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Thread: Trials and Tribulations of 2012

  1. #21
    Junior Member
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    Oct 2012
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    Greetings!
    I have been running an all time list since the Central Park course change. Originally Hillary Hayes held the record 17:17 (set her senior year) last year Hollinder (sp?) Broke that 17:15 and at League Preview Tennison broke that 17:10


    Quote Originally Posted by Remylive View Post
    Part three

    SURF CITY USA
    The bus didn't show! Nothing like waking up in the morning and trying to find rides for 50+kids for a meet 75-miles away. We arrived late and our JV Boys had to make due with a 5-minute warm-up, but the good news is I avoided a speeding ticket on the drive down.

    I have to say the meet was outstanding. I loved the variety of surfaces and viewer friendly layout of the course, plus you can't beat the weather. Seventies and partly cloudy meant that times were going to be fast, highlighted by 4:01/ 8:48 man Bernie Montoya's (Cibola, Arizona) new course record of 14:39.

    Below is a brief synopsis of each girls race:
    JV GIRLS: We're not very deep at this level and that usually concerns me, but I'd rather have a deep frosh/ soph crew than a deep JV team any day. Despite placing three in the top five we could finish no better than 4th today as a team. Although we record and recognize individual accomplishments such as a personal best time or top ten finish, it's team placing that we really try to emphasize. All too often you have athletes in races running to their minimum comfort level and/ or doing pain assessment while they race instead of actually competing. We try to get athletes away from that kind of thinking/ racing by giving each an assignment for the race that is somehow going to benefit the team. After this race was over, we recognized the outstanding efforts made today, but we also identified what needed to be done for the team to place higher as a whole (individual accountability).

    FROSH/ SOPH GIRLS: What a great duel with Dana Hills! Wow! They took it to us early with 9 of their girls ahead of our 4th a half mile in. I was disappointed because I gave my team two goals for this race. 1) Be conservative on the big uphill then run the hell out of the downhills and 2) go out hard; near suicidal pace. Well we didn't accomplish goal #2, but we did pass goal #1 with flying colors. We ran the downhill just before mile two so well, we got back in the race and with 200m left, we were able to just sneak by Dana 40-44.

    VARSITY GIRLS: What I took away from this race is I now know what we need to do for the last 7-weeks of the season. We were solid today placing 5 in the top 11, but we've got work to do. Individually the race up front was intense. Two young ladies from Centennial Nevada hammered the pace early with junior Sydney Badger (Centennial) and sophomore Samantha Ortega (Saugus) breaking away and battling all the way to the last 100-meters. Badger pulled away to win in 17:14 to Ortega's 17:19, both under the old course record formally held by Lizzy Coe of F.V. (17:27).

    A big thank you to all those who read and listened to my musings over the past couple of days. I hope you make this message board what it once was and can be again.

    Farewell.

  2. #22
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    jformosa,

    Thank you for letting me know. I took the records straight from the meet program. I'm assuming they are Central Park meet records. I would love to see an updated top 20-all time list for boys and girls if you could post it. It's great to compare to the past. I'll let Sam Ortega know the company she's in, she'll be thrilled. This was only her fourth ever 3-mile XC race! Thanks again.
    Note to self: no one cares

  3. #23
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    Team Size

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Peters View Post
    If other coaches have standards for making their teams each summer, I'd be interested to know what they are as well!
    In response to Brad, Doug and Gardner,

    I think we are all in agreement about a few things:
    *Diminishing return. At some point the talent pool does not increase with greater numbers and our effectiveness as coaches decreases with every additional athlete. What that critical mass number is varies from program to program. I always felt we were just as good with 60-athletes than we are with 120.
    *We all want to be inclusive, but struggle with athletes unfit or unwilling to train as cross-country runners.
    *Many of us have started or will implement in the near future standards for making our cross-country teams.

    We've tried to handle these very same issues and I will throw my two cents in here.

    I always tell new athletes and their parents that there are two ways to make the Saugus XC team. Either be really fast or work really hard. If a kid can run and has a good attitude, then you're on. However, we will take any and everyone else that can make it through our summer program in good standing. "Good standing" means you come to practice just about all summer (you can decide how many days) and run. If you miss, come late, you're sick or injured all the time, then you're not in good standing and will have to tryout at the beginning of the year with everyone else who missed the summer.

    At the beginning of the year I don't give them a time to make. I simply have them tryout at 3:15pm when it's 105-110 degrees and run a mile without stopping or without a water break while they run. Then they get water and I'll tell them to do another mile, followed by another water break and another mile and so on. I'll repeat this several times and over multiple days. You get to see real quick what kids want to be there and have the mental stamina to overcome adversity and which don't. They basically cut themselves when they find out how hard XC is. Those that persevere make the team. You hear all kinds of great lines from these kids:
    "You want me to run another mile!"
    "I have to come back tomorrow and run again?"
    "I can't run on Tuesday's or Thursday's because of _____________."
    I often wonder if they even know what they're trying out for.

    For those that come in the summer, they're on. If a returner does not show at all, all summer, I typically don't let them back on. There are exceptions, but surely they could have made a percentage of practices if they truly cared about being a part of the team.
    Note to self: no one cares

  4. #24
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    Studio City
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    A genuine thanks to all the coaches posting on the boards... I have missed this. It also seems like the openness and sharing is better than ever.

    Since our school is smaller, my experience is different & yet somehow the same. I have 50 kids this year & have had similar numbers for the last few years. We use a similar system as Rene, where a lot of importance is placed on the summer training. Although we don't cut for many reasons, those who don't commit to the summer tend to leave the program when they are not improving like the others who've been doing the work.

    When I first started at HW in '03 I had a lot of kids just doin the sport so they'd have it on their résumé for colleges. Needless to say, they tended not to be the most committed athletes. I have worked very hard to change the culture & am very pleased that we have reached the point where it is no longer acceptable to the athletes themselves to just 'hang with the team' and not be committed to the program.

    I had left the team for a couple years prior to the '09 season and have seen steady progress even though we had lost a tiny bit of momentum.

    It was a boon to the program to have athletes like Cami & Amy because they brought attention & energy to the program & I'm sure that has played a part in our growth. The irony will be that after the girls have moved on is when we will be the deepest we've ever been (both genders too)... The new commitment level has resulted in having 7 girls under 19min and 9 guys under 17. These blow away program highs from the past for us. It has taken a few years to reach that level...

    I probably rambled a bit, so please forgive me, but I just want to give a shout to you all because your comments have really made me feel good about the things we are doing.

    - We are committed as a program to training everyone as an individual. I have the kids keep detailed running logs which are collected every 3wks. This allows me to make those little adjustments to training volume, diet, sleep etc. I learned from Rene that he is keen on individualizing & that strengthened my resolve.

    - I've learned from Rene & also my conversations with Doug the priority on having great commitment to summer training. I know this might seem obvious I guess to some, but it can be very challenging at a private school such as ours & one of the great shifts in our program has been to get parents on board & have them schedule vacations for June & early July so that we can train more consistently from mid July thru the season.

    - And lots of other great posts & bits of knowledge have helped... Hope it continues!

    So again, big thanks to you all for sharing your experiences and wisdom.

    Tim Sharpe
    Head Coach XC
    Distance Coach T&F
    Harvard-Westlake School

    "To whom much is given, much is expected"

  5. #25
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    Laguna Beach
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    I love this. I really enjoy reading what other coaches are doing. Rene, your posts are great. Thanks!

    Thank you Rich for all your hard work!

  6. #26
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    Oct 2012
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    Those times that I mentioned are from our Sunset League. Hayes, Hollinder, and Tennison are great talents; but there are other Leagues that race at Central Park as well. I have kept track of the boy's times as well. But one could argue that the times from Central are just for that meet and not the course. Like the 'all-time' times for Clovis or MSAC don't include those of the State or CIF times. So I won't post it. But clearly those races at Central Park this weekend were great! You guys had FINALLY some good weather! And at least you can appreciate where those times stand in reference to others that have raced on that course. OC Champs should be really fun for our teams this weekend

    Quote Originally Posted by Remylive View Post
    jformosa,

    Thank you for letting me know. I took the records straight from the meet program. I'm assuming they are Central Park meet records. I would love to see an updated top 20-all time list for boys and girls if you could post it. It's great to compare to the past. I'll let Sam Ortega know the company she's in, she'll be thrilled. This was only her fourth ever 3-mile XC race! Thanks again.

  7. #27
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    Oct 2012
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    Boyle Heights/East L.A.
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    Thanks to all the coaches posting about controlling program size and attitude. This has become a major concern for me these last two years as the Salesian program has grown over the last four years from 12-14 to over 50 boys. I always assumed that every program wanted highest numbers possible to increase talent pool (with the exception of Don Salyers' amazing Don Lugo teams only keeping 14), and so, since I'm a big softy, I would cut no one and "hope" some of those low end kids will eventually turn it around (which happens on occasion).

    I have wanted to implement an end of summer time trial, but couldn't bring myself to create a cut off time. Mark Wetmore's approach to using his time trial as an assessment appeals to me, so he can leave his cut line at "anyone who looks to have worked hard during the summer and has potential". I also like Coach Peters' 90 second returner rule, and Coach Paragas' "if you come all summer, you're in" rule. Thanks for sharing your insights on this.

    I was still wondering about the ideal coach to athlete ratio (diminishing returns on program size). I currently am the only full-time XC coach on staff and my program carries 1.5 stipends (the same $ amount as when the team had 12 runners) so I basically rely on former runners of mine to "volunteer" when they can. What are your thoughts on how many athletes one coach can effectively train?
    Salesian (SS)
    Boyle Heights Distance Project
    "By Endurance We Conquer"

  8. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gardner View Post
    So glad to hear how valued and appreciated I still am.... Rene, you schedule the meet in 2013 and we will come. But, thank you for those thoughts and insight.

    GREAT topic Rene as I do agree with you that most of us are isolated and are our own unique fraternity (sorority Jay?) amongst Cross Country coaches.

    Jay - back away from the Bar-B-Que, stop violating national federation rules of recruiting and guiding athletes around the course on your Segway, and respond with some snide remark!!!
    First of all, how come I wasn't invited to the meet? All of you guys need sonmeone to bring up the back end of the race. Well we're your team. Second, I've been in that sorority for 20+ years now and I'm not about to leave. Thrird, Rules were only designed for the rest of you. We in the "YV" live by our own set of rules and meth, DEAL WITH IT! And fourth, I'll make any snide remark I want to.

    As for you Rich Gonzalez, I can be in a 6th division if I want to.

  9. #29
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    Mission Viejo
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    This is a fun thread to read. I have been so board with trying to avoid work by playing online pool and reading that I have actually had to get work done. It is nice to be able to waste some quality time reading these posts like the old days.

    I thought I would piggy back the theme of this thread with some Trabuco Hills trials and tribulations. This season has been interesting so far for us. We have been running well, but mostly have just tried to survive the weather like most of you. I have seen a definite impact on our race times because of our training in 95-106 degree weather through most of September. We are running times equal to last year, but so far, not any faster. With the weather finally cooperating, I am hoping to see some positive results in the coming weeks. It has felt like we have been in a holding patter so far this season, but I feel optimistic now and the boys are starting to show signs of life.

    Our top junior has been struggling with health issues for over a year now. The relatively cool July helped him get some quality workouts in and his base up to a solid level of preparation. However, when the temps climbed and the air quality went south, he quickly relapsed and has been out for three weeks with breathing issues. I wonder if other coaches have kids with similar issues. We are trying to reboot his immune system through dietary means right now and he is able to train hard on a treadmill in a LA Fitness. He has to wear a mask when running outside now and the kids like to call him "Bane." Before our race in Pleasanton, a runner from another team interrupted our pre-race meeting by grabbing "Bane" by the shoulder and incorrectly quoting a line from The Dark Knight. The anonymous runner was wearing a blue batman mask at the time. I could only stand there in disbelief and the rest of the team just stared the kid down. No one laughed.

    Has anyone else had an athlete with severe asthma and environmental allergies? What did they do to prevent an attack on a dusty course like Mt. Sac or Woodward?
    Liam Clemons
    Director of Cross Country
    Head Distance Coach
    Trabuco Hills High School
    D-1

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