When Laurie Hind discovered that Falconer - the very same Falconer Lady Golden Falcons that had spent the last decade or so dominating Division 1 of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association to the tune of 90-plus straight league victories - was moving down into Division 2 for the 2013 track and field season, Hind, understandably, couldn't be sure whether her Randolph Lady Cardinals' two-year title streak would extend into third.
"Falconer has had such a phenomenal record and has done so well, and then having our meet with them moved to the last of the season, we knew it would be the toughest of the year," Hind said. "I was a little worried, but I thought that if we could just get in stride we could have a great season and at least compete (for a league title)."
Did they ever, and then some.
The Post-Journal boys and girls track coaches of the year are both from Randolph — Paul Steward and Laurie Hind.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
What in the beginning looked like a season with slim odds for success instead turned out to be just about the best Hind, and her Lady Cardinals, have enjoyed the Rochester native's now 15-year tenure as head coach.
Led by Hind, along with, she notes, the critical contributions of assistants Sean Ode and Brooke Adams, the Lady Cardinals compiled a perfect, unblemished 10-0 overall record and 7-0 league mark.
Not only did they topple Falconer, 84-57, in the final meet of the season to capture a third straight Division 2 title, but they also went on to win the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association county meet, besting runner-up Salamanca, 160-124.
Oh, and they went unbeaten at every invitational in which they entered.
Yeah, it was certainly a coach-of-the-year type performance, to say the least.
"I had lost a really strong sprinter and a few others from last year so I was a little worried," Hind said, "but everyone came back really strong. They were all ready to work hard, all had goals in mind and they worked to achieve those goals."
It was at one of the squad's earliest invitationals of the season - the Gator Relays - that Hind first realized that she had a special group.
"(The Gator Relays) were during a senior trip, so I was going to just have fun, let the younger girls participate and just go into it with the attitude that it would be a workout.
"But then to see how the girls performed, and to walk away with the victory, I knew we were in better shape than I'd realized."
Hind's crew captured the Gator Relays, which are held at Allegany-Limestone, over runnerup North Tonawanda, 93-89.
Then it went to the Olean Invitational the Falconer Invitational and later the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Championships.
Win, win and win.
"They all totally came together," Hind said. "This was definitely a different year as far as having everyone focused on the job. Everyone worked hard, the older girls set the tone and the younger ones followed, and it made a huge difference for us."
And in between all those invitational titles - Hind noted that two of the seniors took home an invite trophy as reward for their hard work, though the CCAA prize stayed with the school - Randolph took on Falconer on May 21 in what was undoubtedly one of the more interesting battles of the season.
Both undefeated and with a league title on the line, Randolph traveled to Falconer and rose to the level of competition. Thanks to the efforts of, among others, senior Taylor Dechow, who tied a school record in the 100 with a time of 12.9; McKenna Maycock, who was a triple winner, clinching the 100 and 400 hurdles and setting a new school record in the 200 meters with a time of 26.3; and youngster Alexis Hinman, a freshman who was expected to falter in the 800 to Falconer standout Kirsten Holmberg but instead raced to the victory, Randolph came out on top, 84-57.
In a show of sportsmanship, both squads shook hands - something rather rare in track and field competition - following the meet.
"With Falconer having such a legacy it was made it fun," Hind said. "It was a great accomplishment.
"And it was great to do it with this group of girls."