YORK — Tucker Corbett doesn’t know what it’s like to be on an indoor track and field team that’s not a state title contender. Neither does his York High teammate and classmate, senior middle-distance runner Tony Ruest.

Before their freshman year, the York boys’ team wasn’t much of a contender but that’s all changed. After winning back-to-back indoor state titles in 2012 and 2013, York finished second last year and expects to be in the hunt again in February.

“Winning at states doesn’t happen all the time, but we feel we have to do it again,” Ruest said of the team’s mentality. “It’s like when you (run a personal-best time), you always want that feeling again. I think there is a good chance. I won’t say we will win it all.”

Ted Hutch, York’s coach for 25 years, said his athletes have bought into a team approach that calls for everyone to unselfishly compete in whatever event helps the team most. He actively recruits among the student body, writing letters he personalizes with a student’s past athletic achievements, and sending them to students and parents.

That’s at least part of the reason why the Wildcats have a massive number of students in their indoor track program – about 120 boys and girls.

“We take like four buses,” said senior Jordan Pidgeon. “It’s fun when we walk into a gym.”

York also has something else not many teams across the state can boast: a large coaching staff that includes five assistants who have been with the program between three and 22 years.

“I am more of a track and field director,” Hutch said. “This is like directing a 3,000-pound gorilla. You don’t control it, you guide it. I need to delegate to the other coaches and to the captains.”

The York athletes credit their recent success to the coaching staff.

“It’s different in soccer,” said Mike Bennett, a senior sprinter. “We have three coaches max there. Here we have one for distance, sprints, jumps, hurdles, and Hutch oversees it all. Definitely our coaches are part of our success.”

York’s evolution is noticeable to other coaches.

“York has continued to grow as a program in size,” said Falmouth Coach Jorma Kurry, whose team won three of the previous six Class B state titles before moving up to Class A last year. “Ted Hutch is a very good coach who creates a real team atmosphere. They really work their athletes around the sprints and middle distances, which gives them a lot of versatility.”

Danny Paul, Falmouth’s head coach outdoors, said York has grown into a power because of its sheer number of athletes.

“York, like us, does a terrific job getting the numbers out,” Paul said.

Hutch agreed that York’s strength is all about the numbers.

But the veteran coach said the state titles come from the team’s unified philosophy.

“We really stress to the captains they need to treat the new kids with respect,” Hutch said. “When we do that, all the kids rise to the occasion, when all the kids are treated like veterans.”

So what are York’s chances of regaining the Class B title after finishing 19 points behind Waterville last winter?

The team brings back nine athletes who scored last year, including Pidgeon, who scored in three jumps; Corbett, who was third in the 400; and senior Matt Arsenault, who was third in the 55-meter hurdles.

But the team captains take their cue from Hutch, saying “we don’t like to look ahead,” “we’ll just see what we can do,” and “we just focus on now.”

Asked directly, they basically mimic the conservative and modest expressions their coach is known for giving.

“He is our coach,” Bennett said.