Athlete Spotlight: Octavia Cato and McCluer South

    McCluer-South-Berkeley (Formerly just Berkeley HS) is one of the most storied programs in state history. They program has year in and year out, set records along with winning state titles. When I was in high school coach Staggs led the team to be called by trackheads "Relay High School." Years later the under the direction of coach Rhodes the team battled Ladue High School to the greatest rivalry in track. Still today I am speechless when thinking of the talent concentrated within halls of those schools during that time.

    One could argue track and field is a sport driven by those who have won the genetic rivalry. While that may be true sustained success takes something more. It takes good coaching, community support, and a winning tradition flows through the very soul of a school. Berkeley takes it's track and field very seriously. A number of its former athletes have gone on to win world championships, Olympic medals, and national championships. Today under the direction of Coach Scott and Coach Dotson the program is still flying high and currently the home base for Missouri's fastest female 100-meter sprinter Octavia Cato. Coach Scott drops by to discuss their program, summer track, and the gifted kiddos he has the pleasure to work with daily.

Displaying IMG_5971.PNG

Mo.milesplit: 11.65 is amazing! When did you know she was going to be special?

Coach Scott: Cato has always been very special, the from the time she has set foot on the track as a young child running with the St. Louis Blues Track Club. The 11.65
is no surprise. Cato worked very hard during the offseason. We expect her to run even faster the remainder of the season if the weather cooperates.

What has changed for her this year over previous seasons?

Her desire to want to have a great Senior year season is one of the motivating factors the other is the opportunity to help her team win another State Championship. Cato has made up her mind that she wants to be the State Champion in the 100 meters and 200 meters and join fellow Berkeley alum and St. Louis Blues alum in the State record book.

What have you guys done at Berkeley to be successful year in and year out?

The question is "how will you leave your legacy", We start the year off with that question, to all of our kids. The reason we have been successful throughout the years is simply one word, "consistency". This is from the top to the bottom of our program. It starts with making sure you have a staff, that believes in developing the whole person, not just the athlete. I'm blessed to have put together a very seasoned staff. Most of the staff have ties to the community, alums and are former athletes or coaches that were prior coaches with Berkeley prior to my arrival.

It's Important to mention that I'm assisted by the future Hall of Fame sprint Coach Roderick Dotson. Coach Dotson is the primary reason that we are sprint dominant program. He is one of few if any at all to have trained 11 girls to run under 12.0 seconds, from Berkeley and various other high schools in the area. Not to mention several of them also have been State Champions in various sprints (100,200,400)

Do you ever feel pressure coaching at such a storied program?

I would say yes! Not to the point of failure but fear of not reaching my own personal goals as a head coach. When I took over the cubbard was somewhat bare, in essence with very little top flight kids fo, in essence,
So, I set a 5-year plan and at 5 years the goal was to win the State Championship. Well at year 4,5 we were runner ups and year 6. The State Championship was won. Year 4 and 5 were lost by .5 and 1.5.

Of course, our program is a storied one and believe me the support of our alums is a presence at our meets is a constant reminder. There are a lot of things that go along with being the Head Coach of Berkeley in any of our sports.

You have to be committed to these kids first and their well-being must always be at the forefront. Most of our kids are in survival mode daily. I have kids that can't make it to practice because they are responsible for making sure their siblings make it home safely from the bus. Some don't know what being a kid is and most live in areas of high crime and violence. The kids are always in survival mode.

How does your involvement in the St. Louis Blues track club enhance the overall culture and performance of your High School program?

My involvement with the St. Louis Blues Track Program as well as Coach Dotson has enhanced other High School programs more than ours over the past years. Recently we may get maybe one or two of our own kids that participate with the St. Louis Blues. Most of the top girls in the metro area run with us during the summer and during the indoor season.

What do you believe Cato can do in the future moving forward? Goals for her and the team at state?

The sky is the limit for her as she moves to the next level. One day there is a chance that we may see her in a red white and blue uniform representing the USA.