All-around athlete Coe leads by example with Mercy team

Al Willman
The Detroit News

Novi — If you ask Farmington Hills Mercy’s athletic program about Katie Coe, you’ll find out pretty quickly that there isn’t much the senior can’t do.

That much was evident on Tuesday at the Catholic League A-B track finals at Detroit Catholic Central.

Coe, who is known for being a star on the school’s basketball team, has also dabbled in volleyball, soccer and this year, track.

She was on the fourth-place 4x200 meter relay team and participated in three individual events. Coe was a finalist in the shot put, finishing seventh with a 30-foot, 2.25-inch throw, and took ninth in both the high jump (4-foot, 8-inches) and discus (76-feet, 5-inches).

“I’m excited about that,” Coe said of the relay, which finished in 1 minute, 57.85 seconds. “I didn’t see that coming. The goal was not to get last, so I’m pretty excited about that.”

Mercy coach Gary Servais said Coe was instantly a leader on the team, despite being in her first year.

“She ran everything I asked her to,” he said. “Being there every day, working hard, encouraging her teammates to follow her lead.”

Coe said a lot of her success on the track team can be attributed to Mercy’s basketball coach, Gary Morris.

“It’s a bit different from basketball,” she said.

“Learning my work ethic from Coach Morris and everything, that carries over to track and all my sports. So that really helped.

“Also for high jump, I just started it, but the last three steps are like a layup for me, so every time I was thinking high jump, I (said), ‘Okay, right-handed layup and go.’ Basketball really helped me with that.”

Of the four sports she’s played, Coe has a clear favorite: basketball.

“That’s my true sport,” she said. “I really like track. I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t do it sooner.”

Coe will be attending the University of Tennessee in the fall. She’s undecided on a major, but said she’d like to pursue a career related to business. As for Coe’s athletic career, that will be done — at least competitively — after this year.

“I’m not planning on playing sports there,” she said. “It’d be cool if I could play on some team, but that’s not going to happen. It’s a (Division) I school. It’d be a reach.”

Junior hurdler Elena Ervin, who is also in her first year on the track team after three years with Mercy’s hockey team, said Coe’s work ethic is contagious.

“It’s really inspirational to see someone walk on to the track and do running and shot and disc and high jump, too, and be good at all of them,” Ervin said. “It really makes you want to work harder and be able to do things like that, too.

“If you want something, just go for it. You can do it, even in a year.”

Divine Child wins again

Dearborn Divine Child, with 149 points, ran away with its fifth straight A-B championship.

Divine Child nearly doubled up Mercy, which finished second with 77. Birmingham Marian (68), Warren Regina (63) and Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard (55) were in the top five.

“They exceeded them,” second-year coach Gordie McIntosh said of Divine Child meeting his expectations.

“We just had one minor problem. We dropped the baton in the (4x200 meter relay). It’s a learning experience. We moved on from there.

“The girls are doing very well at this time in the season. With the state meet in another 10 days, they’re peaking at just the right time.”

He said this year’s team is a perfect mix of returning talent and new athletes.

“We’ve got some great freshmen, a lot of sophomores and the seniors are doing exactly what they’re supposed to,” McIntosh said. “I can’t say enough good things about these girls.”

One of Divine Child’s top freshmen is Avery Budz. Her impact, McIntosh said, was faster than her split times.

“(It was) instant,” McIntosh said. “She set the school record last weekend in the high jump and she did won it today. She’s in our 4x2, 4x4 and she runs the open 400 (meter run).”

Divine Child has 14 qualifiers for the Division 2 state meet.

“We have all our relays,” McIntosh said. “We qualified in every event except for three. The pole vault, 100m (dash) and 200m (dash) are the only three where we didn’t send anyone.”

As for the recipe for Divine Child’s success, he said there was really just one.

“It’s the girls,” McIntosh said.

Al Willman is a freelance writer.