Clay Hanson and his teammates did their research on their new track and field coach by looking at YouTube highlights and checking out stat sheets.
It is rare that athletes have that option to learn more about a new coach, but it is even more rare that a new coach comes into a program with the type of athletic resume that Nodaway-Holt track and field coach Kellen Overstreet does.
“We watched his films last year,” Hanson said of watching the tapes in another class when Overstreet became their coach. “He was a beast on the football field. ... One of the guys who works with my Dad, he played him in college so I knew about him before too.”
While at Penney High School, Overstreet became one of the best high-school football players the state of Missouri has ever seen. As a senior, Overstreet rushed for 4,259 yards — the second highest total in the nation and the fourth-most all-time. His 70 touchdowns that season were one short of the national record.
Overstreet was a 2015 Parade First-Team All-American. He ran for 481 yards one season for the University of Wyoming, but retired after his sophomore season due to injuries. He was an Academic All-Conference selection at Wyoming.
Overstreet is now working to pave out his next career in athletics as a coach. He has experience as a track and field assistant at Polo and has been an assistant coach for Matt Webb with the Maryville football program the last few seasons, but is taking on his first head-coaching opportunity this season as the head coach of the Nodaway-Holt portion of the South Holt/Nodaway-Holt track and field program.
“They go out and they work hard,” Overstreet said of the team. “That is all I ask of them is to do their best. That is all you can ask of them as a coach — that your athletes are going to work their hardest even in practice. I think throughout the season, they will see the fruits of their labor.”
The Spartan program is a co-op with Colby Morris leading the South Holt portion of the program. This season will be the last of the Spartan co-op before Nodaway-Holt partners with West Nodaway next season to form Nodaway Valley.
Nodaway-Holt adds five boys to the Spartans.
“I wish we had a few more out, but it is what it is,” Hanson said.
Junior James Herr is the top returner for Nodaway-Holt. Herr just missed out on advancing to sectionals in both the javelin and the shot put as a freshman.
“Really I’m pretty excited to go to state this year if I get the opportunity,” Herr said.
Overstreet has experience as a javelin coach from his time at Polo.
Herr is playing two sports this spring and playing baseball with West Nodaway.
“When the opportunity for baseball arrived, I jumped at it as fast as I could,” Herr said. “Really I haven’t played baseball since I was in the second grade. I really think its fun so far practicing.”
The team’s runners lack the experience that Herr has, but Overstreet is excited about the group.
“He knows a lot about javelin,” Herr said. “That is really going to help me out a lot this year.”
Hanson says that he is excited to finally get the chance to compete at the varsity level in track and field.
“I’m pretty excited,” Hanson said. “I think we are all ready since we got a year off, we are all rested and ready to go this year. We don’t have as many (people) as we did last year, but I still think we will do pretty well.”
The Spartans will open their season on Tuesday at North Platte.
“Just being consistent and just seeing improvement throughout the season,” Overstreet said.