Melissa Rios recently added a splash of green to her wardrobe in the way of a Greenwood sweatshirt.
“It’s kind of hard because I have so much orange and blue stuff,” said Rios, 23, a 2013 Whiteland graduate in her first season coaching girls and boys sprinters at Greenwood. “It’s a little different, but everything takes time.”
Only five years ago, Rios was a soft-spoken, goggles-wearing Whiteland senior excelling in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. She qualified for the state meet in the 100, placing 13th in a time of 12.48 seconds.
Rios went on to become part of the University of Indianapolis women’s track program from 2014-17 before graduating with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
Currently a substitute teacher in the Greenwood and Whiteland school systems, Rios attends practices and works with the sprinters in coach Blaine Williams’ program.
The experience has Rios thinking about trying to one day become a head track coach herself.
“I feel like I’m still a runner because I join them during training,” she said. “The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is that I have no control over how they’re doing. Sometimes it’s hard, but I’m pretty happy with how they’re doing.”