MC Track and Field Star Returns To Coach


Rocco Mancilla

Coach Leonard discusses with the Caravan track team the objectives he wishes the athletes to accomplish.

From winning the 1985 state championship to coaching at that same school–quite the full circle. 

Harold Leonard Jr. ’85 has returned to Mt. Carmel to take over as head coach of the track team. Over the past year, Athletic Director Dan LaCount had kept in touch with Coach Leonard, and after hearing about the track job opening, Leonard immediately jumped at the opportunity.
Mr. LaCount knows the experience and knowledge Coach Leonard is bringing to the table. With his extensive coaching record, Leonard is looking to evolve track into something special. “We have talent here,” Mr. LaCount says. “He is a great coach and he can develop the talent. He’s been there, he knows what it’s like to compete at a very very high level.”
During the 1985 state championship, Leonard won the 200-meter and 400-meter sprints and broke the state record for a high school level in both. Not long ago Coach Leonard was voted the ninth-greatest athlete of all time at Mt. Carmel in an online poll. “That was a surprise and an honor,” says Coach Leonard about his ranking. “It was an honor to just be on the list of the top twenty-five. Mt. Carmel has produced some great athletes here and even post careers.”
Coach Leonard is part of a track lineage, from his dad running competitively to his son presently competing on the track to this day. The tradition of track has been held tight within Coach Leonard’s family. “Track has changed so much from thirty or forty years ago–now it’s more science-based,” Coach Leonard says. “Sprinting requires proper sprint form and sprint mechanics, proper foot strike, foot dorsal flex, not elongating, or overcasting your stride.”
Caravan Junior Hugo Rincon has run track for two years now and has a strong understanding of proper sprint form, especially when it comes to running 400-meter sprints. “Coach Leonard, he ran the 400, and he has a school record for the event,” says Rincon, “so I feel like his experience of how to run it and how to coach it will help me much more.”
Coach Leonard is very competitive and is setting high expectations for the track and field team. He’s seen the young talent that the team holds and is looking forward to making use of that talent to better the team. “I figure you shoot for the moon and on the way you might catch a couple of stars,” he says. “I think we’ll definitely be very successful especially in the coming years once we develop a new core culture of track and field here at Mt. Carmel where we could be rivaled up there with the football, wrestling, and the basketball program.”