Westminster Academy Coaches Key & Rickel Announce Retirement

“Coach Doria and Coach Key are my reason for doing track. The ring is nice but the time and the effort that they put into the track team makes you want to be a part of it. When I wouldn't feel like coming to practice or didn't feel like doing track anymore they would always motivate me and say the right things to keep me going in the right direction. Going against other school and top prospects they always believed I could come in first and that was always a good feeling to have people like that on your side, so therefore every time I stepped on the track I didn't run for me I ran for my coaches. They were more than coaches to me; they were friends, counselors, and also motivators. - Sanders Desir (c/0 2015)

Coach Kenneth Key and Coach Doria Rickel have been a part of Westminster Academy Track and Field for over for 60 years combined. The Westminster Academy boys and girls track teams have won over 45 district titles and 25 athletes have won over 40 individual state titles as well. Some of the most recent state champions from WA are Sanders Desir (2015 110mh), Karin Sastre (2015 Pole Vault) and Andrew James (2014 400m). Let's not forget the 2x reigning 1A Boys state champions. Westminster Academy in its 40 years of having a track and field program has become a South Florida small school powerhouse along with Pine Crest and Calvary Christian.

Going to Westminster Academy for two years of my high school career, I got to know Coach Key and Coach Doria as coaches and followers of Christ. Coach Key and Coach Doria are some of the most dedicated coaches I’ve met on my 9 year track and field journey. They really look out for the kids and have the patience needed to make athletes from the ground up. I don’t know if Westminster Academy could have two better track and field coaches that have done so much for the sport and the school.

"Coach Doria has always been like a second mom to me and the entire team. She always was there for me when I needed her and always pushed me to be better. Starting in 6th grade when she helped me with hurdles she has always seen potential in everyone and encouraged them to never give up. She cared for us more than we deserved and she wanted us to enjoy track further than the running and be like a family as well.” - Brooke Oman (c/o 2015)

I’m very sad to announce that Coach Kenneth Key and Coach Doria Rickel are retiring as coaches from Westminster Academy track and field.

Coach Doria took over as head coach of both programs in 2012 after being an assistant hurdles and jumps coach for 18 years. Coach Doria in my experience was one of the most flexible coaches I’ve met in a long time. As head coach she’d run the entire practice with only the help of her husband sometimes. She would have time for hurdles, jumps, sprints and do it all very organized. Coach Doria has tons of patience for the kids who were just starting out which most coaches don’t have. And no matter how you were feeling, she always believes that you could do it. I found myself in a lot of doubt in my races while at WA, Coach Doria never doubted me; she was one of my biggest supporters for those two years. She won Coach of the year in 2014 after leading the boys to the first state championship since 2008.

Coach Key has made a name for himself in timing, which is where I first met him. But, he founded the Westminster Academy track and field program in 1975 (boys) and 1976 (girls). The first year of their track and field existence Coach Key led the WA girl’s to a state title. They won again in 1987 and 1988. The boys won their first crown in 1979 under Coach Key. For those who don’t know, Coach Key also built one of Florida’s hardest cross country courses from scratch BY HIMSELF. This cross country cross is used for Westminster’s home cross country meet and is known for its vigorous hills that make you wish you never stepped out of your house that morning.

“One thing I admired about Coach Key was his positive attitude. He always greeted you with a smile. Personally Coach Key was a huge part of my experience at Westminster, not only was he my coach, but he was my mentor. He was always there for me to go to and help me. One thing I will always appreciate and remember is his guidance and patience with me on my journey to find Christ.” - Brandon Bejarano (c/o 2014)

Coach Key gave the best pep talks in the world. Whenever I had to run 800m’s he would always pull me aside and he would tell me that in order for anything I want to do I have to be confident out there. I have to trust myself and trust that God will get me to the finish line, because he will. That always put me at peace before I stepped out there to run. Coach Key has been a supporter of me since I met him while he was timing one of my middle schools meets back in the 6th grade. Back then I was ‘little Spann’ to Coach Key. Over the year not only have I got to be one of his athletes in both cross country and track, but I also get to work alongside him as his clerk for majority of Westminster’s home meets. I personally love working with Coach Key as his clerk, everything worked smoother with a fellow Lion.

Both Coach Doria and Coach Key were proud followers of Christ, as is the entire Westminster track team. One of the best coaching tools they’ve used was to always share a verse before practice that could relate to anything we were going through. They shared their journey’s with Christ with us in hope that it would help on our journey to get closer to him.

Coach Key and Coach Doria have been a huge part of so many athletes’ lives and journeys, including mine. Coaches like these two don’t come around often in the world of track and field. I’m dearly going to miss going to Westminster track meets to clerk and seeing Coach Doria on the fence yelling out a split, or congratulating an athlete with the biggest smile and hug. I don’t think cross country or track will be much the same without Coach Key praying before the start, or giving his distance athletes a quick pep talk and prayer before they step out on the line.

Track and Field will truly miss Coach Key and Coach Doria as they have done so much for not only the Westminster Academy Lions, but track as a whole.

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