Racing at the front of the pack, in the closing stages of a race, is very exciting. It’s an exhilarating rush, and when you are able to finish it off to win, it’s a feeling you cherish and become addicted to. Saturday was a special day, for more than one runner.
We brought the team to HCA so that we could begin to cultivate a level of chemistry within the team, to gain some confidence in what we are doing, and to set a foundation for good “meet day” habits as we progress through the campaign.
Brandon Park took control early, fought the last mile hard against a pair of Tigers, and in the end found the guts and extra gear to pull away for a special victory. Moments like these are so much fun to witness. Not to be outdone, both Reger and Kuipers took advantage of the small field and ground out top 10 trophies on a challenging and true cross country course.
Spaetzel and Walker gave us the races we needed to earn a team title. While they are not feeling 100%, the potential exists for this to snowball into something fun. Kurz managed to improve his mile pace by :13 over Tuesday on arguably a tougher course. Gale is getting back into the lineup at a good time, and will continue to improve. Parks dropped a minute from his Tuesday performance, and Ben Smith had a huge kick to improve by more than 2:00! Cruz has been a warrior all summer and into the season. There are bigger and better days ahead, but watch for his quiet leadership and example. It’s what we want out of all of our runners.
The JV boys race featured a mix of freshmen to seniors, and Richtman cruised to victory. What was equally exciting was the way we ran in pairs after Kantola, Messina and Duffey closed the 80 second gap between 1-2 on Tuesday. Kantola was only 22 seconds back today, and our top 6 made a pack split of :58. THIS is #KXC. We are a pack team, and we find great success doing it.
With 6 in the top 10, the team is starting to gel.
Jared Murri ran the coaches race plan to perfection, Wojak is making huge gains in racing, and that leads to confidence. Purcell and Moses made the top 20 in just their second high school races. Freshmen Wells, Heiser, O'Sullivan and Wilk are all beginning to find the great benefits of racing WITH people, and not winding up in 'no mans land.' Our juniors and seniors who jumped into the shorter race found great success in dropping mile paces, and running a hilly course like this tactically. We will practice surging on turns, running up and down hills, using blind corners to run away from the competition and more. Being able to put all these things together, in the same race, is what will allow us to succeed.
The shorter course (2.0) helped mile paces, but so did the experience factor. Now that we are starting to find out a little more about how to run these longer cross country races, and the teammates who we are able to race with, we should have a better idea of where we should be when we begin racing a full 3 miles this week. Keep the pack going!