Past Seasons' Results‎ > ‎2014‎ > ‎

'14 Team Results

 Meet InfoMeet Notes and Details 
 8/19/14
Black and Red Race

Red Team
(2:30:16)

Black Team
(2:35:42)
 BIG shout out to the 2014 team.  You guys showed up ready to run, and put on a show!  There were a total of 4 people who completed their first 5K ever, which is always the first step in learning to complete it faster. (Zach Kovach, Ben Nichols, Joey Fehrenbach, and Jenni Miller).  We also had 7 runnerswho were ahead of their time from the first actual meet of 2013! (Congrats to Hank Phillips, Audrey Litten, Michael Gossett, Alex Michael, Nick Trowbridge, Emily Werner, and Kalem Tatem).  

It should be noted that this was not an event that our team was "fresh" for, by even the slightest measure.  Last Friday we had a killer 30m sprint workout, that still had kids feeling the glutes on Monday...and a tough 400m repeat workout on Monday.  The performances today were done on some sore legs for sure.  

The Red Team edged the Black team (2:30:16 to 2:35:42) led by Senior Hank Phillips in 17:03. Audrey Litten and Celine Hornick posted times to place them each in the top seven of the scoring for their squad. Nathan Weller, Tre Bower, Zach Kovach (1st 5K), and Ben Nichols (1st 5K) rounded out the scoring for the Red Team.  

 The Black Team was led by Michael Gossett, who was pushing Hank through the first half of the race, and ended up posting a time of 18:12 and good for 2nd overall.  He was followed up by Alex Michael in 19:28 (more than a full minute faster than his 1st meet of 2013).  Hannah Sears posted a time that placed 4th for her squad.  David Hardy was 3rd for his squad in his first race action in almost a year.  Nick Trowbridge (1 min ahead of 2013 first race), Joey Fehrenbach (1st 5K), and Emily Werner (2:26 ahead of 2013 first race) rounded out the scoring spots for the Black Team.

A special thank you to Mychal Doering for taking on the duties of announcing.  He did a fantastic job, kept the mood light, and did an overall fantastic job!  He was perfect for the occasion!  Coach Rosenberg also was integral behind the scenes, in helping get lights going, running the clock and helping Doering keep all the info straight, up in the sweltering press box.

All-in-all, the event was a hit.  It is something that I can see having a place in our future seasons.  Thank you to all who competed, helped run the event, and showed up to support our team.  It will surely be something this group will remember being a part of.  
 8/23/14
Early Bird Meet at Terre Haute

Boys
8th/15
7-7 (.500)

Girls
12th/15
3-11 (.214)
 The 2014 season officially started today.  Our kids were faced with one of the hottest, most humid days we have run in all season and we saw some positive things, in spite of the conditions.  Hannah Sears started her 2014 campaign on the course where the 2013 season ended, as this race is hosted at the site of the IHSAA State Finals.  She ran a few seconds faster on this course than she did at the state finals last season.  Her race was good for third overall.  She ran a pretty composed race, and was able to come back strong in the final 1500 or so of the race.  With a little more aggressiveness earlier in the race, she would have been running down the stretch with eventual race winner, Alli Workman of Bloomfield.  Celine and Audrey worked well together for the first half of the race, before Celine pulled ahead as Audrey hit some mid-race challenges. Celine ran one of her typical, grind it out kind of races.  Her effort never wavered, and she was able to finish in the middle of the pack. Despite the challenges she faced, Audrey ended up posting a finish time much faster than this race last season.  Emily Werner was not far off of her PR, which was a big step considering the difficulty of the course and the conditions on this day.  Jenni Miller completed her first official high school race, which is always a major accomplishment.  Before we can learn to race a full 5K we have to learn to cover the distance on race day.  

On the boys side of things, Hank Phillips and Michael Gossett were working together throughout the race.  Overcoming a bit of a slower stretch in the middle of the race, the two worked to pick up positions during the final 1500 meters.  They both placed in the top quarter of the finishers.   It was nice to see them work so well together in the first race of the season, and we will certainly look for things to pick up for them as the season progresses.  One of the bright spots for the day came from sophomore Alex Michael and freshman Zach Kovach, who were our number four and 5 runners today, to round out the boys' scoring.  Alex was almost two minutes faster than his time here a year ago, and he really closed the gap on Weller, which is something we want to see.  Kovach came out in his first 5K on a cross country course and actually beat his time from the Black and Red Race earlier in the week.  Nick Trowbridge also had a nice race today.  The time he posted was just shy of his time from a year ago, even though conditions were much tougher than last year's.

All in all, we know that we have a lot of areas to improve on before our next 5K.  The good news is that we have more than a week before our home invitational to work out some of the kinks.  One positive was that people were finishing strong.  It is important that we cement that in our DNA from the beginning.  We must always finish our races.  Moving forward though, we definitely need to learn to be a little more aggressive with our race strategy, and trust in our training to sustain us through the race.  We will certainly be eager to get back at things this week.  One thing I already know about this group is that we are learning to train with a purpose that is greater than our Saturday mornings.  We will continue to do that, and use today as a springboard to the rest of the season.
 8/30/14
Danville Hokem Karem

Boys
4th/15
18-10 (.643)

Girls 
No Team Score
3-11 (.214)

 What a difference a week makes.  Though the kids were going through their toughest week of training so far, they showed up and ran really strong on Saturday.  A week ago, there were some heads hung a little bit, as many were disappointed with their times from the Terre Haute meet.  (Reminding them that it was really rough conditions and that there was plenty of season left did little to solace them).  We came back with a focus on being more aggressive from the gun, and trusting in their ability and training. The way this group responded was exciting to see.  They came back this week and really nailed the workouts, bringing an extra chip on their shoulder to have a better showing this week.  DONE!

The girls raced first, and ran so well, that it kinda put a little pressure on the boys to follow up with a strong performance of their own.  The girls were led by the pair of Celine Hornick and Audrey Litten in 19th.  We came into the race talking about hitting 7 minutes on their first mile, and seeing where they could go from there, but we definitely wanted to see them attack the first mile.  Both girls were under 7 minutes on the first, and just over that in each of their second loops of the relay.  The pair of Claire Phillips and Emily Werner also saw some major walls knocked down.  Claire competed in her first varsity race ever, running her legs in 7:00-7:35...phenomenal for her first time out.  Sophomore Emily Werner battled injury all last season, but persevered to put herself in a position to be strong enough to keep up with all training this year.  She showed continued improvement today.  A few weeks back, she could barely hit a 10-minute mile in her repeats.  Today, she ran 8:32 in the first (a mile PR for her!) then followed up with 9:28 and 9:30.  That is such a dramatic improvement over where she was last seson.  These were the only two scoring pairs for the Mustangs today, which meant that we were ineligible for a team score.  In the JV 2-mile race, Jenni Miller also showed major improvement.  Having never run a single mile under 10-minutes for us, she completed the 2-mile course in 19:50, which averages under 10 minutes!

The boys followed up with a strong race of their own.  Last year at our first meet in Terre Haute we were 5th.  After finishing 8th this season we were hopeful to show that it was just a hiccup in our progression.  This year at Danville we moved up one spot from last year, to take 4th place overall.  This team performance hopefully will be a catalyst for continued improvement. We were led by the pair of Hank Phillips and Michael Gossett.  These two ran with heart and intense focus, to finish in 8th out of the field of 68 pairs.  They have been such an integral part of our program for the past four years and it was great to see them do well in this meet, which is the only one like their senior season. Our next pair across was Junior Nathan Weller and Sophomore Alex Michael in 22nd.  Nathan's experience showed, running very consistent, even splits on his legs.  Alex made a statement today.  By running so well, he as solidified himself as a legitimate varsity-level competitor.  He has put in over 500 miles this summer, and it is starting to show in workouts and races.  Junior David Hardy and Freshman Zach Kovach were the next pair across, and the final to figure into the varsity scoring for us today.  David is working back from a nearly year long hiatus from racing and still ran a respectable race.  Kovach really legitimized his placement on the varsity roster by his strong showing.  Tre Bower and Joey Fehrenbach finished out our competitors.  Tre ran really well, and looked to have much quicker feet today, which is something that we have been working on for a couple of weeks.  Joey also has stepped in and really put a lot of effort into his improvement.  His run today was a real challenge for someone relatively new to distance running, and he responded with three miles that would rank among his individual best from his track season.  

An oft-uttered phrase this was "aggressive from the gun."  This meet was certainly a display of that.  Kids really threw it out there and challenged themselves to be in a position early in the race, to be finishing with fast competition.  It is a move that takes a lot of guts, and to see them do it with such gusto was one of the things that makes me proud to coach this team. 
 9/3/14
Mustang Invitational

Boys
1st/9
26-10 (.722)

Girls 
6th/8
5-16 (.238)
 The 2nd Annual Mustang Invitational was moved to Wednesday, after a ton of rain put the course under water on Tuesday.  The kids adjusted, and we saw some really solid performances from a lot of the team today.  

The girls battled through some growing pains that we will experience as developing runners.  No one was out there with a set of fresh legs, and all ran with effort.  What I have seen from this group this year though is a resiliency that leads me to believe that they will come back stronger this Saturday at Martinsville.  Hannah led our girls today, placing third.  I think it was important for her to go out aggressive today, and be in a position to race at the front of a pack.  As with some of our other runners, Hannah will get stronger as her belief in her own ability continues to grow.  She will learn to cover those moves to stay in the competition for the race win.  Celine was a little more willing to get out of her comfort zone today, and still came through with a really strong push in the late stages of the race.  Again, more trust in her ability will be key for her to take the next step forward. Though Audrey struggled today, she helped pull Claire Phillips through her first high school 5K.  Claire will be a nice addition to this years squad and will keep getting better as she develops more endurance and confidence.  Emily Werner was a bright spot for the girls, as she dropped about three minutes from her time a couple of weeks ago, at Terre Haute.  



Michael Gossett and Hank Phillips set the pace for the Mustangs today, spending most of the race being in the top three.  Gossett actually held the lead for a good portion of the race, before the difficulty of the terrain just took its toll as he slipped to 4th by the finish.  He has only just started to round back into running shape, and will continue to get stronger as the season progresses.  A big story for the meet today was Hank Phillips bringing winning the individual title in his senior year for this event. He has worked so hard over the past 7 years.  He is such a quality person, let alone runner, that it is really easy to get excited for him in moments like that. Nathan Weller was able to make a lot of moves in the final 2000 meters to be able to pick up some much needed position.  Him jumping up to 8th after being in 11th or 12th most of the race, was important for us to wrap up the win.  Sophomore Alex Michael continues to improve, though he hasnt quite figured out how to fully trust in his ability yet.  He is still a young runner, and hopefully he will gain more confidence the more races he gets under his belt, because he will be an important piece to this years team.  Another young runner who we will be counting on this season is freshman Zach Kovach.  Zach is such a strong kid, and has a work ethic that will surely see him develop into a legitimately competitive varsity runner moving forward.  David looked a lot better this week than a couple of weeks ago at Terre Haute, so it was good to see him close back up on the top 5.  Senior Tre Bower was our final varsity runner today, and ran a gutsy race, even though he was coming off of an illness.  
 9/6/14
Artesian Classic at Martinsville

Boys
2nd/15
39-11(.780)

Girls 
9th/12
8-24 (.250)    
We finally had some cross country weather on a race day.  Cool, overcast, and drizzly...lets us know that fall racing season is coming around the bend!  The teams looked significe a lot of wantly stronger today than we have so far.  Although signs of progress could be found all through our performances, we also know that we havork to do in the coming weeks, to be a position of contention for WIC.

In the girls race, Hannah Sears again led the way with her 4th place finish, dropping another minute from her previous season best times.  Hannah put herself in contention through the 2000 meters of the race, which is something we had talked about doing coming in.  The move the lead pack made before the 2 mile mark put a little gap on her, that she held until the final 1000 meters, where they put a few more seconds in between them.  Being able to learn from today to cover that move and keep in contention through the 2-mile mark will be a big step moving forward. Celine Hornick took another step closer to regaining form from last season, with what was easily her strongest race this season.  She looked much more in control of her pace today, and made the moves necessary to sneak in under 24:00.  Freshman Claire Phillips also ran her strongest race this season, dropping a couple of minutes off her previous best time, finishing in 24:34, good for 46th place, and putting her solidly in the top half of the field.  Audrey Litten is still learning how to control pace and rhythm, in her search for the form that propelled her to a solid 2013 season.  Today was much closer to the type of race she was used to running last year, and will continue to work to find that one race where the things we see in practice translate over to race day.  Emily Werner is starting to become more consistent with her races, and is  continuing to drop time.  Each race this season, she has dropped time, and today was just about 20 seconds off her PR, which she got last year prior to getting bitten by the injury bug.  She is certainly putting herself in a position to see sub-30minute races in the very near future. Jenni Miller rounded out the girls race today, with another key step.  Jenni is very new to running, really only running with us for a few weeks now and is on a steep learning curve.  She is really still trying to figure out how to control pace across the full 5K so that she can complete the whole thing running the entire time.  What she did today though was, put together a strong final 1000m that helped her drop 5 minutes from her time on Tuesday.  

The boys were coming into today with some high hopes, after finishing 2nd here last season.  They turned in a performance that would see them hold their second place position, finishing behind a very good team small-school powerhouse from Silver Creek.  Though they would undoubtedly have loved to come out with a win, the improvement that this team showed should be something to keep in mind.  Our team score was 11 points lower than last year, showing that our pack is tightening up, and finishing further up the field.  Our boys were led by an outstanding effort from senior Hank Phillips.  Hank was coming in off the win at the Mustang Invitational, and came out today with the mindset that he was going to set a new PR.  He did just that, finishing in 16:40, which is the 13th fastest that any EHS runner has ever posted.  His race was one that took patience, as he was in 13th or 14th position around the first mile.  He remained poised and focused though, and held a steady pace, to eventually overtake all but the eventual race winner (Curk Eckstein of Oldenburg in 15:56).  Not far behind him was running mate Michael Gossett.  He and Hank ran a majority of the first two miles together, and moved up the field in true team fashion.  Gossett's eventual finish of 17:11 was by far his fastest race of the young season, and his 7th place finish was better than either he or Phillips placed at last year's race.  Nathan Weller also earned a spot on the ribbon stand with his 14th place finish, up two spots from last year.  Nathan is a very patient runner, and is still looking for that trust to move earlier in the race.  His splits were once again very even, which is not a bad thing. Even though he was just a few seconds off his PR, he knows that there is a much bigger drop in store once he can find the right mix of aggressiveness from the gun to couple with his patient steady approach.  Sophomore Alex Michael sortof broke out today, dropping his PR from 19:19 to 18:02.  He was a little more aggressive out of the  gate today, and suddenly found himself running a majority of the race within a few seconds of Weller.  We have been talking for a few weeks now, about the importance of closing the gap between our 3, 4, and 5 spots.  Alex certainly did that today, and I am sure that Nathan helped make that happen.  Not to be outdone in the time dropping category, freshman Zach Kovach came in with a 20:28 PR and dropped to 18:43.  Zach is still adjusting to the additional 2K that ccomes with high school racing, but it looks like he is starting to really figure out how to put long stretches of these races together.  Tre Bower came back much stronger today, after battling some illness earlier in the week.  This was Tre's fastest run in quite some time, and definitely his fastest this season.   Today though, showed that his sub-18 goal is now something that we can realistically be talking about as we move into the coming weeks. David Hardy was our final varsity runner today, finishing in 19:59.  This was the third race in a row that he has dropped about 1 minute from his time.  He is a kid that is passionate about running, and has some high goals for himself, and we will continue to look for him to continue his progress as he gets more races under his belt this season.  Nick Trowbridge was in the JV race today, and was looking for a PR run to jumpstart his progress.  He gave a valiant effort, that fell just two seconds shy of a new PR.  The good news in that kind of situation though is that we could easily identify the points in his race where those seconds can come off in the next race, and we will surely see him running in new territory (low 19s) very soon.  

 9/11/14
Clay City Invitational

Boys
1st/9
47-11(.810)

Girls 
4th/9
13-27 (.325)  
 Today was an important piece to our training.  Our kids needed to learn how to race together and both the boys and girls executed the pack strategy better than I have seen them do before.  We always focus on the process, and let the results work themselves out, and today we executed our plan, with some positive results at the end. 

The girls carried a strong pack through the 3K mark, with Hannah doing a really nice job leading them the whole way.  It was a great show of leadership that we need to keep seeing from our top girl.  She held the pack together and on pace, before cutting loose the final mile.  She was 2:20 behind the race leader at the 2mi mark and ended up 1:17 behind by the finish line.  It was a really gutsy way to close a race, and one that will help her find her finishing kick down the stretch in future races.  Celine posted her best time of the season, finishing 9th.  She is starting to see the time drop as she is getting stronger in her training.  Claire had a teriffic run, posting her first race under 24 minutes, good for 15th place.  Audrey also posted her best time of the season in 24:34, good for 20th.  That group of three has really started to train well together, and we are seeing it show up on race day now.  Rounding out our girls today was Emily, who ran just 20 seconds shy of her PR, but showed much more control of her pace through the middle stages of the race.  She is still very young in running years, and is just starting to learn how to adjust her pace during races.  A big highlight was Christina Reinhardt, running in the JV race.  Christina does a fantastic job for us as manager, but has practiced with us a lot.  She gave it a go today, and finished under 35 minutes for the first time ever.  She was just steady the whole race, and saw even splits across the board.  It was a big accomplishment for her to go 34:40.  

The boys also packed up well, with all 7 varsity runners being together at the 1K.  The pack split a little bit by the mile, but nearly all were still right within their target paces.  The lead pack of Phillips, Gossett, Weller, and Michael were really running well together all the way through the 3K mark.  During the final mile of the race, those four really closed the gap on the leaders and continued moving up in the field all the way to the finish.  Tre Bower was a little off the pack at the mile, but he continued to battle back into the mix as the race developed.  He kept gaining needed positions for the team score.  Their places of 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 16th gave us a real solid group coming through.  That was enough for the boys to secure the team victory in the field of 9 teams.  Shakamak has had our number here the past couple of years, and it was real nice to see the guys secure that win today.  Hopefully that will be a boost for us moving forward.   Just off the pace of the lead pack was Zach Kovach.  He had started to get off the pace, but battled back during his final stretch.  He ended up 22nd, which a lot of runners in the field would have been thrilled with.  But Zach has some high goals for his season and knows that he will be in the competition for a scoring varsity spot moving forward.  Finishing in just over 20 minutes was David Hardy, who continues to take steps back to regaining previous form.  Though there was some initial disappointment, he has continued to make steady progress as we have started to get into the heart of the season.  The JV race saw Jayce Lloyd get his first action of the season.  He and Nick Trowbridge came into that race with a goal to go 1-2 in the JV race.  Jayce took off from the gun, and led the entire race.  His tenacity was on full display, as a competitor made a move to catch him, but he held off that surge and continued to pull away the entire race, winning by a large margin.  Nick started off the race in 4th place, and by the mile had worked into a race for 2nd.  Once he made his move to take that position, he continued to pull away to finish off what he and Jayce had set out to accomplish.  

All in all, a really solid day for us and will be an important step in our development. 


 9/13/14
Eagle Classic At Brown County

Boys
6th/19
60-16(.790)

Girls 
10th/16
19-36 (.345)  
 This is always a tricky meet, because there are so many people in the field that it can get bunched up if you start too slow.  The field in all races today was really quick out of the gate, and our kids followed the game plan really well.  

Hannah led the girls today, taking 7th in our division.  It was her fastest race of the season, and yet we can still find spots in the race to shave some time.  She was aggressive from the start and put herself in position to be racing with some fast girls, which is what we wanted to see.  Now that she is starting to get times back down to her previous levels, she should start gaining some more confidence that will see her trust in her ability and training to carry her through the middle stages of the race.  Celine ran an excellent race, and just picked the right spots to make moves.  She was quick out of the gate, yet was still able to continue to pick up positions throughout the race.  She is really starting to hit her stride again, and will be an important piece for us as we move forward.  Claire had another big drop today, finishing in 23:22.  With each race she is gaining more and more confidence.  She has such a competitive drive that has helped Celine and Audrey, as the three of them continue to push each other on a daily basis.  Audry was also on her game today, posting her best time of the season, and is starting to approach new PR territory.  After a start to the season that was a little frustrating for her, it was awesome to see her follow up her Clay City run, with yet another big step that will give her some confidence as we move forward.  A big highlight was Emily Werner, who shattered her previous PR of 30:11, by running 29:13.  We had talked about getting under 30 as a big mental barrier, and it was so cool to see her reach that step in her progression as a runner.  

The boys team was split today, with Zach and Alex running in the Freshman/Sophomore race, while most of the others ran in the varsity race.  Alex came into the race looking to crack 18 for the first time, and put himself in a position to do so.  At the 4K he was still within striking distance of it.  He will be there the next time around, when he knows to just make his move a little earlier in the race.  18 is an important step for our varsity runners, and once he gets that barrier knocked down, I look for him to continue improving.  Zach Kovach bounced back nicely from his previous race, to finish just one second off of his PR.  Zach ran a really even race, and held that pace through his final K.  He is starting to see some consistency in his times, and will certainly keep improving as he gets more race experience. 

In the varsity race, Hank led the way for us in 16:54.  This was his second race in the past two weeks where he has gone under last season's PR.  He is racing through some heavy legs right now, due to training, but is still finding a way to stay real competitive in these races.  Michael Gossett jumped back into the 2nd spot for us today, with one of his typical, aggressive races.  His finish in 17:09 was his best time of the season, and we continue to see him gain a little bit each week.  Nathan Weller dropped about 15 seconds off of his PR with his run today, giving us three guys at or under 1730.  His improvement continues to show, even on a day like today, where he comes off the course identifying areas where he knows he can improve next time out.  He is such a headdy runner, and has a great self-awareness that he can pick those areas of his racing, and will really attack that particular aspect the following week.  Look for good things to keep happening for him.  Tre was 4th for us today, in 18:30, which was a PR for him.  His style is not real aggressive by nature, but he definitely made a decision to move up through the field during the whole race.  He has come such a long way in his four years, and it was awesome to see him set a PR on a day that we really needed him to step up, with Alex and Zach in the other race.  Jayce was in his second race for us this year, and first in a varsity position.  He responded really well and dropped 30 seconds to close to within 9 seconds of his previous PR.  He has overcome some difficulties this year, and I love seeing one of our athletes respond the way that he has.  Nick Trowbridge had somewhat of a breakout race today for us.  He had a previous PR of 19:51, and had been really close a couple of times to matching that mark.  But today, he would not be denied that accomplishment, and blew by it, running 19:24.  At the 4K he was in position to run around a 19:50 again, but he just took off for his final K, including a fantastic finish down the stretch.  David rounded out our varsity runners today, and just keeps seeing steady gains as we progress through the season.  His 19:47 was his fastest time this season, and he has been training under some pretty heavy workloads.  He just keeps chipping away, and inching back into form.  Each race he seems to put a little bit more of the whole race together.  Seth Sears was our only JV runner today.  In his first race back with us, he ended up 22:55, which will give him a real nice starting point to try to work from for his senior year.  

All-in-all, we just keep seeing some positive results, since this group has stayed focused on the process.  Each day in practice and each race, we just strive to do our personal best on that given day.  If we can continue to do that, and bring the intensity to practice that we bring to race day down the stretch of the season, this team will continue to get stronger, from top to bottom.  
 9/20/14
Crawford County Invitational

Boys
4th/28
84-19(.816)

Girls 
16th/23
23-51 (.310)  
 Both teams were down one runner today, yet they set out to accomplish some things to position us for the upcoming stretch run of the season.  There are certainly some things that we know we still have to do to get better, and today we could see some of that taking place.  The format of this race is different than any other we run.  The boys and girls races are split into one race for Freshmen and Sophomores, and a second race for Juniors and Seniors.  The top five times for each team, regardless of which race, are combined for a total team time.  Team rankings are determined by the total time of the top five runners.  

The varsity boys really did an outstanding job today, top to bottom, even without Michael Gossett who has been our number two runner most of the season. Last year our total team time was 1:31:03, good for 4th place out of 26 teams.  This year we came in at 1:31:05, good for 4th out of 28 teams.  The team ran so well that with Michael in the mix, we would have been right at the top with Jasper and Silver Creek, and I would think we would have been likely to win the meet.  As it was, we were once again led by Hank Phillips, who took off with the race leaders, and ran a really aggressive race.  Last year he ran 17:56 (good for 27th overall), and today was 17:06, which put him at 10th place overall.  He has been our lead guy all season, and has shown continued improvement almost every week.  He is really pushing to make the most of his senior campaign, and gives this team a great start to our scoring.  Nathan Weller was in at 17:50, good for 24th overall.  He continues to take a step forward each meet, and today was no different.  His performance was 28 seconds and 13 places ahead of last years race.  He still is learning to trust in his ability, but responded really well today, with the mantle of our number two runner on his shoulders.  Sophomore Alex Michael continues to impress with his weekly improvement.  Not only did he finish just 7 seconds off of his PR, on a course that typically runs about 30 seconds slower than the one he set his PR on, he dropped 1:23 from last year, and moved up in the rankings an incredible 65 spots (100 to 35)!  He is so much stronger this year, and yet we still see areas to continue to improve.  He approaches his running with such a focus and sense of responsibility, that we are looking forward to seeing him continue to improve down the stretch.  In only his third race this season, Jayce Lloyd has started to solidify himself as one of our varsity guys.  His time of 18:50 today was his fastest race of the season, and was more than a minute ahead of his time here last season.  It was easily the best race I have seen him run in his four years.  There was a clear sense of determination in his racing today, as he was actually racing, rather than running a race. He is going to be a big factor for us, but needs to continue to bring the kind of intensity and focus he has started to dial into in recent weeks. Our final scoring runner today was Freshman Zach Kovach.  In his first trip through this course, he was faster than any freshman Mustang at the 2013 race.  As with the four ahead of him, he is still improving.  It seems like each week he adds a little bit more to his racing knowledge, and is gearing up for an important push these final weeks.  Tre Bower and David Hardy were our six and seven runners today.  Tre is working really hard to keep himself in that varsity lineup, and with that race, he stays right on Kovach's heels.  David is getting stronger by the week, after a significant layoff that started with him nursing some health issues at the end of the 2013 season.  Last week at Brown County was his best race of the season, and he ran even better today, finishing about 15 seconds off of that time.  Each week he gets a little closer to the runner we started to see him develop into during his first two seasons. All the boys know that they have to keep improving, if they are to accomplish some of the goals they have set for this year.

Our girls were also without one of our usual varsity runners, as Audrey was home resting with a flu bug.  The others came in with some things they needed to accomplish, which started with their start.  We needed to see a more aggressive race plan today, and all of them did that.  We were much faster at the mile, as a team, than we have been in previous weeks, and that put us in position to be racing with faster competitors as the race wore on.  Hannah put down her best race of the season today.  She was just 23 seconds off the winning time, which was closer than she has been all season to the eventual race winner, Makenzie Crouch from Silver Creek.  As the race wore on, she held a strong pace and continued to push the final mile, to hold on to 3rd place in the Junior Senior race (4th overall).  Hannah is training really well and is running through some tough training right now, and is going to continue to get stronger as we go.  The more she believes in herself and her training, we will see it continue to take shape on race day.  Celine Hornick is continuing to round into solid form now, after a slower than expected start to the season.  Look for her tenacity to continue to drive her forward.  The third runner today was freshman Claire Phillips, who just gets better each race.  She has come such a long way in just four weeks (she was over 28:00 her first race), and brings such effort to her workouts, that she will no doubt continue to see improvement as she gets more experienced. Emily Werner was our number 4 today, with Audrey out.  She was faster at the two-mile than at Martinsville, and she was able to hang on for a race time that surpassed her 2013 best time.  She is still just now figuring out how to actually race, and is showing more competitive drive as she starts to see some more success.  Jenni Miller made her first race her a memorable one, completing the race in 31:49 to establish a new PR.  Equally as important though, was that this was her first race that she has completed the entire 5000 meters without any walk breaks.  She has come a long, long way since the start of this season, and is starting to see some of the rewards for sticking it out, when that did not always look like it would be the case.  The girls could have easily been in top ten contention with a full lineup.  Even though they were running better, we know that the improvements need to come during these final weeks of the season.  

The teams next compete in their final home meet of the season on Tuesday, as we host Owen Valley in a dual meet. 
 9/23/14
Home vs. OV

Boys
1st/2
85-19(.817)

Girls 
1st/2
24-51 (.320)  
 Senior night was a success, as the teams closed out our home meets with a double-win over Owen Valley.  The girls edged the Patriots 27-29, while the boys took 6 of the top 7 spots to pull away 17-44.  Hannah Sears and Hank Phillips also secured the individual wins, by leading their respective races wire-to-wire to lead their teams to victory in their last home meet of the season.  

The pace of the girls race was set by Sears, who set out to win the race, and spent a majority of the race out in front by a large margin.  She had a good lead at the mile, then made a surge as she approached the 2K that widened the gap and continued to grow from there.  After a start to her season that was frustrating at times, she is starting to round into shape at the right time.  She has such high expectations, coming off a fantastic 2013 season, but each of the past few weeks, she has gotten closer to her previous marks...and doing so under much heavier training.  Getting a win today will hopefully be a boost for her as we prepare for the stretch run towards WIC and the state series. Claire Phillips and Celine Hornick were huge for us today, taking 3rd and 4th respectively.  They worked really well together, pushing and pulling each other all the way.  The moves they made to pass OV's number 3 and number 2 runners were critical to get the win.  Had one of them gone, but not the other, the team results would have finished in OV's favor.  We welcome Audrey back to our lineup today, after a bout with a flu bug.  She was definitely still feeling week from the past few days, but it was good for her to get a race under her belt before we head to BNL this weekend.  Emily Werner ran her fastest race on our course, by almost four minutes today!  As we have seen all season, she is more healthy than she was last season, and has been able to train much more consistently.  We are continuing to see her progress.  Jenni Miller was our final girl tonight, and she was almost 5 minutes faster than her race here earlier in the season.  She is still very new to running, and is really only just beginning to learn to control pace and work the entire 5000 meters.  

The boys race was highlighted by senior Hank Phillips, setting a new mark for an EHS runner.  The previous fastest time by a Mustang on our course was Michael Gossett in 2013 (17:44).  Hank pulled away with the race today in 17:17, running the entire thing from the lead.   On a course that typically sees times about a minute slower than some of the faster courses we face, that run by himself shows that he is positioning himself nicely for a run through WIC and the IHSAA state-series.   Without senior Michael Gossett (still recovering from wisdom teeth), Nathan Weller stepped up big time as our number two today. Weller continues to improve, as he posted his 5th consecutive race under 18:00, and again, the difficulty of the course has to be taken into consideration.  To do that on this course, really is a mark of his continued improvement.  Sophomore Alex Michael was right with Nathan for a good chunk of the race.  This is now his 5th race in a row, at or below 18:30.  Given his dedication and ability, it is only a matter of time before he starts seeing times regularly in the 17s.  He ran with some confidence today, and that is going to be a big factor for him as we get towards WIC and the state series. Hank, Nathan, and Alex taking 1-3 today really set a tone for the others.  OV's Jacob Staley was 4th, breaking up a potential sweep of the meet.  Not far behind him though was our next pack of Tre Bower, Zach Kovach, and Jayce Lloyd in 5th, 6th, and 7th.  Jayce was really important for the other two, as he led that group through the first half of the race.  When he made a move to pass, they responded and went with him. Them finishing within 12 seconds of each other was another sign that this pack is learning how to work well together in races.  We are only as strong as our weakest link and need to continue to see that group not only race together, but close up on the front four, for sure.  Tre was really impressive with his ability to get back into the race, after Zach and Jayce started to pull ahead.  Him making his move before the 1K mark to close back up with them was undeniably an important turning point for him.  Once he was back with them, he picked up the slack that Jayce had been pulling for the first half.  It was really a case of two seniors, pulling their freshman counterpart through that race.  Joey Fehrenbach was another senior in today's race.  He has just joined us this season for the first time, and closed out his races here with a new PR (22:14).  The only regret with Joey joining us this season, is that it didnt happen sooner.  He really still hasn't had the full time to fully develop as a runner, yet he still is able to make progress and be a positive contributor to our team dynamic.  Seth Sears was our final senior competing today.  It has been good to see him get back out with us, and being able to compete for the last few weeks.  Kalem Tatem was our final competitor on the day.  His time of 25:09 was more than a minute faster than any of his previous attempts on our challenging course.  Hopefully he continues to see his own goals coming into reach as he will be back with us for the remainder of the season.  

I was really proud of our athletes today.  We have a great group of seniors, who have contributed so very much to this program.  I can not even begin to count the hours, the miles, the buckets of sweat, the shared moments of joy, and the goals surpassed that this group has given to us over the past four years.  Though our season is not done yet, it was a little difficult to face the reality that this would be their last time donning the Edgewood jersey, on their home course.  We are glad to send them out with a win, but even more importantly, we are glad to see them develop into outstanding young men and women, who are undoubtedly going to go on and be successful in their lives after high school.
 9/27/14
Ted Fox Memorial @ BNL

Boys
7th/25
103-25(.805)

Girls 
12th/19
31-62 (.333)  
The girls had a mixed bag today, as far as results go.  Hannah finished the race today with an ankle that was bothering her, and will get that checked out early in the week. She is just hitting her stride again, and starting to see it come together.  Audrey got another race under her belt after being off for a few days with an illness.  Emily was also feeling under the weather.  On the bright side, the girls placed 12th as a team, which is really pretty good considering that Hannah was slowed up a bit and Emily was out.  That only happens because the others stepped up today.  Celine keeps fighting and clawing her way into the 22s.  This is her third race in the last 4 weeks of at or under 23 minutes.  She got off to a bit of a slower start to the season, but has such a competitive drive that she started to.turn a corner over the past few weeks. The big drop of the day though goes to Claire Phillips.  She ran such a gutsy race today, that she obliterated her previous PR by more than 1:00.  She has been such a nice addition to things this season, and she is really going to be a factor for us moving forward.  

 Today was the strongest team performance we have had at this meet, in my six years as coach.  Not only did the boys place 7th, which is higher than any team during that time, but we were only 5 points off of 5th place.  5 points is such a slim margin in a race this size, that 10 seconds of total team time dropped could easily cover the difference.  A big takeaway is that this team is hungry.  While proud of their effort, many on our team still came away knowing that they are still getting stronger.  There is a true sense right now that this team is still improving.  

Our 1 through 6 runners had a gap of only 1:40 today...the closest margin this season, by more than 20 seconds.  Hank led the boys again today, with a real solid run of 16:47, which put him in 14th place.  Once again, he and Michael Gossett set the pace for our team through the first mile.  Hank has been faster at almost all meets this season and continued that trend today. Michael turned in arguably his strongest run of the season, in his first race back after being out for a week.  With him running strong, this whole team is stronger because Weller and Alex are striving to close that gap.   Nathan is such a steady, conservative runner, and he just keeps chipping a way.  He just looks more and more confident each week out.  The same could be said about Alex Michael's continued improvement.  He really had a breakout race today, setting a new PR by almost 30 seconds, and broke 18 for the first time ever.  It was real exciting to see him take it to the race like he did today, and make the decision to hang with Weller.    All season long, we have seen him getting stronger.  Now, all those miles he put in over the summer are starting to pay dividends.  We also got big races from Tre Bower (18:27) and Zach Kovach (18:30) today, who ended up 5th and 6th for us.   Tre really bounced back from a start that set him back a bit.  It would have been real easy to settle into a pace at that point, but Tre made a decision to move early enough in the race to get back into the thick of things.  Zach keeps running better and better, as he has become more comfortable with the 5K distance as the season has progressed.  It was not that long ago that he was shocked when we laid out a target of 19:00.  He has a real competitive drive that just keeps propelling him forward.  
  9/30/14
Monroe County Meet @ IU

Boys
3rd/3
103-28(.786)

Girls 
No Team Score
31-62 (.333)  
 The Monroe County Meet comes at a strange time in our schedule.  Just coming in from a big race at BNL on three days ago, and with WIC coming up later this week,  we have to be mindful that we really have to prepare for Saturday.  Today is a chance for us to fine tune some things before that race though, and we needed to see some stronger finishes from our team.  We have done really well getting out early, but we need to continue to become better closers.  A more conservative start today, was in order, to make sure we were able to feel that happen.  

Now officially without Hannah for the remiander of the season, the girls are down to five potential runners, and had two others out today.  Celine, Claire, and Audrey toed the line for us today, and each had something they needed to take away from today.  We saw a real smart start and much stronger finishing kicks from each of them.  The times are a bit off since this is a pretty challenging course, but the stronger finish was a key point today.  We will see how that plays out, as we prepare for Saturday.  

For the boys, it was much the same.  We are simply fine tuning some things to go into Saturday ready to rock.   Hank led the way, with Gossett, Weller, Michael, Kovach and Tre working together through the first 2000m.  The middle segment of the race was really geared toward setting up for a strong final K, including a more aggressive finish kick, that we know we are going to need on Saturday.  As with the girls, the boys all were finishing much stronger today than we have seen in some previous races.  While there may not be a lot of individual accolades on a day like today, we certainly accomplished some things that we needed to, to prepare for some things down the stretch. 


  10/4/14
Western Indiana Conference Championship @ West Vigo

Boys
1st/6
108-25(.812)

Girls 
No Team Score
31-62 (.333)  
 Boys Team is 2014 W.I.C. Champions!!
What an incredible day for racing.  Cross country in October can be exhilarating.  The course was soggy, the air was cold, and the breeze kept the chill on the air. The boys were able to harness that excitement at the line, before the gun goes off.  That anticipation that builds as you stand there breathing in the crisp air, with your heart pounding in your ears.  From the gun, the Mustangs set out on a mission today.  We set out to run with a kind of passion that would honor the gifts that God has blessed us with.  Our own ability will not be enough to sustain us through an entire race like that though, and certainly this group ran with the kind of effort that was for something beyond themselves.  A time on a clock will fade into our memory's recesses, but the kind of passion they ran with today will certainly stick with them.  Each one of our runners today put it out there and took a risk early.  They then followed it up by running for one another and to honor their gifts, which resulted in their most complete team race this season.  Overall, it was a fantastic day for the Mustangs.  To send our seniors out of their WIC races with a championship is a tribute to their leadership within this team, and the respect that their teammates have for them.  

Hank set the tone by going out with race leader, and State finalist hopeful Cam Trout of Northview.   He and Gossett set the pace for our team today through the first loop of the three loop course, with Nathan Weller in tow.  As the race opened up a bit in the second loop, Hank had slipped to a race for second with fellow senior, Johah Eckert of host West Vigo, on  his home course.  For a little bit, Eckert took second place, dropping Hank to third.  But calling on some strength that was still in reserve, Hank pulled in front of Jonah and closed on the race leader, to finish within 13 seconds of Trout.  That is the closest all season Hank has come to Cam, and it came at a great time for us.  Not only for today, but moving forward to the state series, Hank needs to know that he is capable of racing with that caliber of runner.  Coming back to finish his race strong like that really sets a tone for him and the team as we head toward Sectional next Saturday at BNL.  Weller ran another of his steady, solid races today.  The big difference was that he was solid and steady, with the front pack.  He ended up posting a very good time of 17:49 to take fourth.  Looking at times across the board, and seeing that they are about 45 to 60 seconds slower than this field might have been under better conditions and on a more open course, he looks to be in a good position to be searching for that sub-17 run we know is in him.  Gossett was right in the thick of things through the first loop and really held strong as Weller overtook the 4th position.  For a minute, during the second loop, it appeared as though he might slip back to the pack behind him, but he called on his race experience as a senior and pulled away from the pack again, to close with a strong final loop, securing a top 5 spot...the third for the Mustangs on the day.  Alex Michael continued to show his mettle with a really strong run, that ended up with him just missing the final all-conference spot by two seconds.  His time of 18:32 on this course sets him up nicely going into the Sectional next week.  Two seconds behind him was senior Tre Bower, in 12th.  This was without a doubt the best race Tre has ever run.  Typically a very conservative starter, Tre took a risk today by getting out of his comfort zone and racing from the gun.  We have seen steady improvement from him all season long.  To close out his WIC runs with that kind of performance was such a cool thing to see happen.  He has poured so much into this team over the past four years.  Really cool to see him be the final scoring runner for a championship team.   Freshman Zach Kovach was the 2nd fastest freshman in the field today (Brown County's Wyatt Wyman was 6th overall with a time of 18:23).  Zach's posted time of 18:59 was faster than his season average, and his 4th race under 19 minutes this season.  He has gotten accustomed to racing with Tre and Jayce over the past few weeks.  Once Tre took off like he did Zach had to pace through this race in a position that he has never been in.  That experience will pay off down the road, as we will need him to continue to push for that sub-18 kind of race.  As mentioned before, the course ran sorta slow today, and under better conditions, today's effort might have been just that.  Jayce Lloyd wrapped up our final varsity runner spot, taking 31st.  Slowed up by a tweaked ankle for most of the race, Jayce still continued to show a lot of grit to work into a good rhythm, and actually finished ahead of some other teams'  scoring runners.  Our JV runners today were David Hardy, Nick Trowbridge, and Kalem Tatem.  All three of those guys also had terrific races.  Davids time of 20:27 would have placed him just behind Jayce, as would Nicks 20:33.  These two have worked really hard this season to put some pressure on our #5-7 runners.  Them closing up on the varsity guys, has really pushed those last few spots ahead to really position the team for the stretch run.  Junior Kalem Tatem ran  our teams lone PR today.  His time of 23:45 placed him ahead of six others in the race, and beat his previous best by 55 seconds.  Again, under these conditions that was a phenomenal step for him.  


The girls were shorthanded today, having only four at the start.  I challenged the girls to go out with aggressiveness, and to race with a passion.  To set out on a mission to each accomplish something that will move them, and the team forward in the future.  Freshman Claire Phillips took on that challenge as our lead runner today.  She used a fast start and the majority of the first loop to position herself for an all-conference spot, sitting in 9th at the start of the 2nd loop.  By the time she came out of the woods to start her final loop, she was in 8th and moving up to 7th.  Once she claimed that 7th spot, she was no going to slip back.  Brown County's Rose Guingrich closed in a hurry, before a surge by Claire opened the gap back up and secured her 7th place finish.  22:26 is a really good time on this course today, and the pack of girls that she was racing with consisted of one sophomore and two seniors.  To hang with them like that took a lot of tenacity, something that Claire has a lot of.  Celine Hornick ran another fine race, overcoming a hurdle in the second loop, as the top 10 pack started to break away.  It would have been real easy to just fall back and continue to drop places from that point.  Celine actually ran a race that would probably placed her in the top 10 last season, but the depth of the girls race this year was just far greater than it was last season, with the addition of some really strong freshmen to the field. Audrey Litten had a bit of a bounce back race.  Not only did she post her best time in a few weeks (under less than ideal conditions), but she bounced back during the race.  The second loop looked like she might have been ready to check out, but she dug in, renewed her push and worked herself back into race mode, picking up a couple of spots during the last mile.  Emily Werner was our final girl out today, and she also had to fight through some doubts that had crept in mid-race.  She continued to fight though, and was able to muster enough of a push to post her 3rd fastest time of the season.  This was even faster than on a course like Martinsville, which is about as flat and fast as they come.  These four are going to be important for the future of Edgewood Lady Mustangs XC, and we definitely came away with some positives to take with us into that future.  
   10/11/14
IHSAA Sectionals @ BNL

Boys
3rd/10
115-27(.810)

Girls 
No Team Score
31-62 (.333)  
BOYS QUALIFY FOR REGIONALS AS TEAM, WITH SOLID 3RD PLACE FINISH.
CLAIRE AND CELINE QUALIFY FOR REGIONALS AS INDIVIDUALS

 Quick summary of the day:  Kids were positive and focused. They came into today's meet with a set of goals in mind, and attacked them with a purpose.  It will be an exciting week as we prepare for Regionals next Saturday at BNL.

Again, the boys came into the meet with a target, and to a man, did what they needed to do, which was continue to race better.  We know at this point it is not about pace so much as it is about place, and our varsity boys held onto that idea.  Hank and Michael gave us a nice 1-2 punch today.  With a start that was incredibly fast, those two initially saw themselves further back in the pack than we would have thought, but they did not panic at all.  The senior leadership showed,  as they stayed calm, worked extremely well racing together, and started picking up spots as they approached the first K.  The two of them moved up through the field steadily over the next 3000m, positioning themselves nicely for the final K.  With about 400 to go, Gosset was 10th and Hank was 12th.  Gossett held a strong push through the finish, as Hank pulled out an incredible burst to jump up to the 7th overall spot.  Those guys were 10th and 20th last year at this race, so the signs of their continued development continued today.  They are racing with some quality, quality kids at the front of that pack, and are starting to assert themselves as legitimate contenders to be among that group.   It will be important for us to have them continue to develop that mentality as we head back to BNL for Regionals next Saturday.  Nathan Weller once again, took some steps forward as he solidified our number thee spot today.  Nathan took a few more seconds off his PR, which was previously set here a couple of weeks ago.  The conditions today were a little bit softer footing than that race, and the time drop doesn't really reflect the true improvement in the way he raced.  Nathan knows though that  he still has some things that he can improve on, which he will no doubt continue to do.  I've said it a hundred times and I'll say it again, that he is such a steady, consistent person, that there is not a doubt in my mind that he is going to continue that steady, consistent improvement with his racing.  Our number four today was Alex Michael, who broke 18 for the second time.  He needed that run today to gain some confidence that the first time he did it a few weeks back, was not a one-time thing.  Now, we know that he can do it again, and his bar has been raised from where it was at the start of the season.  Tre ran an excellent race for us for the second week in a row now, and is starting to approach the territory where we can envision him getting under 18.  We have seen him put in the work over the past four years, and is now starting to learn how to apply all of that work in a race setting.  He was really big for us today, shoring up our team score.  Jayce and Zach were our final two competitors today.  Jayce had run 7th for us the past couple of meets, and was really hungry to close up on our #5 today.  He called on his experience as a senior and turned in his best race of the season.  Not only was it his fastest time of the season, but it was his best, most complete race.  We know that the tight races may come down to a 6th man, and having him starting to race more aggressively is certainly going to be a boost for us heading into Regional.  Zach was able to overcome some of the pre-race jitters that might be expected with a freshman in a varsity race in the state series, and was able to post a time in the 18s.  He has an incredible work ethic, which has helped him work through some really tough stretches of races, to keep himself in the mix as one of our legitimate varsity runners. Hats off to the boys for showing up and running with a purpose today.  We thank God for the opportunity to do what we do, and for the strength to do it at the level that these guys are doing it right now. 

The girls were coming into the meet knowing that they did not have a full team to score, but they were all positive and focused on the goals that they each had before them.  We knew that we had a shot to get some girls through this meet, to Regionals, and that we had a chance to run much stronger than we did here a few weeks ago.  Claire led our girls today with an incredibly smooth race.  She is still continuing to develop as a runner, but she just has a motor that wont quit.  Today was really the first race where she looked like she was starting to get in control of her form a little more, and was running much more smoothly.  21:46 was another PR for her, and being more in control of her mechanics is a big part of her drop in time today. Celine has just kept fighting though this season, to round back into racing form that she had experienced as a freshman.  Her race today was another sign that she is starting to get back closer to what she felt like she might be able to accomplish, coming into the season.   I was real excited for her, that she will get another crack at it next week for the Regional meet. When she comes into next week a little more rested, I think she is going to be positioned for a real strong race.  Audrey was third for us today, and also looked much stronger than a couple of weeks ago.  She got sick a couple of weeks ago, and has been slowly coming back into racing shape.  She looked like she had much more pep in her step today.  She was able to come back during the final mile, and really finish her race well, which was something we were not seeing in a few races during the middle of the season.   Emily was our final runner today, and went under 30 for only the second time ever.  For her, it was really exciting, because she had to drop out of the race her a couple of weeks ago.  She came into today really focused on making it through the whole race, but then once she saw that she had a sub-30 run in sight, she was able to get back into the race pace for a strong final mile and especially final 1K.  For her and Audrey, I was glad to see them finish their season with a race that they felt better about.  I told all of the girls immediately after the race, that even though I didnt know what their finishing times were, I could tell that it was the best race I had seen them run in quite some time.  They just seemed much more positive and focused before the race, and took that with them through the 5000 meters.  

Our season is not done yet.  We still have things to work on and aspects of our racing to improve upon, as we get ready for the Regional meet next week.  But knowing what I know of this group, we are going to have a blast getting ready for it.  Exciting times for Edgewood XC!
  10/18/14
IHSAA Regionals @ BNL

Boys
6th/10
119-32(.788)

Girls 
No Team Score
31-62 (.333)  
 Today was one of the toughest days of our season, as it saw our team's run come to an end.  Congratulations are in order for Michael Gossett, Hank Phillips, and Nathan Weller for advancing as individuals to the Semi-State meet next Saturday at Brown County.  These three are very competitive individuals, and did what was necessary to extend their season.  Knowing them as well as I do though, I know that the three of them certainly would like to have another crack at this race since they each know they can run better than we did today.  What gives me optimism about their preparations for next week's Semi-State race though, is that exact idea.  These three will most certainly be focused and ready to go, and will go into the race with the knowledge that these guys dont make a habit of back to back races like we had today.  These three have been such excellent leaders for this team, and have sacrificed so much for the team.  It is evident by their actions that they are not out there only for their own personal accolades.   They were truly putting their best effort out there, in practice and on meet day, in order to make their whole team better.  So though we are really excited for these three, it is admittedly tempered a bit by the team results.  Simply put, the team did not advance when we knew that was a very real possibility.  Unfortunately, we did not run the kind of race that we were capable of running, and the bad timing of that race for us led to our season coming to an end.  This is a run that was really tough to watch unfold, because we knew coming into the day, that not only did we have a chance to advance to semi-state, but we had the team that compete for as high as a fourth place finish.  Interestingly, had we simply run the race we did at last week's sectionals (which by the way was not our "best", most complete race as a team), we would have placed in fifth, just five points off of the fourth place finisher of Terre Haute North.  As it stands though, we must tip our hats to the boys of Eastern (Pekin) for turning in a great effort, to take the fifth and final qualifying spot by five points.  

All season long, we have seen a greater level of success than previous seasons because we have just focused on handling our business, and letting the results take care of themselves.  Today, we simply did not handle our business in the way we have become accustomed to. The success we have seen this season has been because of the total team effort that this group has brought on a daily basis.  We have won as a team, have grown as a team, and unfortunately on this day we fell short as as team.  That is not to say that our boys were not giving the same effort we have seen this season.  Rather, there seemed to be a certain edge missing, mentally, as we started our race.  It appeared that within the first mile, there were some of our guys that were struggling to maintain position.  They continued to fight, pouring everything they had into the final couple of miles in an attempt to regroup.  Michael really maintained focus and tried to hang on to the pace.  Hank made a mad dash during the final 1000m to get back after the pack and gain position.  Weller continued to race the pack of runners he was in, all the way through the chute.  Alex and Zach were in some pain by the final mile, but kept trying to close the gap on the guys directly in front of them.  Tre just kept trying to break out his the pace he had fallen into.  But the position we put ourselves in during the first two miles was just too much to overcome.  

I have asked the boys a million times, "was that your best effort that you could bring on this day?"  I am proud that this team has been able to consistently, honestly answer "yes."   That has been the crux of our continual improvement this season.  That is the reason that this group who had looked like they had no realistic shot at WIC or advancing beyond Sectional back at the start of August, started to slowly see the bar raised.  They continued to push to new boundaries, and more and more started to see the possibility of not only competing at WIC, but winning it.  They saw the possibility go from, "Can we get out of Sectionals, to can we make it to Semi-State?"  Those were honestly not conversations we were having in August, but as they got better and better, we put ourselves in a position that those things were realistic goals to start shooting for.  This sport always has been, and always will be, about continued improvement from where you stand personally.  18:40 runners are trying to get to 18 minutes.  17:20 runners are trying to get under 17 minutes.  That idea that we, as people fulfill our life's purpose, by continually take stock in where we stand and finding ways to keep advancing forward.  That lesson that these young men experienced throughout this run, are going to be an important lesson that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  Though the initial pain of the loss stings...a lot!...it is important to maintain a proper perspective.  These young men are not only running for a singular, Saturday race.  They committed their efforts to the idea of giving their personal best, in order to make the team around them more successful.  That, more than anything is the lesson that is going to help these young men grown into outstanding adults.  

Celine and Claire came into the race also with the possibility of advancing as individuals on the line.  The girls have been bolstered this season by the addition of Phillips to the lineup, as she and Celine have seen their consistent  work ethic and effort pay off.  These two have had an incredible positive attitude, and have made it routine to give it their best effort each day out.  Claire went out and tried to hang in the group that she knew would be in competition for the individual advancing spots. She is a fighter, and her tenacity was on display today, as she just kept trying to inch closer to those final few spots during the final mile.  She ended 36th overall, and was 13th of those eligible to advance as individuals, missing the final spot by about 10 seconds.  She came such a long way from her first meet of the season.  When she started, she was coming into it with uncertainty about whether she would even be able to finish a 5K race without walking...and on some of the early days, she probably wanted to! But she was never deterred, and just kept trying to get better each day, which is what we ask of all our kids.  Her partner in the race today was fellow tough-nosed runner Celine Hornick.  Celine had come through some tough stretches this season, and had earned the trip here after it looked like it might not have always been a possibility.  There were times this season where it looked like she might be taking some steps backwards, but she was determined to see it through to the finish and kept showing signs of returning to form.  Making it to the Regional meet for the second year in a row, was a bit of confirmation for her that she is still progressing as a runner.  For her and Celine, we know that this will be an important experience for them to be able to build on that, not only for the spring track season, but for next fall.  The girls and I have talked about the importance of working this season to develop a situation where this team can be competitive for years to come, and having Claire and Celine take these steps this season is an important piece to that.  

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