We are improving by realizing that if we want to see our greatest success, then our season begins in the summer. The three most important words in cross country are June, July and August. Consistent training in these months forms the necessary habit for success in season, and builds the strength to help you get the most out of your season. The training is extremely fun and you'll realize that each day the focus is on getting better. You get to decide what you want to do for your team, and have fun motivating each other to be great.
Entering the 2019 summer and fall season, it is clear that Joshua Truchon will be our team captain as he has been a model of what we expect out of our Hale cross country and track athletes. He has trust in the coaches and takes full advantage of his abilities by doing anything it takes to improve. Many of our boys are really buying in and the program is getting stronger because of this. Joshua will help encourage others to understand that by putting in their best effort and trust that they too can be at their best. Our coaches thoughts on a captain is that he is there to allow others to feel comfortable leading. The captain will be someone who allows others to take leadership and holds teammates accountable to our purpose and standards. Joshua will also be there to encourage and help bring guys together toward a common cause.
For the 2019 Summer and Fall seasons, I'm going to have weekly themes similar to last year. The themes will be repeated and applied to that week, but are going to be essential teaching themes that we carry with us each day.
My message for week 1 of summer to the entire team will be to be fearless and take risks. Feel comfortable on this team to be creative and know that you guys are the ones who run this program. Be creative by coming up with new ideas, creating new routes, and by making the right decisions. Be fearless and take chances by running up a group, motivating others to go faster, and looking to do more mileage. You are loved here, so there is nothing to fear. Any failures are ways to learn and mistakes mean we are pushing our creativity and efforts. Both are necessary as a program improves. Understand that you guys are amazing. You train at a high level while balancing school and other extracurricular activities. This is an amazing group of people doing extraordinary things every day!
For freshman, my message is PATIENCE! You will love this sport, but it takes a belief and patience the first few weeks. Many of our freshmen from last year could not even run two miles consecutively during the early summer, but now all of them can run 60 minutes with many having run 10 plus mile runs! Right now is exciting because you do not know what you are capable of or what your future will bring. Latch on to the leadership and experience of our returning guys, and believe from day one that you are great and that you will make history at Hale. Great mountain climbers do not climb giant mountains their first day, but they have the belief from day one that they will get better. There are no limits to what you can achieve, so believe that you are great because you are likely to be what your mind believes. It's never a matter of where you start, but rather where you could go. That's what makes the journey so fun. You guys too, as you grow comfortable, be willing to take chances and run aggressively! I'd always rather you go out too hard rather than never try that at all. Keep doing that, it will eventually stick!
The first week of summer training is not starting over, but rather continuing our journey we are on. It's about continuing our progression as athletes and people. We have made awesome progress as a team over the past year, showing our commitment to love and being our best. We can't become complacent and rely on the past, we have our best opportunity to grow and get better over these next 3 months! Our standards will never diminish and we must hold each other accountable. Assume the role of underdogs again and know that you are always capable of more because we don't set any limits. Have big dreams, but be mission focused and control what you can. You can control things such as your daily attitude, your efforts, and the way you treat others. Not many high school students get the opportunities that you guys have, so make it fun and make it about each other. WE are in this together.
The 2019 state meet was incredible. There are so many amazing athletes competing in the best state competition environment of any sport in Wisconsin. The crowds were loud and motivated the athletes to amazing times and marks. We had one of those amazing athletes competing in the 3200 on Friday night. Joshua, in his state meet debut, looked like a seasoned veteran in his patient and smart race, finishing in a personal best of 9:27 and 13th overall, just under 2 seconds from 8th in one of the most competitive distance races in Wisconsin state history!
When I tell boys that you learn from each race, it's so true. Here's an example with Joshua.
In his past 3 races, Joshua has had to lead and push the pace on the field. At the conference meet, he tried pushing the pace on two great competitors. He led most of the race and got outkicked the last lap. He was able to lead but never able to get those fast laps and create the separation he needed to pull off the victory.
At the regional meet, Joshua had an easier time as we were just looking to advance. But we still wanted to practice running our race and not letting guys around us dictate the outcome. We had Joshua run out to a quick start before settling in to qualify. This race was a very easy effort, but also a nice experience for Joshua to run solo and in his own mind.
By sectionals, we had the same game plan as we always do. We are going to race. This time there was no holding back. He led the whole race, breaking most of the field the second mile by being able to now really push it the 2nd mile, which he wasn't quite able to do at conference. He closed in a 65 second last lap and made it through to the state meet.
At state, we kept things normal. We talked about running our race, no matter where we were in relation to the field. When the gun went off, I saw Joshua get a rough start and squeezed to the back of the pack. This position in back was different than the past few weeks, but those experiences of running his own race in his own mind definitely helped him here. He had a bit of a battle on the first lap with his mind as he sat in last place the whole way. Most first time guys here would be worried and maybe even give in, but Joshua showed amazing patience and poise. He passed through the 400 and heard someone should "70!" and he told himself, "Okay I'm running my race, I can roll 70's all day, let's do this."
The field was still moving as the leader was chasing the state record. Joshua was still in last place, but the pack was right there, and now he looked way more relaxed than his first lap. He continued to run his race and not worry. He was patient and continued to roll. Lap 2,3 and 4 rolled through the mile in 4:45, his fastest first mile split of the year... but still in last place. Yet, not for long. As the race goes on, Joshua knows he continues to get stronger. On lap 5 he started making moves, and by lap 6 and 7 he had passed 13 guys! Coming down the home stretch, Joshua was in a big pack of guys fighting for the 6th/8th place spots that we had our sights on coming in. He closed in another 65 second quarter and a 4:42 second mile. His race gave him 13th place, and just under 2 seconds behind scoring in 8th! In a great group of runners, Joshua showed amazing composure and confidence, and it paid off as he was able to move up and run his race and a personal best time. He trusted his months of training, and his strength work that allowed him to be stronger than any guy that second mile.
We also gained more experience and have found areas within the race where we could run more efficiently. That experience of a state meet is great to have. Knowing there was room there to run even faster, it was still one of the top sophomore 3200 times in state history.
We are excited for the future for Joshua and all the boys. It's a progression and patience is huge. He will continue to focus on his efforts, motivating his teammates and being the best us. By not comparing and by being fearless, Joshua was able to have an awesome state debut as a sophomore! There will be no complacency as we look to make history with all the boys in the coming years. We look forward to having Joshua lead us this summer and fall. And we have an amazing group ready to train this summer and create a monster pack for cross country. Let's make it historic!
Let me start with this. I never take for granted the amazing group of young men I get to work with each day. I learn from them everyday and get to witness some incredible moments. All of these boys are balancing time for family, school and other extracurricular activities. Many of these boys at the same time are also striving to be amazing runners which takes sacrifice and dedication. Kids need more credit for all that they do, and I'm going to make sure I remind them and myself everyday how lucky and fortunate I am to be a part of their amazing lives. I love seeing them every day!
There are countless reasons why I tell the boys to ignore what others have to say. When there are doubters, it means you are doing something that many people wouldn't even dream of attempting. There will be people that want to bring you down, but luckily, we have a group of people that are here to commit to the unimaginable. We took the role of underdog this fall, coming into the season with just one senior, along with an excited young group of younger or brand new runners. Instead of making limiting goals, we decided to not set any limits on our training or racing. We made the daily decision to put in our maximum effort, while also having a lot of fun together as a group. Everything we have done has been focused on the team, and that focus continued into the track season. It's no surprise we are getting better by focusing on our standards.
This team and our coaches never look at what others are doing because our goal is not to emulate them. Our goal is to make our own history and race fearless. We focus on us, and control what we are able to control. We put in the work to make ourselves as great as possible. By focusing on being selfless and kind young men, we are able to relax and not be afraid to make mistakes. We will gladly continue to take the underdog role into summer and continue building consistency and love.
Taking Momentum to the Track
The boys took no time for complacency after their nice fall cross country season. In addition to our team from fall, we added a lot of new guys who brought awesome energy and passion that added to our team's momentum. We had 10 boys race the 3200 this spring, with 7 boys under 11 minutes in the 3200 (and 2 others very close). Along with that, we had 12 boys at 5:15 or under in the 1600. While times don't tell an entire story, with most of these boys being freshmen or sophomores, this sets us up for an awesome summer and huge opportunity in the fall to be one of the best teams in Wisconsin. The opportunity starts with summer and the decisions from the boys.
Our focus on loving each other helps all the guys! During the last week, we had 15-20 boys at practice even though only 6 remained in post season competition. Since sectionals, some of our boys have continued to train with Joshua as he prepares for the state meet. This caring and love are what will really drive what we are capable of doing as a team!
When Joshua finished 5th at the regional last year, coming up 4 seconds shy of a sectional qualifier, I told him (and myself) to be patient and focus on each day. We knew that a year later we would be not only looking at qualifying for sectionals, but also qualifying for state and performing very well at the state meet. So we talked about it, and for the next 365 days he never thought about or focused on results. He went to work with our boys. During the hot summer months, he ran every day with purpose. During the cold winter days with eyelids frozen, he ran every day with purpose. Through stressful weeks and some hiccups, he overcame and put in the work necessary to get his body and mind in a healthy spot. He took nothing for granted, and yet through it all made every day an absolute blast. He led our young team to state in the fall, and then came in ready to our sectional meet and dominated the field, racing fearless and running his race from the start. That race was run on Thursday, but the result of it was produced through the day in and day out consistency and purpose leading up to it.
I just came back from a long run with him and a few other of the boys, and we are looking forward to his first state track meet this Friday night! Joshua will be a great captain leader for us. He is a model of purpose and consistency, while also showing having fun with what we do can make it even better. Stay tuned for an amazing state meet!
Our 4x800 team fell just short of the state meet, finishing 4th place at the sectional. Brad got us out with the pack and let Joshua go to work on the second leg. Joshua handed off in 2nd place to Liam who battled and handed off to Riley in 4th place. Riley showed pure guts going after 3rd and 2nd from the get go, but ultimately coming up just a bit short. These boys showed a lot of heart and determination, and the seniors on that team have impacted the program in a big way. Watching Brad and Riley grow over the past four seasons has been so rewarding. Those two also helped me grow and learn over these past four years. While they both will be graduating, they will remain a part of the Hale Tradition, and be a big part of what happens in the coming years! They both have selfless pursuits ahead, with Brad looking to be a police officer and Riley going into the National Guard. I have no doubts that these two will be amazing men of character and be a positive impact on many lives!
For this young group, it's decision time on what you guys want to do together. Thank you Bradley for talking to our guys about what it takes to continue our tradition and create new history. Let's live our true No Limits motto and keep taking risks in training and racing. Be the guy that has crazy dreams, then pursue those dreams by focusing on purpose and consistency. Put the best interest of the team over your own self interests, and pursue selflessness and discipline. There's no secrets here. With love and consistency, you and the team can make the unknown become known!
Let's make it an amazing and fun summer!