State

Modesto's Peters relishes dual role as teacher, coach

Modesto High's Arlen Peters, a coach in the area for nearly 30 years, has spent the last 24 in the Panthers' track and field program.

Few were surprised when Modesto swept both boys and girls titles in the Modesto Metro Conference this spring. Since the MMC was formed in 2004, Modesto teams have failed only once to take league honors — the boys last year and the girls in 2008.

Such high-level consistency makes Peters the Stanislaus District's Track and Field Coach of the Year. The biology teacher likes what he does, given the fact he usually coaches two sports per academic year.

"It's like having two days. When the teaching ends, the coaching starts," he says. In track, Peters and assistant Jim Bertucci lead a popular sport — 130 came out for track this season, 150 last year — that produces results.

The Panthers' trademark depth helps, but they also trot out solid point-getters such as sprinter Kyle Sharp and hurdler Jaron Ingram this season and a State Meet qualifier in 2009 in triple jumper Stephanie Stavrianoudakis.

"We get a lot of kids to come out and they have fun," Peters says. "And each year, it seems someone unexpected comes through."

— RON AGOSTINI

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