Wednesday, December 6, 2023


I love Cross Country.  I love the preparation required during the summer months.  I love the challenge of creating training plans to accommodate a team that has a number of ability levels.  I love analyzing data to create those plans and I love make comparisons between our team and our opponents.  I enjoy submitting results to our AD and Administration to let them know how well our team performed, or if the team didn’t fare as well as hoped, the individuals that stood out in a loss. I love practice and seeing young student-athletes gain fitness and confidence through the physical effort required by this sport.  And I love to see that effort translate into improvement and accomplishment.  And if I had to cite one aspect of Cross Country I love most, it would be that: improvement and accomplishment.  One of the awards we present each season is to the boy and girl athlete who has made the most dramatic improvement between last fall and this fall.  And this award serves to illustrate why this sport goes well beyond the finish line because improvement represents the culmination of the preparation, effort and enjoyment I speak of.  And this year we have two team members very deserving of this award.  In 2022, Lauren Smith joined us after a year of freshman soccer and went about quietly (very quietly in fact) showing us that she had potential as a runner.  She competed in 5 of our 6 dual meets with her best race a 9th place finish at Duxbury where she scored her first point in competition.  When it came time to choose our Divisional Meet runners, she had posted the team’s 8th best 5K with a time of 24:21.  So while she was close to being selected, she missed by a minute or so.  Perhaps motivated by that, she came into this season well prepared and immediately made her presence felt.

 In this season’s first meet she was among the top 5 finishers for our girls at Marshfield, a tough team and a tougher place to run. The next week she matched that against Silver Lake.  And in week 3 against Plymouth North, while showing continued improvement, she finished 3rd for the team.  She continued to improve her times in the following weeks with a 4th place at Hingham, 3rd against Duxbury, a 2nd at Franklin Park in the Catholic Memorial Invitational and a 2nd at the Patriot League Championship.  And finally, at the Divisional Meet in Wrentham she was the 3rd finisher for the team with a new Personal Record of 21:31 in the 5K while helping the girls’ team qualify for the All-State Championship.  Her finish in that race was just under a 3:00 minute improvement from the previous season; the largest improvement among our girls; again, all very quietly.  Lauren scored a single point in 2022 but scored in all 9 meets this year in which the girls competed (the only girl to do so, in fact.) Congratulations to a soft-spoken young lady who makes noise on the XC course and is on course to become an even better runner in 2024, Lauren Smith. 

Improvement and accomplishment; what I love most about this sport.  And for a coach these achievements can be measured quite easily in Cross Country, with a stopwatch.  But for the athlete, there is always the physical and mental challenge in meeting goals and expectations. Improvement doesn’t come easy.  In addition to preparation and effort, cross country tests an individual’s endurance, strength and agility. It emphasizes the mental toughness needed to overcome obstacles and push through pain.  And our award for the most improved boy runner goes to a boy who has shown those abilities since he joined us a freshman last year, Caleb Poth.  Any long-time runner remembers at the outset, running is chore, hard work; an effort that often makes a newcomer to this sport wonder if he or she should look elsewhere.  Injury and pain almost always accompany the start of a running program, and many decide to abandon the effort.  In 2022 Caleb, I believe dealt with both injury and pain on his way to becoming a true athlete. In 2022 Caleb showed the desire needed to work through that pain.  In the first three weeks of the 2022 season in fact, Caleb ran consistently, but in week four at Plymouth North he hit a wall of sorts and ran for him, a disappointing race.  But Caleb is tenacious and persistent.  He continued to work through pain and fatigue and ultimately competed in each dual meet during the season.  He closed out his 2022 Cross Country season in the JV Meet at the Patriot League Championship where he ran his best 5K time of that year finishing 85th out of 96 runners, in 24:47.  Caleb got a taste of accomplishment in 2022 and vowed to come back stronger in 2023.

This year, Caleb, like Lauren, was prepared coming into the season.  He experienced little pain and showed the effort of a young man on a mission to improve.  And improve, he did: in dramatic fashion.  No, he didn’t win any races.  In fact, he didn’t score any points.  But he practiced hard each day in an effort to get better and slowly but surely, he climbed in the team ranking.  Before it was over Caleb had posted the 7th best 5k time among the boys with his 20:21 finish, again at the Patriot League Championship where he finished 75th out of 98 runners, this time in the Varsity race.  His improvement over 2022’s best time was an amazing 4:26, about 2 ½ minutes better than the improvement of any of his teammates.  This season provided many obstacles and challenges for Caleb, all of which he dealt with capably and professionally.  Congratulations to Caleb Poth on his amazing accomplishments this year.  He has put the coaches on notice by telling us he anticipates further improvement in the fall of 2024.  None of us doubt his doing just that. 

Cross Country provides an opportunity to enjoy the camaraderie and sense of community that exists within a team. The common experiences found in the sports challenges, its victories and yes, in its losses, bring team members closer together and strong bonds are formed along with lifelong friendships.  Evidence of that can be found in not only the relationship among the coaching staff, but even more so in the relationships we have with others as a result of our having taken up distance running ourselves.  However, team unity was not in abundance this year, and I’ll take the blame for that.  And I’ll work hard to resolve that in the future.  But nonetheless there were many of those lifelong friendships formed that I spoke of earlier.  One such friendship is that between Alex Kehayias and McKenna McCarthy, coincidentally our Boys and Girls Most Valuable Players this season.

Alex, a senior, served as team Captain this fall and was Whitman-Hanson’s top finisher in each of the team’s eight meets this season.  Alex established a new 5K Personal Record with an impressive 17:04 finish at the Patriot League Championship at Hingham.  He was selected as a Patriot League All-Star.  He placed 45th at the MIAA Divisional (D2) Meet at Wrentham in which he completed in an impressive time of 17:35. 

Junior McKenna McCarthy was the Panthers top finisher in each of the team’s meets this season and finished behind only a total of five perennial Patriot League All-Stars during the dual meet segment of the season.  McKenna established a new 5K Personal Record of 19:58 in the team’s win over Duxbury.  McKenna was a unanimous Patriot League All-Star selection.  McKenna finished 14th at the Division 2 State Qualifier in Wrentham and 46th at the Divisional Meet of Champions at Fort Devens.

Cross Country, like most sports, provides us all the chance to celebrate individual achievements and we acknowledge a great number of those with these two student-athletes.  Cross Country has provided both Alex and McKenna personal growth opportunities and a chance to discover their potential.  Each will establish new goals again next year as Alex heads to Suffolk University as a member of the Cross Country and Track teams, while McKenna will return for her Senior year at Whitman-Hanson.  I’m excited to see where it takes them. 

It’s my opinion that participating in Cross Country provides an athlete with invaluable life skills and lessons.  Discipline immediately comes to mind.  We’ve just seen where athletes that participate in practice each day and put forth a genuine effort at each of those practices, accomplish great things.  It’s like any task.  Whether it’s your academics, your job, your relationships with others; you’ll only succeed with consistent and meaningful effort. You have to work at it. Time-management skills can be greatly enhanced through participating in athletics.  Each day you’re asked to set aside a specific block of time for practice.  Giving similar attention to other aspects of your life such as homework, nutrition, time with your family and friends, and rest and relaxation, all very necessary for a happy and healthy life, will ensure that you get to everything you should be getting to.  Less stress, less anxiety, less grief.  Of course, nobody lives that perfect life forever.  Things happen.  Obstacles and events occasionally get in the way of your routine.  Often times these obstacles are quite impactful.  Illness, injury, at times, chaos, can be terribly distracting, and can get in the way of doing what we need to do.  But what this sport teaches us is resilience.  We overcome those obstacles, move on from them, and most often we’re better for having done so.   And Cross Country, a goal-oriented sport, continuously reminds us of the fact that there is always a better day ahead. If you don’t achieve that goal today, you may tomorrow.  And Cross Country teaches us that commitment, the genuine and consistent effort I’ve been talking about, whether it is applied to this sport or in any other meaningful endeavor we take on, will result in us reaching our full potential for success and happiness. 

Our next award goes to an individual who has provided a benchmark this year for that commitment.  You are already aware of some of his accomplishments during the season, all a by-product of his dedication to improvement.  He is the sole member of this year’s team to be in attendance and participate in each practice and every meet, Alex Kehayias, this year's recipient of the team's Commitment Award.

Of course, individual achievements for our student athletes aren’t limited to accomplishments on the Cross-Country course or the Track.  Of greater importance, and I want to stress that; of greater importance, is what these student-athletes accomplish in the classroom.  High grades and outstanding GPAs have been a hallmark of every team I’ve coached in Cross Country.  A far wiser, and older, coach once told me that the best recruits for Cross Country are not found in the gym class, they are found in the math class.  And I tend to agree.  They are a very intelligent group overall.  And although Whitman-Hanson doesn’t rank its students and GPAs aren’t available to coaches, we do have access to grades for the primary purpose of counseling those students with problems or in danger of losing his/her eligibility.  Those lists for this sport, where existent, are very short.  We don’t see a lot of Ds or Fs.  We pretty much see kids with one or two Cs.  When I speak with those students, I almost always learn their deficiency is the result of either a missed exam which will be made up, or an assignment which will be submitted within a short time.  Within a week or two, the matter is usually resolved favorably.  There are those kids who never make those lists and whose grades are extremely impressive.  In fact, there are many members of the team who should be acknowledged for their academic achievements.  It makes it difficult to single out athletes among that large group of deserving kids for the Scholar-Athlete Award, but this year there are two standouts who are high achievers: not only within Cross Country but in the far more important realm of academics.  And those students, both seniors, are Shane Johnson and Lynn McCoy.  It is important to note that both Shane and Lynn have been outstanding students since they arrived at Whitman-Hanson.  The consistency and hard work they’ve displayed in sports is a reflection of what each brings to the classroom.  They’ve chosen to follow the same path in athletics as they have in academics; a path that will undoubtedly serve each of them well in the years to come.  We’ll miss Shane and Lynn next year, but we can look forward to others taking their places.  We know others are ready to follow their lead and take on the role of leaders in the classroom and in Cross Country. 



Two of our younger student-athletes appear to be following comparable routes as Shane and Lynn: both are very good students and impressive athletes and each season we recognize a member of both the Boys and the Girls team with the Rookie-of-the-Year Award.  This award is presented to the first-year athlete who makes the greatest impact on team results, but it takes into consideration traits beyond the finish line.  These kids are committed to running, hard-working in practice, respectful to both teammates and the coaches, and quite honestly children any parent should be enormously proud of.  The Cross-Country Rookies- of-the-Year for 2023 are Sophomores Haley Gillis and Ben Andrews.

Haley joined Cross Country with no expectation of even running a 5K.  In her first season of Track and Field this past spring she participated in four events: the 100, 200, and 4 X 100 Meter races, along with the High Jump.  After a week or so of working with Coach S’s group (formerly known as the Mod Squad) at practice this fall, I asked Haley to consider running with Coach Coletti’s group, made up of mostly newcomers to the sport of Cross Country.  I asked that she simply try distance running and let her know that I saw potential in her as a distance runner.  I also told Haley that if she didn’t like it, she could return to Coach S’s group if she wished.  But from the moment she started running with the distance crew she seemed to not only enjoy it, but she rapidly improved.  She didn’t compete in our first meet at Marshfield, but in her first meet at Silver Lake, Haley finished 3rd among the Panther girls, and the following week against Plymouth North she ran 4th among her teammates.  She dropped to 5th at Hingham, no surprise given her effort in her new event over the first few weeks of distance running.  But 3 weeks later she was the team’s 3rd place finisher in the Patriot League Varsity Championship with a time of 22:46. And two weeks following the League Championship, Haley was a major factor in the team’s qualifying for the State Championship when she ran the team’s 2nd best time of 21:25 at the Division 2 State Qualifying Meet. She finished 24th overall and established her current Personal Record in that race.  The following week she closed out her season finishing 3rd for the team at the Divisional State Championship.  So, in less than two months, Haley both began her distance running journey and accomplished incredible success as a distance runner.  I’m looking forward to watching her progress over the next two years and feel she will undoubtedly become one of our league’s top athletes.

Ben Andrews path to becoming the terrific distance runner he is, while far different than Haley’s, parallels it in many ways. He too is a sophomore running his first season of Cross Country.  Ben had also participated in Track and Field but had already established himself as an excellent distance runner while exclusively running the Mile and 2 Mile, where he holds Personal Records of 5:08 (in the Mile) and 11:11 (in the 2 Mile.)  Ben played a year of soccer before joining us at Cross Country this past fall.  But he had some experience with the 5K having competed in a number of local races, some of which he won.  We were elated when Ben decided to join us in Cross Country this past fall, and expectations for him were high.  And Ben delivered.  While he ran on a team with many experienced upperclassmen, he climbed the ranks quickly, and stayed there, as the team’s 3rd place finisher at Silver Lake and at home versus Plymouth North, and the Panthers’ 2nd place finisher in his other six races during the season.  He showed extraordinary durability in maintaining his practice and racing schedule, along with the dedication and commitment we love seeing in our student-athletes.  My own personal goal for Ben was to see him run a sub 18:00 minute 5k which he achieved at the Patriot League Championship where he established his current personal record of 17:59.  At the Division 2 State Qualifier at Wrentham he ran an impressive 18:02 on a far more difficult course than Hingham in what I thought was Ben’s best race of the season and a precursor to what we expect to see from Ben in the years to come.   Ben, like Haley, not only made a major contribution to the success of the team this past fall but can look forward to improvement in the years ahead as one of the league’s premier distance runners.


You can see in Ben and Haley that this sport offers the opportunity for not only racing achievements but self-discovery.  A sprinter and a soccer player have each become in just one season, both accomplished runners and outstanding athletes, something they may not have envisioned when their journey began.  There are though, many pleasant surprises that took place during our 2023 season and to present awards to two athletes who provided us with a lot of thrills during this season is our own Coach S (chlicting).

(Coach S presented what we've titled the "Coach S" award to two outstanding athletes, Lauren Smith and Andrew Buckley.  The award was created through his wish that a student-athlete who having exceeded expectations, be acknowledged for having done so. Both Lauren and Andrew were vital members of the Cross-Country team.  Each was a major contributor to the success of their respective squads.  Both Lauren and Andrew scored in every meet in which the team participated this season.  There are no more deserving recipients in my opinion.) 

We’ve shared with you through these award presentations, stories of improvement and accomplishing goals, overcoming adversity, along with commitment, hard work, athleticism, and academic achievement. Each member of the team can, in some way, relate to most, if not all of those stories.  Cross country is a sport which encompasses physical challenges, team unity, life lessons and personal growth and the sport should be recognized as a vehicle to the self-discovery and friendships I spoke of, more so than simply racing.  It is so much more than that.  And that too is a reason I love this sport.

But what about the many that never win a race: those that come to practice each day and run their races with no real expectation of winning but with the anticipation of simply competing?  As you know, most of you fall into that category.  But each day you return simply for the love of the sport.  You applaud your teammates and your opponents as well.  You get beyond the finish line after quite a few have done so before you arrive.  You work hard, and you follow the direction of your coaches, you never complain, and you maintain a smile as long as possible during each workout.   You have never been an All-Star or an All-Scholastic, and maybe you’ve never received any recognition for what you know you’ve accomplished, but you accept that and take pride in knowing you’ve always done your best.  And at every turn along the way you have exhibited what this sport and any sport is really all about, sportsmanship.  Not an easy feat in an atmosphere in which competition and being the best are its most distinguishing characteristics.  Two student-athletes who I’ve essentially just described are this year’s recipients of the Patriot League Sportsmanship Award:  from the Boys team – Adam Vinton, and from the Girls team – Evelyn Williams.

Thank you to all who attended last night's gathering.  I apologize for trying to change my presentation "on the fly" in order to get everybody home at a reasonable time and reduce the time you were asked to sit through my babbling.   




Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Hard Work Pays Dividends

The following was submitted to Administration and local press following today's meet versus Plymouth North:

The Whitman-Hanson Boys Cross Country team (1-2) hosted Plymouth North Tuesday afternoon winning 25-31 behind an impressive win by Senior Captain Alex Kehayias who covered the 5K course in 18:00.  The Panthers placed 5 of the top 8 places to seal the victory.  Senior Captain Gavin McCarthy and Sophomore Ben Andrews finished in 19:01 to take 4th and 5th place, while Seniors Shane Johnson 7th, 19:33) and Andrew Buckley (8th, 19:50.) also scored for Whitman-Hanson.
The Whitman-Hanson Girls Cross Country team improved to 2-1 on the season, downing Plymouth North 24-34, placing 5 of the top 7 runners in the 5K race.  Junior McKenna McCarthy was the Panthers top finisher placing 2nd overall in a time of 21:16. The Panthers took 4th through 7th places with Senior Captain Caroline Poth (22:55), Junior Lauren Smith (23:26), Sophomore Haley Gillis (23:28) and Junior Chloe Handlin (23:46) all running well in the victory.

Full results can be found at the following link:

Whitman-Hanson vs Plymouth North

It's back to work tomorrow at 2:30. Hingham is up next!  

Friday, September 15, 2023

Moving forward

 At practice recently I mentioned the importance and the usefulness of "self-evaluation."  I also noted that self-evaluation is something I conduct on a regular basis and have for many, many years.  Like most people I have goals and expectations, and understanding and analyzing the effort made to achieve them is almost always enlightening, but more importantly productive.  I'd encourage any of you to perform a self-evaluation as often as possible. You'll be amazed at what you find out about yourself.

When I was young and making my climb up the corporate ladder (which in retrospect was neither a long climb nor a "corporate" ladder) I would set short term goals for myself.  Understanding a performance review might be conducted at any time, I would try to prepare for it by asking myself any number of standard questions.  What was I most proud of?  What would I do differently?  Where did I want to be a year from now?  I can now see that approach was more self-aggrandizing than reflective; designed to make me perhaps look better than I may have actually been.  

As I grew older, my questions became more self-reflective.  How have I performed in relation to my goals?  How would I rate my overall performance?  How did my performance improve or develop the agency I worked in? These questions required honesty and a true analysis of my efforts.  They also allowed me to determine mistakes I made along the way, what I learned from them, and how to move forward from there.

As I made my most recent self-evaluation as it pertains to coaching, I took the more mature approach again, reflection being far more productive than building my resume, and came to one simple, startling conclusion.  I have not given our athletes enough credit.  OK Coach, what do you mean by that?  Let me explain with the following example.  Some time ago when I too was a runner, I would train with the athletes. If they were going out 6-7 miles, I would be leading the way.  If we were doing intervals on the track, I was right beside them.  Most days, I would either extend the run or the number of repeats. Not because I could do it, but because I KNEW the kids were capable of it. And they responded as expected. It was that extra effort they were willing to expend that made them the great runners they were.  I was simply recognizing their true desires to achieve their highest potential and providing the opportunity to do it.

About six years ago, for health reasons, I was forced to stop running and began training the athletes from a bicycle.  Without getting into the boring details, I stopped running for what can best be described as an overuse running injury.  As a result, in recent years I've lost some perspective on the willingness and in fact, the need, on the part of some of our athletes to work as hard as they possibly can.  Fearlessly.  I may have lost sight of the facts that our student-athletes want to achieve their very best and are, in most cases, willing to do whatever training is required to become the best.

So, for the final part of my self-evaluation I am willing to acknowledge my mistakes and tell, no show you how I've learned from them. And I'll be perfectly clear about my goals moving forward. We've already stepped it up the last few days.  Nobody has been injured.  And I still see smiles. The trend will continue.  We'll still have Fun Friday, but the rest of the week will be reserved for only hard work.  My goal?  To make you the very best runner you can be.  Healthily. Happily.  

See you all at 2:30. (And tomorrow AM at 8:15!)

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Whitman-Hanson @ Marshfield

The following was sent to Administration and local media following today's meet at Marshfield.

Whitman-Hanson Boys and Girls Cross Country traveled to Marshfield Tuesday afternoon to face the Rams Division 1 powerhouse teams.  The Panther Boys (0-1) placed five boys among the top twelve finishers but lost on the scoreboard 16-41.  Senior Captain Alex Kahayias was first across the finish line for the Panthers in 5th place with a time of 17:54 on the 2.85 Mile course. Sophomore Ben Andrews (7th, 18:55), Senior Shane Johnson (8th, 19:18), Senior Captain Gavin McCarthy (9th, 19:32) and Senior Andrew Buckley (12th, 19:49) also scored for Whitman-Hanson in the loss.
For the Panther Girls (0-1) Junior McKenna McCarthy was the top finisher placing 4th overall in a time of 20:45 in the team's 17-46 loss.  Others scoring for Whitman-Hanson included Senior Amiliya Gretsky (10th, 23:23), Senior Captain Caroline Poth (11th, 23:35), Junior Chloe Handlin (12th, 23:45) and Junior Lauren Smith (13th, 24:03.)
The teams are looking forward to next Tuesday when they again go on the road, this time at Silver Lake Regional High School.
Steve George, Head Coach

Not exactly the results we were hoping for, but there is no doubt Marshfield is a talented, large school team on both the Boys and Girls sides. We'll get back to work tomorrow to prepare for Silver Lake on the road next Tuesday with each team looking for its first win of the season.

Team Results in Week 1 - Winners/Boys = Marshfield, Hingham, Duxbury
                                          Winners/Girls = Marshfield, Hingham, Plymouth North  

Full results for each Whitman-Hanson team can be accessed via the following links:


Saturday, September 9, 2023

MSTCA Cross Country Relay results and Panther football commentary

Earlier today our XC teams traveled to Attleboro to open the season.  The following summary was sent to Administration following the meet:

The Whitman-Hanson Boys and Girls Cross Country teams sent 21 athletes to Highland Park, Attleboro, to compete in the MSTCA Cross Country Relays on Saturday. Each relay race consisted of three team members, and included a Coed race, along with both girls' and boys' races. 

In the Coed race fielding 42 teams, Sophomore Ben Andrews, Junior McKenna MCarthy and Senior Alex Kehayias combined to medal with a 10th place finish over the 4.6-mile course in a time of 28:03.

The Boys Junior/Senior Race had a total of 64 entries with three from WHRHS. Seniors Adam Vinton, Andrew Buckley and Shane Johnson finished in 32nd place in a time of 29:09.  In 42nd place was the team of Connor McCarthy, James Whitman and Gavin McCarthy at 30:38, while Lexton Tobias, Caleb Poth and Declan Handlin finished 53rd with a time of 33:47.

The Girls Junior Senior Race had 51 entries and again Whitman-Hanson entered three teams.  Seniors Caroline Poth, Paige Reichert and Lynn McCoy finished 22nd in a time of 35:17.  Haley Gillis, Willa McKay and Bella Furtado, each in her first Cross Country race, combined to place 28th with a time of 36:58. And Chloe Handlin, Amiliya Gretsky and Evelyn Williams ran a combined time of 37:07 to take 31st place overall.

It was a great start to the 2023 season.  The teams head to Marshfield on Tuesday for the first Patriot League dual meet of the season.

Steve George, Head Coach

Last night I had an opportunity to watch the WHRHS football team as it took on Pembroke High in Pembroke.  Cross Country congratulates Coach Botelho, his staff and all the members of the team on its thrilling come from behind victory.  We especially want to congratulate some of our Track and Field athletes who played a great game.  Matt Lee, Brady Markowski, Mitch Souza and Cody Roberts were outstanding in the win.  When I returned home my granddaughter asked me what "karma" is after hearing me use the word.  I explained to her very simply that karma is what happens when your football team is winning 26-14 with about 8 minutes left in the game and your school marching band starts playing the "Hey, Hey, Goodbye" song.  And then you lose.  At the game, I had been standing next to a man I didn't recognize, and I don't know which team he was supporting, but as the band played on he commented to me, "It's a little early to be playing that song."  To which I replied, "I was thinking the very same thing."  We're all just a bit proud of a team that didn't give up, and while in all probability unaware of the song played by the opponent's band, showed them what "karma" is all about.

Back at it Monday at 2:30. Sunday is a day off, with a mini-meet planned for Monday and easy running for all others in anticipation of our opener at Marshfield.


Friday, September 8, 2023

Friday, September 8th

I think it is fair to say we've had an up-and-down week of practice between this past Friday and yesterday's (Thursday) practice in the heat.  The unseasonable weather slowed us all down a bit but no more than other Patriot League schools which operate under the same rules and guidelines.  It all gets back to summer training during the early portion of our schedule, and those that have built a base and shown dedication in the weight room should not be adversely impacted by the training limitations attributable to the weather this week. 

I feel our trip to Marshfield on Monday with some of our athletes was productive and conducted in accordance with one general rule in XC . . . know the course.  Unfortunately, our efforts to get some racing experience for our new runners in a 3K meet yesterday with Quincy/North Quincy never materialized, but we have something planned for those not quite ready for the 2.85-mile Marshfield course coming up on Monday.

We're looking forward to tomorrow morning's XC Relay meet being held at Highland Park, Mechanic Street, Attleboro.  We've entered 7 teams of 3 with each individual runner going 1.5-1.6 miles.  The entries were made on the basis of our athletes' current state of conditioning along with summer training and participation in the strength and conditioning sessions held the past few months.  ALL are invited to attend the meet which will give our newcomers a glimpse of what an invitational meet is all about.  It can also be a very useful motivation tool.  

We are still accepting new members to our team.  In fact, we will be adding another boy today, and a new girl on Monday.  One of the comments heard from our newcomers on a number of occasions is how welcoming and friendly our teams are.  Thanks to all of you for respecting each and every member of our team. Runners are made, not born, and the environment you provide gives our newest members comfort in their new surroundings. And the coaches couldn't ask for a better atmosphere in which to work each day.  In fact, Coach S, will be rewarding us all today with a host of Fun Friday games following a brief shakeout run.  We'll see you all at 2:30!!

Friday, September 1, 2023

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday - Days #8, 9 and 10

Following our warmup on Tuesday the athletes were given training pace times based on his/her individual results at Monday's Time Trial after which we held an Easy run of 5 Miles for Group 1, somewhat less for Group 2, using those paces.  I've found that most high school runners like to train every day at one pace.  Some treat each day like a race, while others consistently hold back or run with a friend maintaining a slow pace.  The truth is an easy pace day does two very important things.  First, it allows a runner to recover from a hard, stressful workout from the previous day.  Second, and equally important, it sets the runner up to be capable of running hard or completing a difficult workout the following day.  On Tuesday, many of our runners were able to run farther, nearly all completing 5 miles, as a direct result of slowing down his/her pace to the Easy pace mile times.  The team closed things out with Core and Stretching. We were pleased with the results of today and even more excited about seeing their impact on tomorrow's workout.

On Wednesday, VO2 Max training pace times were provided in anticipation of an 800-meter workout.  The VO2 times are indicative of cardiorespiratory fitness and is essentially the measurement of oxygen consumption over a period of time.  This pace is intended to increase running strength and running efficiency.  We opted to run on the grass, a soft surface and more appropriate for our Cross-Country runners.  We marked out a course which ran between two field hockey teams, the JV soccer squad and dozens of geese which call our playing fields home this time of year in an effort to reduce impact. As we do with workouts of this type, we are looking for consistency.  Just about all our runners ran a little faster than VO2 max pace during his/her first 800, so we advised everyone to slow it down just a bit . . . we had five more to do.  That said and done, everybody got through the workout with no problems.  A four-minute recovery between repeats was adequate for each runner to maintain his/her VO2 Max pace time throughout.  It wasn't easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it was enjoyable and productive!  A brief cooldown jog followed by stretching and mission accomplished!

Yesterday, Thursday, was a well-deserved Easy day.  The runners were again reminded of their Easy pace times and asked to run 30 minutes at that pace.  Everybody felt comfortable and ran well.  The run was followed up with an upper body weight training session in the school fitness center.  We jogged back to the field and closed out the day with stretching. And we were very happy with the results over the three days. There were a couple of athletes experiencing "discomfort".  But everybody remains overwhelmingly healthy!!!  

Practice Friday will get under way at 2:30. Yes, even on an early dismissal day, we practice at 2:30.  The reason is that not all the coaches have the flexibility, due to work commitments, to start earlier.  We understand some student-athletes may have transportation issues as a result and apologize for any inconvenience, but it is unavoidable. "Fun Friday" will be an Easy run, in anticipation of Saturday morning's long run, scheduled to begin at 8:30 at Burrage Pond, Hawkes Avenue in Hanson, followed by Coach S games.  We hope to see you all there!