Kristin Black has been around track and field for a long time.
She excelled in the sport three years at Panther Valley High School, where she still holds school records in the long and triple jump.
After a torn ACL put an end to her high school varsity career, Black stayed involved in the sport by becoming a certified PIAA official even before she graduating in 2000. Although it wasn't till after graduation that she acted as one, Black has been involved as an official for close to a decade.
Black stayed involved in track and field at College Misercordia where she competed for two years on their club team. She suffered a second ACL tear while training to become a heptathlon athlete during her sophomore year of college.
Black, the Panther Valley Athletic Director, will continue her involvement in track and field for years to come as the Panthers' head coach.
"I bleed black, gold and white," Black stressed. "I can tell you that I will coach any kid to break my records. That's what it's about.
"It's a chance to finish some unfinished business. I would have to say this is one of the last chapters that I would like to do within track and field."
Black is already busy getting her Panthers ready for the upcoming season. She has a plan in place to help lead her program in the right direction.
"What I need to do is sit down after every meet and before every meet and go over the numbers of the kids we are going to go up against," Black said. "I might pull somebody if they have four events. I might need somebody else somewhere else in one of the other events that they might not be familiar with. However, if they can get us points, that's what's going to help us win meets and that's what I want to do."
Most importantly, Black doesn't want to see a repeat of last season for both of her Panther squads. The boys team went 1-4 while the Lady Panthers were 0-5.
Instead, the first-year Panther coach wants her teams to improve this year, even if it's just incremental improvement.
"Team expectations are getting some wins," Black said. "Last year, the boys won one meet. A goal of mine is to win two meets. The girls didn't win any, so win one meet. Also, I would like everybody to get their personal best throughout the year. And see where we can go from there.
"It's team goals plus individual goals. It's not just a team, but it's not just individuals. You've got to put it all together and that's how track is."
Black's coaching staff includes Frank Damian, Candice Gimbor, Michelle Markovich, Fenton Black and Justin Christman. They have more atheltes to work with than the past few years. Between the boys' and girls' teams, the Panthers welcomed 15 more members to the team than a season ago.
"High numbers are always good in any sport," Black said. "The high numbers in track are great just because there are so many different events that we need to fill. My goal is to try and get three kids in every event that we possible can to try and get as many points that we possibly can to win some meets."
Black hopes to have three or more individuals involved in each of the sport's 18 events, which is a lofty goal. And Mother Nature hasn't been coopertating.
"The only thing that I hoped could be a little bit better is the weather," Black said. "The weather is holding us back because we're inside. We got out once. We have a cinder track and that doesn't help either.
"But we did get out once. We did some hills outside. Our distance runners are outside every once in awhile. I'm just looking forward to getting outside. What we have been doing from an inside standpoint as of now is just doing some throwing, trying to get some technique done in the gym that we can."
With her first season as head coach just days away from beginning, Black was still pleased to have the opportunity.
"I would like to thank the Panther Valley Administration and the Panther Valley School Board for allowing me the chance to fulfill this goal," Black said. "If it weren't for my family, I wouldn't be able to do all of the things that I do. And I would like to thank all of my coaches for putting up with me."