This last meet brought some extra energy as the coaches looked to the athletes to bring great focus this past week in order to help prepare the team mentally for fast October racing. We don't want any shock to any type of meet later on. For us, it's just another day at the office and we continue doing what we have done all along, with a focus on our team standards and running for the team.
On Tuesday, the team did a workout consisting of 900 meter repeats at 5k/sub 5k pace. The men were a bit loose to start the workout and needed a bit of a wake up call from Coach Mach before the 3rd rep. I reminded them that to be great at something takes courage. To have courage means to seek discomfort for your team and find the beauty in the pursuit of something great. Needless to say, that 4th rep was extremely fast and the men didn't look back from there, crushing the rest of the workout. That is the essence of cross country right there and why it is the ultimate team sport. A group of young men putting in a focused long day at school and then finding the energy to engage in their passion in getting better as a team. For these men, pain is the pursuit and stress is embraced. They don't run from challenges, they go toward them. The intention remained great the rest of the week.
Saturday arrived and we looked forward to a great day. Things weren't perfect as some guys through the week battled some colds or aches, but we were able to get to the line with most the guys.
The JV race started us off and the battle was for second place after Muskego's pack of men took control early. Sam ran up toward the front while Mikey and David crept close behind. All three ended up coming in together as our top 3 men and finishing behind Brook Central's top 2. Our 4 and 5 scorers had a group of Brook Central athletes close by but were unable to hold them off and dropped back a bit to have the team finish a close 3rd place. There's huge importance in winning the race that you are in, and by that, I mean winning the race against the guys that around you. Even though just one man wins an individual title, the true race in cross country comes down to team's 3rd, 4th and 5th scorers. There's a race as well for the team's 6th and 7th men as they can continue to displace scorers from other teams. Winning the race you are in can mean the difference for the team. The willingness to endure more discomfort is the essence of practices, and that translates to race day when you have the additional benefit of adrenaline and enduring for your team.
Behind our scoring 5 came Will Zagzebski in a personal record time. His new bandana he says is the trick, but there's probably some improved practices to thank as well. Being in the top 7 for the first time the team saw John 'Bronco' Gruichich come in a huge personal best. He continues to learn about the sport and competing takes a lot of practice and time to master, he's got no ceiling to where he can take the sport. Eli ran tough after getting over a stomach bug this week, while Kyle Steele finished in a huge personal best time!
In the varsity race, we once again sent 6 men to the line. Our five scorers remained the same and we are loving that five and hoping our team can continue to add pressure to those five through some big performances and practices headed into October. The whole team will drive the 5. Alex was looking to win the race, discounting Patrick Wills who we knew would be well ahead. He did a great job with positioning and battling but came up a bit short toward the end. The great news is his racing continues to improve and we have so much growth ahead of us. I am excited to find ways to get him better and help him beat those guys when it counts in a few weeks. Behind Alex this week was Carson Shane, finishing as our 2nd man for the first time. There was no surprise to his great race and it has been some time coming. We don't feel he's even scratched the surface though of where he can truly be as a sub 17 runner this year. This is great news for his teammate Collin, who didn't have his best day but not can count on another teammate running up with him in practices and races. Collin's training has been fantastic and there was no concern from anyone on the off race. The two weeks ahead we look forward to him as well being a guy we can help get to some huge fearless races down the stretch, the limits are nowhere to be found.
Our number three man this week was Jack Hutter, breaking the 18 minute barrier for the first time and being a steady racer all year. He has dropped time almost every week and continues to be a steady hand for us. Parker came in as our number 5 and is close to cracking the code of the 5k. He's getting deeper into the race with our pack and once we get him moving up with Jack, our men are looking primed for some great team days. Dylen Eiler came in as our number 6 and if you look at where he is compared to last year and how he finished, we are excited to see him pop in October in the primetime.
The team's both finished 3rd overall. While the hopes were for the JV team to nab the 2nd spot and the varsity to finish closer to the top 2 teams, we are quite alright with having more to pursue. This sport demands patience and it's beauty is found when those magical October days arrive. The days where everyone has a great run and the team energy is at a high. The days when we vibe as a unit and all dig deep to do something big, something unimaginable. Those days happen with continued love and building, and the men are excited to do just that. Let's keep winning each day and doing the little things to the best of our abilities. Bigger things to come!
2021 Hale XC Results.
This week we are off from racing, and there is no formal practice on the weekend! But, I will be asking guys to get a run in one of the days and would recommend they connect with teammates to do this on their own without coaches. This creates growth in accountability and we find the desire of the team. Otherwise, it's a great weekend to relax the mind.
Monday is our special practice day. Most of the men will be running to the lake and getting rides back. Not all of our guys will be doing this and I will let those guys know. If they aren't going to the lake, those guys can get a run of 30 minutes in on their own with 6x strides after. We will see everyone then on Tuesday. Monday's run we will meet at Hale at 3:00 for the warmup and then get on the road to our drop off spots.
We are taking Howard Avenue and ask guys to bring long sleeve/extra clothes as it will be colder by the lake! Also, bring snacks and water/drinks for themselves. Please plan ahead. We will stagger the start, dropping off younger athletes closer to the lake while the more trained athletes will run the whole way from highway 100 or start by 92nd.
Frosh Meet Recap
We had a blast heading out to Arrowhead to support our freshmen crew! We did only have three guys competing which meant no team score, but still a chance to shine for the team and get a glimpse into the future! The coaches have noticed these three developing a love for the sport and believe that love will translate into hard work into developing at the craft and becoming top tier athletes. As a heads up to the freshmen, that means running in the off seasons on a daily basis and taking advantage of the abilities you have! The way to become great is quite simple, but rather hard in that a smaller percentage of athletes actually take advantage of this. Commitment takes time, but it is time well spent!
Elijah got out great, putting himself up front where he should be and running nearly a minute faster in his first mile compared to last week's opening mile. This type of racing shows how raw the freshmen are to racing and that simply racing more and gaining experience will see drastic improvements. Kai Bruner was our athlete of the meet for putting himself with John and crushing his old personal best. It has been fun to watch him gain confidence and we have seen that confidence carry over in the two days since as he has started running with faster athletes to push himself further. Kudos to all three of these freshmen, we are proud of your work thus far and excited to see what you guys decide to commit to. There are a few frosh we hope to add to the mix as we move into the coming weeks!
Marquette Invite Recap
A true cross country course and great weather meant for a great Saturday of cross country! It was a smaller meet setting but still a meet that packed a lot of firepower as we lined up against Marquette and Tosa East, both running well this season and giving us an opportunity to raise ourselves to new levels.
We are focusing on building to be our best at the end of the season and with that are planning training around a steady progression. With that, we take different approaches with guys at different races in order to learn and grow as racers. With our younger guys, it's always about just going out and racing as they will learn and grow rapidly their first season. As runners age, it is important to change the mental approach and try new things to be prepared for championship racing later on.
In the JV race we had some solid races, finishing third as a team. David Bevsek continues to move up and get near to where he finished last fall, finishing as our number 3 man behind his brother Frank as our top scorer and Sam as our 2 man. On the results page I put some comparisons to when we ran on this same course last year and it shows many guys improved quite a bit. Along with that, the guys ran well at the end of the season so it should be a motivator to a bigger finish yet. Chase and Mikey rounded out our scoring this week.
Something to note is for guys to not look for times, especially in cross country where we run on different courses. Times are limits, and no time should be seen as 'too fast'. High school athletes are at a great spot in running because whether you are in your first year or 4th year, there's just one big breakthrough awaiting you. If you're on the border of breaking a minute barrier, don't think about it. Go surprise yourself and realize you're actually on the border of breaking a barrier much faster!
On the varsity race we had Alex and Collin go out controlled this week and were scheduled to run a tempo effort and go hard the last mile. This allowed our 3-6 men to pack up with them or even run ahead in an effort to move our scorers up. This year, our top 5 guys have been the same every meet and the best way to improve our five scorers is by everyone on the team improving themselves and raising our team standards. Our top 5 will also have to keep improving in order to make some noise later in the season, so continue to take chances in practice and practice with purpose. How you do anything is how you do everything. And on the item of scorers - the 5 make the team, but it is the team that forms the 5. Every man contributes to how fast we race. Just as Roger Bannister allowed for the possibility of breaking 4 minutes in the mile, an athlete who has a big race can inspire the whole team to go do the same.
Parker shot out and looked strong before falling back a bit. With faster courses ahead we should see him sticking longer and longer. Jack continued to improve as our 3rd man, while Carson went out and raced like we wanted him today. Although his last mile came up a bit short, that is the Carson we know we can see more and hope to see that momentum carry into the next weeks as he will make the whole team better if he brings that same intensity.
2021 Hale XC Results.
Extra Notes to athletes this week
We will ask guys to improve on being together before and after races for warmup and cooldowns. Parents, if you can please wait until after the team has finished their cool down before you come over by the team area that will help. We have taken a bit too long on that and it's an important part of the process for the team. Thanks for your support out on the course week in and week out. And at home as well, sleep and nutrition are a good thing to remind ourselves about as we enter October. I will tell athletes to start putting long sleeves and hats in their lockers as well since the weather can rapidly change this time of year.
The Week Ahead
The team travels to Muskego this week to compete on a cool course at Lake Denoon Middle School's campus. I am very excited for this meet and believe the team will do really well. Meet information can be found below,
Muskego Invite Information
Our Friday pasta party will be a men's and women's team party at the Hertel's house! I know she is looking for one other parent to help make some food, please reach out to me if interested! Athletes are asked to bring an chair as well as she won't have enough for that many.
Here is the address - 9814 W Montana Ave.
I did get the parent shirts for those that ordered and I will hand these out Monday. Please pay if you haven't yet for those.
Rocket/Druckery Invite Recap
Cross country is the ultimate team sport. In the span of 15 or so minutes, it's up to each man to overcome any doubts and seek additional discomfort in their pursuit of improvement. But the underlying motivation that pushes a man past his own limitations is the power of the team. One man left to his own mind will never be as powerful as the men that rely on each other for inspiration in finding that extra gear as the race progresses. Every person matters in what type of energy gets created at practices and on race day.
This past Saturday the men in the first race set a great tone, showing improved aggression to start the race and coming away with some solid races en route to a 3rd place finish. Frank Bevsek broke up the top 5 by placing 5th overall and was followed by his teammate Chase Witty who broke out with his best race of the season. Chase gave himself that chance to succeed by taking a risk and putting himself up front earlier. Sam Walder and Deven Eiler did a nice job setting the tone early for the pack behind Frank and held on to be our 3 and 4 man, while David Bevsek slowly moved his way up in the race to finish as a solid 5th scorer. The freshmen duo of Elijah Sayeg and John Gruichich ran together and pushed each other the whole way and have shown great potential in the sport. Both can be great if they choose to be over the next four years including running each day over the long off seasons where athletes go from good to great. Kai Bruner made some more strides as our other freshman in the field and is just starting to find his way in this sport. A love along with a desire to improve are two of the recipes to success and pursuing no limits, and this freshmen group seems to be developing in both of those areas.
It is very important for all of these young men to see the long term vision of the sport of running. The success of the team depends on growing together and being process focused. Not every meet is going to go perfect, but progress is happening nonetheless. In 2018 when I took the head coaching role at Hale, there was some detachment from seeing the success of some other programs. Many thought they had something that we didn't, but it turns out that wasn't true. The only thing we were missing was a belief in what we stood for and where we could go. We had to believe we were great before we could actually be great. In that 2018 year, the men built a belief and it spread through the entire team, leading them to qualifying for the state meet. In 2019 they came back again finishing as the 15th place team in the state. The point of this is that just because a team that beat you on an early September day and looked unbeatable on that day means nothing. We can compete with any team and believing in the process and taking the steps to get there as a team are what will make that statement a reality.
The second race gun fired and our men took it in great position. Alex White and Collin Raschka appropriately set themselves in the front of the race, being two of the top three men in the field based on the first few weeks of the season. Parker Szura put himself up there this week while Jack and Carson weren't too far behind. Our starts were very solid and through about halfway we were primed for a great day. After coming out of the 2nd woods section after the mile, our men were hanging on a bit rather than moving up like early in the race. In looking at the mile splits, we can see an area of improvement will be in the middle mile. We have been building really nicely this year and are excited to see where we can improve through practice this next few weeks. The 3rd mile will always come down to the will power of the guys on the team and running for one another, but that second mile we will build on our fitness with some sustained tempo work and more racing experience.
Alex and Collin finished as our top two once again and certainly are excited to bounce back. They have had some fantastic training and put in great weeks. We would expect a bump in racing about this time of year with all of the work we are putting in, so to still lead the team to a 2nd place finish on off days is really nothing to be disappointed about. I was proud with their start up front and they will continue growing confident in leading races. Parker and Jack made some nice jumps in their progressions and are ready to have a huge breakthrough this week! Carson and Dylen rounded out our team scoring. The entire team will help push our 1-5 (whomever those men are) to be faster and faster, so continue seeking your personal best to help the team!
Results and notes can be found on the Rocket Invite tab,
2021 Hale XC Results.
The week ahead
This week the men will have TWO meet days. The freshmen will race Thursday and everyone on our entire team will be dismissed from class at 2:30 p.m. Due to bus issues, our district is giving us the two vans so Coach Dewitt and I can drive 14 athletes to the meet (including the freshmen racing of course) but are looking for some athletes or parents to drive to Arrowhead High School so we can get the whole team there to support. Non racers will do a run around Arrowhead that day while supporting our freshmen when they race.
Saturday we will all travel to Tendick Park with bus time at 7:30 a.m. Freshmen this day will come do their run at the course there and support the rest of the guys competing. It should be a fun opportunity to freshmen to get into an all freshmen race at a fun course at Arrowhead.
Thursday Frosh Meet Info
Saturday Marquette Meet Info
Parents, I should be getting any parent fan shirts this week. We are also excited as we have had a few additional members to the team, so welcome to Hale Cross Country! We are encouraging guys to ask friends out to the team after having less communication over the prior year. I owe some guys some Oscar's coupons and eventually a tshirt to anyone who gets someone to join in.
We are yet to have a pasta party host for the next few weeks so let me know if anyone wanted to host! Here's the link,