Sunday, October 25, 2009

Darts -
It took me a while to get to this email. It is difficult to sum up an entire cross country season based on just the state cross country meet. So before I get to state, I wanted to point out some of our other highlights:
- The season really began back in June. Through the summer we ran more miles as a TEAM than we have ever run. Nearly doubling the previous record: Over 10,300 for the girls, and nearly 16,000 for the boys. (over 26,000 combined)
- High Altitude Camp was once again one of my favorite parts of the year. We began to come together as a TEAM, and I saw that we had a group that was willing to work hard and willing to work together.
- The Dart Challenge showed we had worked hard over the summer, as both our boys and our girls had some of their best ever TEAM performances.
- Throughout the season we had races where we dominated and a few races where we struggled. The one thing that was common through all the races was our effort. I don't know that I have ever seen a TEAM have so many runners who race their hardest. Sure, we didn't always run our best, but we were always giving our all. And not just the top runners--everyone was doing their own personal best.
- We were Region Champions for the 14th year in a row on the boys side, and the 4th straight year for the girls. Our JV girls finished 1-9, and our JV boys were 1-11. In the varsity girls race, Meghan was the champion, and Jessie was the runner-up, and we had 3 more girls who were all-region (Anni, Emily, and Abby). The boys race was won by Logan Petty and we had 5 more boys finish in the top 8 for all-region (Mike, Brad, Joe, Brian, and Austin).

The state cross country meet generally serves as an overall indicator of the success of a TEAM, but I don't think it is fair to look at that one race alone. Our journey as a TEAM is what we will really remember. I was proud of our runners and supporters at the state cross country meet, but I was mostly proud of the effort and the experience of the entire season. This isn't really the 'end' anyway. We still have Nike Regionals in Tempe, we still have indoor and outdoor track, and we have an extremely bright future for cross country. The teams from the past began a great tradition, this year's TEAM has continued the tradition, and the TEAM of next year is going to take us to a whole new level.

Now, to the state championships. . .
The girls finished in 2nd place behind a strong performance by American Fork. In the overall state results, the girls were 4th. It was the 8th time in the past 10 years where the girls TEAM finished in the top 3 for 5A. The girls were led by State Champion Meghan Hedquist. She is only the 2nd Davis girl to win the title (Natalie Haws is the other). Meghan ran a patient race and put in a strong move about 1/2 way to pull away for the win. She struggle a bit over the final 1/2 mile, but dug deep for the victory. Meghan has learned to really push herself on good days or bad. Meghan is quickly establishing herself as one of the best in the state. Jessie Wilding was our 2nd girl with an all-state 6th place finish. She had to fight it out with a group of American Fork girls. Jessie did a great job pushing the pace and making strong moves over the 2nd half of the race. Her time of 19:09 makes her the 6th fastest girl in Davis xc history. Anni Andersen, in her 1st year of cross country, was our 3rd girl. Although incredibly nervous going into the race, Anni competed hard like she has all season, and had a great finish. Emily Hansen was our 4th girl. It was a difficult race for Em because of recent injuries, but I was so proud of the way she ran for her TEAM and did her very best considering the challenges she has recently faced. Emily finishes a solid cross country career with 2 all-state finishes, 1 academic all-state award, 3 all-region finishes, and some of the fastest times in Davis history. She has stayed so positive and has been a great leader, and a great friend to many on the TEAM. Running injured the past 3 weeks has been as much of a challenge and as much of an accomplishment as anything she has done in her 4 years. She is going to have a successful running future. Our 5th girl was another 'rookie'--Abby Frodsham had an outstanding 1st season of cross country (she hasn't yet had a track season). She improved tremendously over the summer, and really helped our TEAM this season. She has developed a love for distance running which most of our athletes find, and she has also really learned to run hard and push through pain. Our 6th runner was our only sophomore running at state--Brooke Gutzwiller (Lil' Gutz). Brooke ran a smart race, and moved up well over the 2nd half. Although she isn't completely satisfied with her state finish, I think it has motivated Brooke to continue to work hard and to come back next year with goals to finish much higher. Brooke Stromberg also finished up her Davis XC career at the state meet. She has steadily improved since her 1 month summer cross country experience as a freshman. Brooke has learned to push herself and to run for her TEAM. She is also going to have a long distance running career, and I bet the marathon is going to be one of her favorite distances.

1. Meghan Hedquist 18:50
6. Jessie Wilding 19:09
22. Anni Anderson 20:04
25. Emily Hansen 20:11
30. Abby Frodsham 20:22
36. Brooke Gutzwiller 20:36
48. Brooke Stromberg 20:55
Team Scores
1. American Fork 32
2. Davis 81
3. Syracuse 142
4. Bingham 157

The boys finished in 3rd place behind American Fork and Pleasant Grove. It was the 9th time in the past 10 years that the boys have finished in the top 3 (with 4 first places). As many could see, the boys were disappointed in their finish. They were beating themselves up after the race. With some time to think about it, I couldn't be more proud of them. It was going to be a near impossible task to upset American Fork (ranked 12th in the U.S.), but our boys wanted to go after it. We thought if we put ourselves in a position by mile 2, we might have a slim chance that things would finish our way. It was a risk, but the boys wanted to take it. So we set up a race plan to put us with American Fork at 1/2 way and the boys ran it perfectly. We had Logan just off the top 5 runners, and we had a strong pack of 4 (Brad, Brian, Joe, and Austin) running in 14th-20th, with Jeff and Michael lurking right behind, ready to move strong over the final mile. I was so excited because we had put ourselves right in the race. I think just before mile 2 we were within 10 points of American Fork. It showed that our boys had guts and they had desire and they were willing to do what I asked them to, but it also cost us the 2nd place trophy. If they had conceded to AF, we would have set up a plan to secure 2nd, and we most likely would have come home with a trophy. But these boys went to the race for one thing - to go for the huge upset and pull off the win. They really believed in themselves and in each other. We struggled over the final 1,000 meters of the race, and Pleasant Grove came up to surprise us for 2nd. But I feel that our boys should be more proud of that 3rd place finish than they would have been with the 2nd place trophy.
I told the boys in the meeting that it reminded me of Steve Prefontaine in the 1972 Olympic 5,000m where he was running with the top 3 on the final lap. The top 3 had pulled away, and he was almost guaranteed an Olympic medal. But that wasn't good enough, so he made an early move at 350m to go against the heavy favorite. Then he made another strong move on the backstretch, then he found even another gear with 200m to go. The leader was able to cover his moves, and going that hard that early caused Prefontaine to struggle down the home stretch and get caught by another runner so he finished 4th (one place out of the medals).
Logan Petty did finish strong to snag an all-state performance and cap off a great senior year of cross country. Jeff Taylor was elected academic all-state.

10. Logan Petty 16:02
27. Brian Alfaro 16:28
29. Joe White 16:35
30. Brad Nye 16:39
31. Austin Neuner 16:40
39. Jeff Taylor 16:48
50. Michael King 16:59
Team Scores
1. American Fork 36
2. Pleasant Grove 86
3. Davis 109
4. Hillcrest 111
5. Weber 176

“Itis not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strongman stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose faceis marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errsand comes short again and again; because there is not effort withouterror and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed;who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himselfin a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of highachievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails whiledaring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold andtimid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” - Teddy Roosevelt

One final note about the state championships - Nice job to our group of JV runners who came to support and encourage the varsity TEAMS. It was, once again, an incredible sight to watch the mob of the Davis fan club sprint from place to place to get the TEAM going.

Thanks to all the parents who gave so much time and support to the program this year. We appreciate your willingness to bring treats, put on TEAM dinners, send food to TEAM dinners, allow your kids to spend so much time and energy running, and to show up and encourage your kids and their teammates.

Athletes of the Week:
Brad Nye
Emily Hansen
Brooke Gutzwiller

Coming Up:
Monday, 10-26: Important Meeting after school in my room. We will be going over the Tempe Workouts. We will also have a hard workout Monday on the track. Be ready.
Tuesday, 10-27: Ultimate Frisbee vs. Syracuse at 3:15 @ Syracuse High. A-team will be announced at Monday's meeting.
Wednesday, 10-28: Red Ribbon Run 5k - we will use this for our workout on Wednesday. It is a mandatory run. We don't have to look at it as a race - more like a tempo run. Parents and siblings are invited to participate. The race starts at 3:00pm.
Nike Regionals (Tempe Trip) - November 19-22. We will be discussing the trip at Monday's meeting. We will be able to take 48 athletes. The cost of the trip is $200. We will also discuss some possible fundraising activities.

No comments: