When Western boys runners get back to school, they will be greeted by a fresh face.
Wesley Stephens, the former head coach at Desert Pines, confirmed he will be moving to Western to take over the boys cross country and track programs.
“We’re hoping to break a drought,” Stephens said. “It’s been almost 20 years since they’ve been to state and getting to that meet is one of the top priorities.”
Stephens coached the track program for the last three years and the cross country team for one. Under Stephens, the Jaguars had two Division I signees, one Division II signee, seven New Balance Nationals qualifiers, and the track team won the 2016 state championship.
To see him leave Desert Pines took the community by surprise.
“It came as a sort of shock to club coaches and coaches in the area,” Stephens said. “I just want to bring (Western) back to what it used to be. … People said the same (negative) kind of things about Desert Pines and we captured the state championship. It’s implementing a system for kids to follow.”
Stephens said he wants Western, one of the oldest schools in the valley, to return to its former glory. The athletic department as a whole has fallen on tough times, and it finished 10th among 12 Class 3A Southern Region schools in rubric points over the last two season.
The exception is Western’s soccer programs. The boys and girls soccer teams reached the state title games last season, momentum Stephens wants to build on.
“Everyone at the school is ready for Western to be back on the map,” he said. “It started with the soccer programs last year. Western is really going to be something special over the next few years — in all sports. It’ll be a force to be reckoned with in Vegas.”