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Ortiz to lead Middletown Area High School track and field teams

By Jason Maddux

jasonmaddux@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 8/7/18

The new track and field coach for Middletown Area High School is a familiar face to the program.

J.J. Ortiz is a 2001 MAHS graduate and threw the javelin and shot put and ran sprints for the Blue …

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Ortiz to lead Middletown Area High School track and field teams

Posted

The new track and field coach for Middletown Area High School is a familiar face to the program.

J.J. Ortiz is a 2001 MAHS graduate and threw the javelin and shot put and ran sprints for the Blue Raiders.

“The track program isn’t anything new to me,” he said. “There are a lot of familiar faces that are still around. That’s a good thing.”

Overall, it will be his seventh year coaching track and field, although it will be his first as a head coach. He is also the defensive coordinator for the Blue Raider football team and has coached football for 15 years.

“I’ve always wanted to coach track. It’s a different environment than coaching football,” he said. “I really enjoy the competitive part of track, but it’s not as intense as the football season. I’ve always been drawn to track in that way.”

Ortiz, who teaches social studies at the high school, is a 2006 graduate of Penn State Harrisburg. This is his fifth year back at Middletown after teaching and coaching at Hershey High School for eight years. Three of the eight years he was at Hershey, he was the head middle school football coach in addition to being an assistant track coach.

He replaces Nick Macri, who was the head coach for three seasons. The boys track and field team won the Mid-Penn Conference Capital Division title for the first time in 27 years in 2017.

In 2018, the girls team was 2-6 and the boys were 3-5.

Athletic director Cliff Smith said Macri stepped down citing the need to spend more time in other areas of his life.

Ortiz said he looks forward to helping the student-athletes reach their goals.

“I want to make sure every kid at the end of the year feels like they gained something,” he said.

He would like the athletes to learn about a strong work ethic, and how to reach goals, whether they come up short or reach it.

“When the kids are part of a team, sometimes you will have to do your individual part, but it’s still a team. They can learn life lessons about what they have to do as an individual to be a part of a successful team,” he said.

“I’m not really worried about big-picture success. If we focus on those things first … all the big picture success things will take care of itself,” he said.

Ortiz said he wants more students to take part in the program.

“The numbers have been down. I’d like to see as many kids out as we could possibly suit up. If we have numbers out, that will help everything out,” he said.