by Gary Robinson
for the Montclair Local
After the departure of former Montclair High School track and field throwing coach Vincent Pelli following the 2018 season, the team needed to look for another coach to mold their student athletes.
The solution was for MHS to hire former two-sport standout athlete Ciara Stewart to coach shot-put and discus throwers alongside Coach Henry Wilson.
Stewart graduated from Montclair High in 2014, where she played basketball all four years, while throwing for the track team for two. Her efforts earned her a scholarship at Moravian College where she earned a degree in sports management, with a minor in African American studies.
She returned to MHS this season to coach the girls freshman basketball team, as well as assist former head coach Emily Hall with the varsity squad. She hopes to work her way up to being head coach someday.
“Part of the success this year has to be having coach [Stewart] on board. She has really changed a lot, brought some new ideas to the table and different ways of doing stuff,” Wilson said. “I think she definitely helps the female throwers do better, because there is somebody they can relate to and they can talk to her more because, in the past, there was always me and Coach Pelli where it was two guys. It’s a little more different talking to two guys than talking to a female that they can relate to.”
Stewart began coaching the track team in the winter and has made a huge impact on the lives of the female throwers on the team. Seniors Margot Zivari and Katelyn Forman only have good things to say about their coach.
“She makes the atmosphere so much lighter, and she is such a funny and outgoing person,” Forman said. “And she’s also young and she really gets us.”
Zivari loves her, not only for her coaching ability but also how she inspires other female athletes.
“There is definitely something to say about women helping women, especially in the athletic world.”
Stewart is ecstatic to be back with the Mounties.
“I love that I was given the opportunity to coach at Montclair High School,” Stewart said. “For one, I am able to give back to the community that gave me so many opportunities. Everything I do is for the athletes I coach, so I enjoy watching them grow and seeing the many changes and improvements that take place in the sports I help coach.”
Stewart loves seeing her athletes succeed and showing athletes there is more to the game than wins and losses.
“Of course, everyone wants to win, but I also strive to help the athletes I coach grow on and off the sports platform. There’s so much more to coaching,” she explained. “It isn’t just about making a better athlete. Coaching is also about teaching. All the athletes I have coached have taught me something new every day, so I hope I’m accomplishing teaching them, just as they teach me.”