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April 13, 2013

Harold Raker's high school track column: Coach enjoying new digs

Assistant coaches, especially those working with a successful head coach, may be as well known to most as the sixth man on Michigan's Fab Five.

But those close to the program, and the athletes themselves, know who they are and their value to the team.

One of those coaches for the previous 17 springs was Lewisburg girls assistant Aimee Baylor.

I say "was" because Baylor, who was coach Jonathan Clark's right-hand woman through the program's near 17-year unbeaten dual meet streak, has moved on, taking a position on coach Kevin Donner's staff at nearby Bucknell University.

She took that step despite her love for Lewisburg, where she was a standout in the early 1990s, and where her daughter, Blake, is a sophomore member of the team.

Aimee knew the decision was the right one, but she conceded that Blake wasn't sure about it — at first.

"But I knew she would be in the best hands," Aimee said. "She is very comfortable with Clark and (assistant coach Joe) Faust. They've known her since she was born. They have watched her grow up from running around the track at practice since she was 3 until wearing a Lewisburg uniform."

She added that new Green Dragons assistant Mike Espinosa is "a fantastic young coach and the girls love him."

Now, Aimee enjoys her new situation where she is not "coach" to the girls, but just "Blake's mom."

The former Lewisburg High and Bloomsburg University standout, who held Bloom's 1,500-meter record for 16 years, got nothing but encouragement from Clark, who was the first person she discussed the Bucknell opportunity with.

"He has been supportive of me, knowing this is my passion and continuing to learn and train at the next level. I felt it was the right time to take this opportunity and grow more as a coach myself," she said.

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