want to change some lives.”
The fellow coaching staff seems to agree that Hoyt is a positive addition to Cal Poly’s track and field program.
“Jack is a very knowledgeable coach who brings a wealth of experience to our athletes,” said Mark Conover, another assistant track and field coach and the head cross country coach.
Hoyt was an all-American athlete at Seattle Pacific University when he was a student and still competes today.
He placed second at the World Masters decathlon for ages 40-44 in Spain last August.
“I’ve been fortunate to stay healthy,” Hoyt said.
He is even playing on the Cal Poly staff team for the upcoming intramural dodgeball tournament.
The most important thing though is preparing his athletes for the season.
“We’re nowhere near our potential yet but I think we’re headed in the right direction,” Hoyt said.