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.