Men 15th at State Meet
See James Kees Photo Album
“The obstacle is an advantage, not adversity. The enemy is any perception that prevents us from seeing this.”
No excuses. One of our seven standards, and a statement of honesty and being in the moment. Our coaches and men look to do things to the best of our ability, and not lett anything get in our way.
Nine different men have scored this season, and we have realized that we aren’t static to a certain position on the team. Every guy is looking to be their best so they can move our pack up. We are building understanding that selflessness means excitement when teammates are with you or ahead of you, pushing one another to get the lowest score possible for the team. The individual mind becomes engaged for the good of the whole rather than the good of one self. By battling and finding a shared suffering for each other, we continue to build love and a powerful team.
Every day is living the counter culture, and we definitely do things different than most teenagers. We’re building every day and have a crazy vision of what this group can accomplish.
It feels as if though I blinked and the last 10 plus weeks just flew by us. It seems like it was just last week that guys were meeting in the humid summer mornings to get their daily miles in. Finishing summer off with the CWES camp, with guys beginning their journey toward embracing the counter culture and building love and selflessness. The ups and downs that ensue through the journey have brought us to this point.
This past Thursday marked the last race for many guys this fall season. The site, Grant Park, same as the sectional to be held the Saturday after. This meet is important to us and our guys bring great purpose and character to it. For the underclassmen, it’s a building block. A window into the future possibilities made possible through consistency, purpose and belief that nobody is limited in what they can achieve. This meet impacts the guys racing as well as those racing two days after. The men build excitement and the energy for our sectional racers to fuel off of. The reverse would be true on Saturday as well when the guys return the favor and cheer loudly.
I’ve stressed to guys from day one that times are mostly irrelevant. They are fun, and give some indication of progress, but the course matters as do other factors, and the competition is what we care about. Grant Park was in fun autumn shape. Wet early, and muddy throughout the woods. It’s what cross country is all about this time of year. Forgetting one’s individual pursuit of a time (limit) versus racing with love and for each other (unlimited potential).
The meet featured two races, and we tried placing guys in positions where they could compete up front in either one. In the first race, Tony, Chase and Nathan got out in a good spot and ran aggressively. Tony took the top scoring position in the first race, running the fastest time of his career thus far. As a freshman, Tony has really began to buy in to the process and is excited to work consistently in the off season to be a big contributor for the team. Nathan Bentti finished strong in his first cross country season and now also has a taste of what it takes to compete at a high level. Chase Witty has had a nice season and is beginning to believe in his ability more. I look forward to seeing all three of them commit to year round training as they continue their young careers.
In the second race, Brennan Kompas got out fearless with the leaders and went on to finish in his best race of the season. He ran a lifetime best on the sloppy day and finished 8th overall in a good field. Brenan has been a great leader for the guys and is a guy we can count on to hold others to a high standard and make the team better.
Carson Shane came up hobbling a bit as he rolled his ankle once again. This ankle gave him some issues this year, but the guy never brought it up. He continued to train, do strengthening and put himself in a position to be his best and help the team. Carson displayed great selflessness in his first season, and we know his future seasons will bring better health and competing at the highest level.
We arrived to Saturday’s sectional ready to rock. The guys were loose, but had the right amount of focus. They were happy and listening to music on the bus. Upon arrival, the men did a short shakeout to let their body and mind know what they were about to ask of both. They were here to race fearless and for each other. (Oh, and we had Frank the bus driver.)
I went to the coaches meeting and got our guys not racing ready to support and cheer the team on. Finally, we were at warm-up time and the 7 men plus our alternate took off. We knew they were ready. We believed in any of the 7 guys we put at the line, knowing we do things the right way on a daily basis. It was now time to perform.
The team only focuses on us. I don’t talk about other teams or other runners ever. We come to compete to our best ability, and together, beat as many non-Hale racers as we can.
The countdown neared, and I stood in my first position. Coach Dewitt and I planned our cheering spots to help support the execution of our race. Now the ref began the countdown and I held my hand to the watch getting ready to start it, also knowing I will never even look at it. All I cared about was where we were positioned.
Bang! The gun sounds and the fans start screaming.
I watch as the guys take off clean and as I stand about 300 meters in, they all came by in a great spot up front. I sprinted over to my next spot which would be right before the mile.
I stood waiting, hearing the lead vehicle coming through the path not in my view yet. I knew the first runner would be Joshua as he would be able to have good separation against the competition today. He came by with a strong lead and we talked about settling in the rest of the way.
Shortly after Joshua, I got very excited. Out of the woods popped Liam, Cole K, and Collin as a pack running strong. A little gap and then our 5th and 6th men of Joseph and Kees appeared. I shouted at them knowing we needed one to just get a strong position as our top 4 were out after it early.
By the 1 mile, I knew we were in a position to make state, and now it was about winning the sectional against Greendale. My next spot was around 1.7 miles. After Joshua, a Greendale runner, and then here came Liam battling close with a Tosa West runner right ahead. I saw as Liam made a great move to pass the Tosa West runner going back into the woods. Throughout the woods section, our Hale guys were going nuts, and it really makes a huge difference having that culture. The men racing fueled off of their great start and the guys cheering them on.
Cole Konczal rolled through next, still in a strong position. He was stepping up nicely after a purposeful week and racing in place of Cole Orlowski who was still out sick. Not far behind him was Collin Raschka, having a great breakthrough race at the right time! 4 men all in the top 12. I waited a bit and Matthew Kees came rolling through. Joseph had fallen a bit back as had Alex, so it was up to the front 5 now. I loved the way Alex got out in his first varsity race, and he really helped push that top 5 on Saturday.
And this is what this team is about. We pick each other up. It’s new guys every week and we trust that as a team we will get the job done. The front 4 finished in the top 12, and Kees moved up big the last mile to finish as a strong 5th. Collin ended up finishing very strong to finish 10th overall and would have been an individual qualifier even if our team hadn’t made it! Coach Dewitt and I came running over to the finish, fired up for the way we raced, and anxious to see if we had won the sectional.
The guys were happy, knowing they had made it through and an awesome huddle ensued. I’m not sure what was said, but watching these men take ownership is what I love. They get it. They know there’s no limits and they hate normal. It’s fun to see them building each other and doing things differently and on their terms.
Coach Dewitt gave me a sly look and showed me the phone. We tied state ranked Greendale 44 to 44. The 6th man tiebreaker put us 2nd overall. An initial disappointment that didn’t last long. Our job was to get through to the state meet, and these guys took care of business and with authority. No matter what obstacles, the men built them as positives. The obstacles built depth and confidence in everyone. They could trust any teammate to get the job done.
Two years in a row and 27 times in school history. They Hale CC team was headed back to the state meet.
Alex White – We love having you on the team. You have built guys up and brought a positive sense of humor to the team. You went to watch the band/orchestra concert to support your teammates. You trusted the coaches when we put you in the JV race at conference, and you went out and took 3rd place. You ran your first varsity race at sectionals, and competed aggressively. And at the state meet, you took on a role as alternate as Cole Orlowski came back healthy. I am proud of your growth after not even a full year of competing. The experience has been big, and your buy in is going to lead you and this team to more amazing moments. Make it a great winter with the guys through the tough weather, and continue to build and focus on others. Great first season Alex. Big things ahead.
Brennan Kompas – Your leadership is powerful. Often I have seen you redirecting your teammates and unafraid to create conflict in order to hold teammates to our standards. I was pumped to see you finish the season on a high note and serve as an alternate for the state team. You should continue to seek the unimaginable. Put in the work of a champion your junior and senior seasons, and believe that you are one. You have no limits, and will continue to develop. Continue to hold guys accountable and lead by example on what it takes to be great. Let’s make spring track amazing and senior year of cc the best Hale’s program as ever had.
Carson Shane - We are so thankful you came out this season. You showed no fear contributing as a scoring member in your first ever meet! You also stepped in to score at the Rocket Invite and really had a breakthrough race. The coaches knew you were a strong runner, but we were most impressed with how you displayed a passion for the sport and love for the guys. You battled an ankle injury from Parkside that made things slightly tougher, but you never gave in. You did the rehab and continued to run well. With the experience you gained, we are excited to see you develop and grow into a great runner. You are a great person, and have helped the team in so many ways. We love having you out, and are excited to see you crush it on the track.
Joshua Truchon – We entered every race knowing the focus was you and your team. You are such a smart racer and there’s not much I ever had to tell you. Training all season was fantastic, and your confidence and fun with the sport took on a new level, especially after winning 6 invitationals this season. Of course, there are things outside of your and anyone’s control. A cold hit you around conference and very slowly got a bit worse by the week of state. Your discipline and focus on sleep did help hold it off however. But most importantly, you wouldn’t let it affect you. You controlled what you could!
The week’s workouts didn’t feel perfect and you knew there would be a bit more effort than usual. When you woke up on race day, you knew you were ready no matter what as that is the definition of no limits. When the gun went off, you got yourself into a great position. At the mile you were 25th but only 2 seconds back of the lead, and by 2 miles you were in the lead. Watching you battle with the front pack of 6 coming into the last half mile was super exciting. You fought so well, and although being sick did affect your normal strong last mile, you still closed great, and finished 4th overall in the state of Wisconsin. You raced with character and tip your cap to the three guys ahead of you who also had great races and great seasons!
More experience gained, everything will help you in your journey. You have built great trust in yourself and the coaches, and it’s been really enjoyable to watch you daily. We will continue to focus on doing things the right way, and being great. We want you to continue building a great career in running, that goes through college and beyond. You just got started, we’re so excited to continue working with you. Now get healthy for some Nike and Footlocker racing.
Liam Kelley – Experience at the state meet is unmatched. You were well aware that in 2018 you got out great, but pushed for too long. It cost you as you dropped a lot of spots after the fast start. But this year, you brought focus and knew what to expect. Your start was fantastic and you came through the mile perfectly in 5:08. The whole race you ran confident, and only moved up throughout! You ran the best race of your career finishing 54th overall and 34th in the team scoring.
Your focus the last few weeks was a lot better and it showed in racing! You had some struggles early in the season and for a couple weeks might have let that get to you. When you started to let go of past results and put in some good runs with the team, your race results improved. As you enter your senior track season, I hope you can realize the potential you have is still incredible. If you were to come each day over winter and put in purposeful runs, there’s no telling in how fast you could run this spring. Along with that, we want to build a strong 4x8 and I know you can be a contributing member to that this spring.
Way to end your senior cross country season on a great race. You bring a lot of joy to teammates and your coaches with your kindness and willingness to help. Remember the lessons you’ve learned along the journey, and help build others this spring as they continue to develop as underclassmen.
Cole Konczal – Ditto. Experience helped you a lot too. It’s hard to explain the state meet without fully experiencing it. The crowds are loud, the runners are all fast, and the atmosphere just feels a bit more amped up. But this year, you knew what to expect and came in ready to take care of business. You ran a solid race, and your fastest of your career, on the state course!
I love how you are always thankful, and you should know we are thankful for you. You know you had a tough couple weeks through conference that knocked you off our sectional team initially. You handled that very well, and came out that week practicing with more purpose. You stayed prepared, knowing you may be needed, and wouldn’t you know it, you got thrown in. You stepped up great, having your two best races at sectionals and state.
We believe you can contribute to the team in a big way, but it will take some selflessness and dedication in the off season. This winter training and track season will be huge with your development. As you enter winter and spring, do understand that you are running at a high level and competing on the best team at the school. Track will be very important to improving and being selfless for your team.
Joseph Hertel – Just over one year of running and here you are at the state meet for the first time. Coming off what you know was an abnormal race, you stepped into the state meet rocking and ready. Just like last week when Collin and Cole picked you up, you picked up guys by finishing as our 4th scorer. The experience now will only continue to help you next season.
You ran your fastest race at the state course in your first state appearance which is no easy feat. You moved up the most of any guy on the team the last mile, gaining 13 places for the team! A very fine race to end a great breakthrough season.
It’s been great having you come to Sunday runs, and asking what you can do in the off season to be great. You should never limit yourself, and must be careful not to compare. Just be Joseph, because that guy is pretty great. You improved a minute and a half this season, and your dedication to the off season was a big reason why.
Were you frustrated at times? Maybe a bit. A sickness that lasted longer than you wanted didn’t help, but it made you better and it’s what you needed. Don’t focus on times or comparison, just continue to enjoy and maximize each day. You are a great runner and person. I hope you can influence your teammates into really pushing each other to do something special this spring and this next fall with the great group that we have.
Matthew Kees –You made a nice improvement as our 5th man from last year. This track season, we will continue to work on your wheels and build some more confidence that you have the firepower to run up front. You overcame some sickness early as well and were able to finish the season on a stronger note. Your sectional race was solid, especially the last mile when you passed guys for the team.
Build that team focus and it will help you as well. Make it a great swim season, and hopefully you join us for weekend runs as I know Joseph for sure will be running 2-3 times a week.
You have an opportunity this next year and a half to continue building the team. Encourage others to train at a high level, and take it upon yourself to improve. I know there’s a lot more in that tank of yours, and it will take a bit of suffering and discomfort to utilize it. Congrats on your 2nd state race and helping the team move up, let’s move us all the way up next fall.
Collin Raschka – You are great. You know that now. The way you amped up training the second half of the season was awesome. You pushed guys in workouts and ran a great race at sectionals. You were ready to rock it at the state meet.
The snow was falling and the setting was great for your first state race. Having the experience as an alternate last year, you know what it looked like which definitely helps. You got out in a solid position and were poised to move up.
Did it go perfectly? No, but it never does and that’s what allows us to get back to work. You still finished with a solid state debut, and your teammates picked you up, just as you picked them up many times. How amazing is that? And trust me, the experience you got today will propel you next year when you’re running up front with our pack.
This season, you grew. The physical ability has been there, but the mental game is starting to come around. Use your confidence not only to help yourself, but to build your teammates. Show them the right way to do things, and encourage others to be great. Together, you guys can do something incredible. I hope you decide to continue your purposeful training through the cold winter, and believe in yourself and your teammates. Lead with kindness and example.
Cole Orlowski – We loved getting to see you race again at state! Coming off of your great breakthrough at the Viking Invite, you got hit with strep throat along with the bad cough. You put trust in your teammates to compete well, and I think you can now reflect on how cool it is that they ran so well down the stretch. That’s love.
You know what I told you about what’s possible, but what’s important for you is what you choose to do with your ability to run. It’s about being process focused. Chop wood, carry water.
You got out excellent for a state debut and coming off of 3 weeks with no racing and less running. You set yourself up great, and at the mile our team was in 11th place overall. You fell back a bit and we know you have the ability to be higher, but we aren’t worried about it. Be in the moment and take the learning experience. This weekend was positive and can be a big moment for you as a runner.
This spring, you’ll tear it up on the track and these next 2.5 years will be fun to watch. The winter will be cold but you have teammates that will be pursuing different and living the counter culture. They’ll be bundling up and getting miles in. You need to be a part of that. Believe in what this group will do, and make it happen by living the process. Surrender results, and enjoy a great training block. No limits for you or any guys!
Around the state meet
We had a great dinner at the Dewitt’s on Friday night! Thanks to his family for inviting us into their home for a great meal, it really led to some great performances. The team once again went mini golfing on Friday night. I’m proud to say that I took home the lowest score. J But honestly, it was really fun and a relaxing way to head into the state meet.
We moved up from last year, and finished 15th overall. If you look at the scores, they are close. Every team has ‘what if’s’ and we’re really proud of how we handled all of our obstacles and improved off of them. We had moments where we could have shown frustration or given up on our mission, but our standards kept us grounded. We always went back to the standards and building and loving. We raced fearless and had no limits. This group returns a lot of guys, but we can’t bank on that. You guys need to decide if we can turn this team into a top 2 team next fall. What are you willing to do for each other to make something like that happen?
Being able to attend the awards ceremony was really fun. Joshua has shown himself to be the top runner in the state. Our entire team really benefits from having him. His progression was slower than people on the outside see. As an 18’s guy his first year, he steadily has gotten to where he is and continually improving. We have many men on our team capable of running at his level, it just takes patience and consistency. And it won’t always be perfectly linear, there have been bumps for Joshua, just as there are for any athlete. But a big congratulations to Joshua, bigger things ahead for him and all of you guys!
Joshua will compete in Sioux Falls, SD this Sunday. The top 5 individuals will qualify for nationals in Portland. He will also compete at the Footlocker Regional after Thanksgiving, the top 10 qualify for nationals in San Diego.
Parents, Fans, Hale CC Community
Thank you all. Everywhere you turn you see someone with Hale gear on. The program we build is stronger with supportive parents and fans. You guys have trusted the coaches to coach, and provided your sons with everything they need to do well in the sport and classroom. Being counterculture is not always easy. We have made a choice to not settle for average, and to pursue no limits. I truly believe that message has been for all of us. You parents have stepped up in so many ways to make this program great.
You have provided weekly pasta meals to 20-30 hungry teenage boys. You have helped me with providing equipment and nutrition to the team. You have given rides and helped transport our team to destination runs both in summer and during the season. Overall, our families have become one family. We really appreciate you guys allowing us to pursue our vision we have for this group. You provide as needed, but trust us to coach and do what’s best for each guy.
We are proud of the Hale Cross Country program at Hale. We are more than just a sport, we’re a positive impact on the entire community. The guys bring positive energy to Nathan Hale, and they are learning that being a man is about being kind and serving others. Thank you all, let’s continue to make the unknown become known.
Wednesday, November 6th – Short meeting and info - Uniform turn in after school – Coach Dewitt’s room. Have it clean! Also turn in locks!
Tuesday, November 12th – Awards Banquet 6:00 p.m. in cafeteria
Wednesday, November 13th – Winter Running meeting in Dewitt’s room 3:10 p.m.
Post Season Individual Meetings
I would like to meet individually with runners to discuss the season, how things are going, and their intentions toward improving. To help, I have set up a schedule. Each meeting will be about 5-10 minutes on average. See the link below to sign up for a spot, or have guys talk to me or text about time that they want.
Post Season Meeting Sign Ups