Past Seasons' Results‎ > ‎2015‎ > ‎

'15 Team

 Meet InfoMeet Notes and Details 
Early Bird Meet at Terre Haute

9-8 (.529)

7-6 (.538)
 Much better start to the season than a year ago. Across the board, our teams ran well and accomplished what we were hoping to see from this first meet.  All returning members ran MUCH faster times than a year ago, and our strong group of freshmen really showed up and started their high school racing careers off well.  Both teams were challenged to fight the initial urge of the first-meet adrenaline, and to approach the first K in a controlled manner, then move strong as the race unfolded.   

The boys were led by Alex Michael and Nathan Weller today, which was really not much of a surprise.  These two have had a really solid summer, being very consistent with their miles and their overall training.  Throughout the first four kilometers, the two were separated by no more than five or six seconds, with Alex making a really strong kick in the finish to end up leading our group into the finish chute.  Their finishing times of 17:47 and 17:59 were 2:00 and 1:30 faster than a year ago, a sign that the summer they have put in has positioned them to have a strong season as our 1-2.  Freshman Austin Haskett really asserted himself early and did a great job continuing to pick people off during the final 2 Ks.  His mark of 18:28 was easily one of the better times for an EHS freshman we have on record, and came on a course that is not typically known for fast times. Zach Kovach started his sophomore season about 1:30 faster than his freshman campaign, which turned into a nice foundation for him.  We will be leaning on him heavily to continue to improve, as he has already shown a tendency toward in his year-plus with the program.  Cameron Banister was our final scoring runner today, coming in at 19:19,  a mark that would have put him as our #3 at this meet last season.  I will definitely be excited to see what he does as he gets some more experience with the 5K distance.  Fellow freshman Logan Koos was our final boy competing today, and also had a great effort, particularly in the final K.  I could tell by the way that he finished that he was still a little uncertain in his ability during the middle stages (which is typical of a young runner), but I loved the fact that he came back so strong for his last K.  That is a positive sign for him, that he will definitely be stronger as he starts to learn to put a complete race together. 

The girls team has been typified by a relentless toughness that has shown up time and again throughout our summer training.  That toughness was our mark today as well.  One went out a little quicker than I expected, but really held on very well; three went out right as expected, then continued to move up the field as the race unfolded.  And two worked themselves to a point in the race where they needed to just know they could complete the full race, and found the finish they each needed to see, for confidence in their ability moving forward.  Paige started her high school career off with a strong performance to lead us to the finish line today.  The time at the 1K was a little quicker than we had anticipated, which is a little worrisome as they first come through.  But she handled it beautifully, choosing the right spots on the course to make her moves and keep on her pace.  It really was a race that was run much more mature than a lot of freshman could have handled.  Kaylee, Claire and Celine all executed a race plan about as good as we could have expected, and ended up finishing within about 20 seconds of each other.  All three were quick but controlled at the 1K, then moved up the field as the race unfolded.  It really started to show around the half way mark, as the three of them started passing more girls in the second half of the race, eventually ending up with their final K being one of their fastest.  Audrey and Emily have just recently started to see some more consistency with their training, as we have gotten back to school, and both are starting to see some stronger workouts throughout the week.  They both needed to see a full 5K today, where they knew that they could hold up to the challenge of the full distance.  Now that they know they can do that, we begin the work of building on it to start seeing them gain more confidence in their ability on race day.  
Danville Hokem Karem

15-18 (.454)

No Team Score

This meet just provides a nice change of pace for some of our veteran runners, and gives some of our younger runners a chance to work on some things.  After the first 5K for some of these guys/girls, it is good to be able to get this format where we can focus in on the miles one at a time.  They still run the full distance, but will be able to reset in between.  Wouldnt want to race like this every week, but for one meet early in the season it is a nice change.  

Mustang Invitational

24-20 (.546)

No Team Score

 In the third year of our Invitational, we added a 12th team to the mix, and we knew this would be a competitive meet.  That is exactly what we saw.  In the girls race, only 12 points separated the top four teams, and 20 separated the top three in the boys race.  Our boys were led by junior Alex Michael in 7th and freshman Austin Haskett in 9th.  Both were pretty aggressive, with Alex holding the lead during the first mile.  He is the kind of athlete that is looking to continually challenge himself to experience new breakthroughs.  Going out with a quality field and trying to race from the front was important for his development as a runner.  Of course we need to learn to find the right balance of pushing and pacing, but certainly we like to see the confidence that he is starting to show. The fast start caught up with him though and he slid back during the middle stages of the race, but Alex showed toughness down the stretch as he fought back to gain some positions during the final half mile. Austin is racing with some competitive drive that is going to be good for this team.  As he has started to get more consistent with is training the final weeks of the summer, we have seen it carry over to the start of the season.  Fellow freshman Cameron banister also had a nice race.  In only his second 5K he was still trying to find the proper pacing though.  This is something that he will continue to work on, but he has a strong base to go on right now, and is a competitive kid so we know that the times will drop as he starts to figure out how to put a full race together. Nathan Weller seemed to be feeling the effects of a tough week and a long summer.  Today was just an off day for him, but he has the ability to see things long-term, which will help him bounce back in the coming meets. Zach and Logan both seemed to struggle a bit today as well, but the positive thing to take out of it is that they could both immediately identify the reasons for the setback today, which is a sign of maturity as runners.  Both kids have been really focused on getting stronger each week, so the experience today will definitely help with that. 

The girls were shorthanded today, having only four runners step up to the starting line.  All four though, took major steps forward.  Kaylee Meyer and Paige able both stayed competitive throughout the race, finishing 6th and 7th respectively, against a quality field of runners. As they have done since Junior High, the two worked well as a pair, and were able to pull and push one another through the tougher portions of the race today.  For a pair of freshmen to be in their second 5K, it is invaluable to have that comfort level of being right with their teammate as the race unfolds.  Celine Hornick continues to improve over where she was a year ago.  Her race today was more than a minute and a half faster than last season.  But even more important than the time, was that her form and attack mentality has started to look more like what we know she can do.  She ran a smart race today, and was able to pick up position down the stretch of the race, running a very stong last mile to finish her day.  Audrey has also started to recently see some signs of progress, as her training has become more consistent and she has started to develop some strength.  After battling through some injury early in the summer, she is starting to get stronger with each week and her race today was reflective of that, finishing more than a minute faster than this race a year ago.  All in all, a good sign for these four girls.  
Artesian Classic at Martinsville

33-25 (.569)

No Team Score

The race at Martinsville is always one that is a challenge meet.  For some reason it seems like it is usually pretty hot, the course is all out in the sun, yet the kids seem to do pretty well on the flat course.  This race is different than our first two though, because the field is so large, and the course is so flat, that if they do not get out quick enough, they can easily be out of contention.  So this race we knew we needed to see some faster first miles, then some fight to hold through the second.  The third mile is all about holding on, but we needed to see our guys and girls holding on to some higher positions by running strong from the gun.  

The boys were led by Nathan Wellers strong bounce-back race, where he took 8th place in a field of over 100 runners.  His time of 17:10 was a new PR, and was more reflective of the work he has put in than his race on Tuesday.  It was good to see him stick to the gameplan and go out more confidently to put himself in the race, and then held strong even gaining position during the second half of the race.  Freshman Austin Haskett continues to assert himself into the mix.  He was 15th today with a time of 17:31, which places him as the 5th fastest freshman boy we have had since we have kept track of those records (1996).  He is definitely showing that this is something that he is going to be competitive at, and we are starting to see some hunger that is showing up now that we are getting into the heart of the racing season.   Alex Michael finished our award winners today with a 22nd place finish. His time of 17:58 gives us our first trio under 18 minutes this year, which is something we have talked about needing to see.  Cameron Banister ran a 19:01 today, setting a new PR even though it looked like there was more in the tank.  I think the different pacing needed on this course compared to his first two was something that might have taken him by surprise a little bit.  He is stronger than that time shows, and i think it is just a matter of time before he starts finding the right mix of pushing and pacing to see a big drop.  Zach Kovach rounded out our scoring runners today, coming in at 19:40.  His race was hampered by a nagging injury that I could tell was bothering him during the race.  Finishing is tough enough, but to do so even with the added challenge of an injury shows the grit that has come to be a part of his personality.  The kid just does not quit.  Hopefully we can get him some rest in the coming weeks and he can heal up to come back at full strength down the stretch for us.  Logan ran MUCH better today and showed that he can quickly apply lessons from one race to improve in the next.  On Tuesday, he went out way too fast and spent the rest of the race just trying to hold on.  Today, though he was quick, it was much more controlled and he was able to settle into a better rhythm .  His time of 21:42 was a new PR for him which puts him back on track to start looking for that next mark of 20 minutes that has been a goal for a while now.  

The girls team came through with the same order of finish that we have started to see for a few weeks now.  Kaylee and Paige set the pace with a pair of PR races (22:12 & 22:21, good for 15th and 16th respectively); Celine not far behind in 23:02, good for 24th;   Then Audrey holding on to get another full 5K under her belt and taking a step back toward full strength.  It was a quick start for the field, and Kaylee and Paige were in the mix from the start, which is what we wanted to see today.  They were once again, able to pull one another through some tough stretches to give our crew a solid 1-2.  Celine continues to show improvements, and was just barely shy of her first sub-23 minute run in quite some time.  It looks like she is starting to believe some more positive things are going to be coming her way, as she has put together a string of races now with improvements each time out.  Audrey has been working on specific portions of her race for the past few weeks, and today we wanted to see her get to the second mile still holding her pace. She did just that, and though there was a struggle the final mile, we have to keep in mind that we needed to see her get to the second mile looking strong, which she did today.  Next week at Brown County we will be looking for her to have more complete race, and then we can start really working on dropping the pace a bit.  

Eagle Classic At Brown County

No team score

No team score    
We came into this race looking to work on some specific portions of our race, notably an attacking mindset during the middle mile.  Just about all our team members started smarter today, and were gaining position as the race went along, all the way through the finish line. As a group, it was our strongest set of races from top to bottom.  No one had an "off day", leading to 7 PRs or SBs, and one that was just 6 seconds off a PR.  

Freshman Sophomore Boys Race:
Austin Haskett and Cameron Banister were in the Frosh/Soph race today.  Haskett took off with the leaders from the gun, showing some aggressiveness with his racing. Though he did not hold that pace the whole time, he did end up with a PR, and was really challenging himself to take the next step as a competitor.  He can certainly see improvements as his fitness continues to develop.  Cameron ran a different strategy, starting much more controlled through the first mile, then moving up the field as the race unfolded.  The result was the adrenaline carrying him through the final mile and finish to set a new PR by almost a minute. We talk about working our process and competing, and just letting the results (time) take care of themselves. As freshmen, it was a great sign to see them both end up with good times that were the result of a competitive attitude.  

Boys Varsity Race:
Nathan and Alex were our representatives in this race today.  Last week we were looking for a fast start.  This week we are looking for stronger middle miles. This race is so huge, that if you do not start extremely fast, it is easy to get boxed in during the first mile, before things open up after that.  Alex and Nathan showed a great deal of patience, as their first 2 Ks were about 20seconds slower than usual.  However, they certainly were on the move from there, and gained a lot of position as the race wore on.  Alex ended up with a PR by a few seconds and Nathan was just 6 seconds off his, even after a very congested start. Alex, in particular ran a much smarter race than last week, and even though the course at Martinsville usually produces some faster times, his mark today was well ahead of what he did last week.  It is a sign that he is starting to figure out how to put a complete race together.

Girls Varsity Race: 
Paige, Kaylee, Celine, and Audrey were our reps in the girls race today.  Employing a similar strategy as our boys, the girls were all playing the role of aggressor after a controlled first mile. Kaylee and Paige once again led the way, keying off of one another in such a large field. They were followed closely by Celine, who ran her strongest race in two years.  This was the first time in quite a while that she has seen a time under 23, and she is starting to find some confidence in her ability again, due largely to a really strong offseason that has positioned her for improvement this season.  After battling some injury early this off season, Audrey has started to get some more consistent, quality training the past five or six weeks.  She is starting to get stronger each time out, and is also starting to trust her growing ability a little bit more each time out.  Her finish time was more than a minute faster than any race this season.  
Crawford County Invitational

No Team Score

No Team Score


This meet is one of the highlight meets for our group.  It's a beautiful, true cross country course, and is run a little differently than most meets.  Freshmen and Sophomores run one race, while Juniors and Seniors run another.  Though the course is a relatively challenging one, our kids seem to be up for the meet and once again did really well today.  With some rain overnight, the conditions were still pretty good, minus a pretty sloppy start and finish area, which had a mild impact on the times.  Coming into the meet we talked about competing, instead of racing for time, and I thought our group did that very well today, with 7 of our 8 entrants in today's meet coming away with medals for placing in the top 10 for their class.  Missing Zach, Logan, and Emily today today meant that we did not register a team score, but if even Zach and Emily were to match their times from last year, the boys would have finished 3rd out of 30 teams, and the girls would have placed right in the middle of the pack, around 13-15 out of the field of 29 teams. 

Girls Frosh/Soph:
Kaylee and Paige ran really strong races to start the day for us.  Both competed really well, working their way from about 15th or so at the mile, to top ten by the two and maintaining those spots through the finish.  Paige continued her strong freshman campaign with a really confident race today.  She ended up running a PR (21:30) as the 3rd freshman to the finish.  Kaylee bounced back from a minor injury earlier in the week, and ended up grinding out a really tough run as the 5th freshman across.  Both girls were in the top 10 of the freshman sophomore race, and continue to show that they are a dangerous duo for opposing teams to contend with.

Boys Frosh/Soph:  
Austin and Cameron were our two in this race today, and both also competed really well for the full 5K.  These two have started figuring out how to put together complete 5K races in recent weeks, and they are starting to show some more consistency.  Austin was out with an aggressive start and put himself right in the mix from the gun.  Cam ran more conservative at the start, then became more of the aggressor as the race unfolded.  Both ended up with runs that earned them medals, with Austin being the 5th fastest freshman, and Cam not far behind as the 7th.  

Girls Junior/Senior:
Celine and Audrey were our participants in this race today, and both had some things they were looking to accomplish.  Celine was looking to continue her recent improvement and keep pace with Paige and Kaylee.  Check.  Ending up just a 18 seconds off her season best time, on a course that typically is 30-45 seconds slower than Brown County's, she ran arguably her strongest race of the season.  She had a pretty good summer for us, and we are starting to get into the faster part of our training now, and she has really made a good transition to it in recent weeks.  It just seems like she is getting more and more confident in her ability as the season progresses, and the trust she has in her training is leading to stronger and stronger race day performances.  Audrey has really hung tough the past few weeks, as she continues to fight back to the form we know she is capable of.  The challenge today was effort.  Just giving full effort, and we saw some things today that were glimpses of the competitiveness that we want to continue to develop over the final few weeks of the season. 

Boys Junior/Senior:
Really strong race by Nathan and Alex today.  By the time these guys took to the starting line, the conditions were a little bit sloppy in the start and finish areas, which probably had more of an impact on the finish times than some of the earlier races.  That being said though, the times were really solid, as their races put them in 9th/12th of their race, and 7th (Nathan) and 5th (Alex) in their respective classes.  After trading spots earlier in the season for a couple of races, these two have started to learn how to race together and both are seeing the benefit.  The two of them moved very well today, and I know that it helped to be pushing and pulling one another through those tough portions of a 5K race.  
Dual Meet At OV

34-25 (.576)

Great for Nathan to get the individual win today!  As a senior, in his final OV meet he was able to run a pretty controlled pace then outkick his teammate (Austin) for the win.  The 1-2 finish for them was the start of a solid score for our team.  The 19 points was enough to also send Nathan out of his final dual meet with a team victory as well.

The course was a pretty tough one, so the times are not totally what we expect them to see later in the season, but we wanted to just be patient at the start and work the second loop today.  Some times are pretty solid still, but it was more important to just see our kids being competitive in the second half.  
Ted Fox Memorial @ BNL


There were sure some fantastic performances by some of our group today, and I thought overall, we competed pretty well.  The highlights of the meet for sure were Paige Abel and Austin Haskett.  Stepping in as Freshmen and running as confidently as they did, is a great sign for us as we head down the stretch.  This freshman group has put in a great amount of effort this season and it seems like they are now starting to figure out how to draw the benefits from that.  Both got out pretty good early in the race, but it was the way that they continued to compete throughout the race that stood out.  Haskett gained positions from the 1K mark, showing that he has started to learn from prior races and is figuring out the right amount of push in the early parts of a race. Paige continued to move up as well, even closing in the final mile to make a couple more passes to sneak into the top 15 of this very competitive meet. 

In the boys race, Alex took off like a man possessed running in the top three through the mile.  That fast start took its toll though as he battled through the second half.  He is an extremely competitive runner, and really wants to challenge himself.  We have talked about taking some risks at times to try some things to learn how to be a better racer.  That is a really scary position to put yourself in and I think it shows how he is willing to take that chance because he wants to be a great runner.  Really something that I appreciate about him.  
Nathan, on the other hand was quite a bit more conservative.  Feeling the effects of some cross training time, he seemed like his racing legs just weren't there, even if he did end up with one of the faster times he has ever run.  He is still looking for that race where things all click for him, and now that he is getting healthy and fresh down the stretch, we should see it coming out.  Cameron also had an interesting race.  Just a few weeks ago, he was running mid-19s and was uncertain about how to approach a full race.  Over the past few weeks though, he has put himself in better positions as a racer.  Now, it comes down to trusting in his training.  It was a really good run, but is one that we know is still not his full race.  I believe that as soon as he starts trusting his closing speed a little sooner, we are going to see some time melt off. 

For the girls, not only was Paige having a strong race, but the other three showed signs that they are starting to get some things going here as we prepare for the stretch run. Kaylee was still not at 100% but looked much improved over a week ago. She was out quick, but not too crazy.  Showing her typical grit and fight, she looked like she was ready to compete again, after having to kind of hold back a little bit over the past couple of weeks. Celine just didnt seem like herself prior to the race, but was able to turn in a really solid performance.  That was a race that was actually one of her fastest of the season, even if she didnt feel at 100%.  I really thought Audrey had her best race of the season.  She looked more engaged in the race and was much more competitive than I've seen in a while.  She had various points during the race that she made a noticeable shift in gears and looked like she had decided that she was going to pass the the girl ahead.  It showed glimpses of what we know is there, and what we need to see in the final portion of her season. 

Monroe County Meet @ IU

35-27 (.565)

Coming up on the WIC meet this Saturday, today we had some specific things we wanted to work on.  We knew that we would need to be racing strong in latter stages of the race, and that was something saw today.  This meet has athletes who are competitive at our highest level, and it would be real easy for a team as young as ours to get caught up in that and go out too  quick.  This group though, ran a very controlled first mile, moved well during the second, and then competed during the third.  Most of our guys and girls today were out in a very controlled manner, and ran well through the second half, each one of them picking up multiple spots.  We did have one guy (Haskett) who we wanted to see out a little quicker, so he was just goin out and racing today.  He went out in the top ten and was just hanging on to stay there.  Given the competition he was running with, and the challenges this course presents, he did exceptionally well.  He continues to excel, and has really started to get more confident in the need to just step out and run as our front guy.  I also thought Alex Michael was a bright spot today for the boys.  After his blazing fast start at BNL on Saturday, we needed to see him with a more controlled start so he could move in the second half.  He was around 6:00 at the mile, then just started racing up through the field.  He ended up with a time that was significantly faster than his race here last year, even after a much slower start.  Hopefully races like the past two will help him in figuring out how to find that sweet spot between starting too fast to put him in oxygen debt, and too slow that takes him out of contention early.  He is a confident racer, and has put in a lot of work to develop his ability.  We expect that we will keep seeing him take those steps forward that he has for the past few months. Cameron also ran a pretty good race, ending up as the 4th freshman across the finish line.  He also has a great deal of talent, and we are still hoping to see him trusting in that a little bit more during the middle stages of the race.  Harrison joined us for this meet, and we are hoping to have him down the stretch of the season.  Today we just needed to see him get a full 5K down, since it has been a while.  

On the girls side, Paige led the way for us again.  She has had such a terrific season that she was kind of in the mindset that she was ready to go full out and race the full thing.  However, we knew that with WIC coming up Saturday, she needed to feel a strong finish today to take with her into the meet this weekend.  She controlled her start and came through the halfway point in 28th place.  Over the final mile or so, she picked up 12 tough positions, to move herself all the way up to 16th.  After seeing her race like that, I would like to think that if she goes full bore later in the season, she will be able to run with those girls who were ahead of her today.  The same could be said of Kaylee.  She was not at 100% yet, but it was another step back in that direction for her.  She looked visibly more comfortable through the race and immediately after.   Celine ran a fantastic closing segment of the race, and actually had what might have been a 400 meter PR!  Seriously though, the work she has put in is really starting to show up, and she is getting much stronger turnover when she calls on it, and the finish today was the best example of that.  
Western Indiana Conference Championship @ Edgewood

42-30 (.583)

 Going into the WIC meet, we are really at a strange point in our team's season.  We have had some really excellent things happening with our kids, even as we have had some days where we couldnt get a full 5 scoring runners on the course to compile a team score.  We had some excellent help today in the way of a few girls who decided to come out for the last part of the season.  The boys pulled out a 4th place finish, while the girls tallied a 6th place rank.  The boys were led by a trio of outstanding runs from Austin Haskett, Nathan Weller, and Alex Michael, who each placed in the top 10, earning all conference honors.  Seeing more signs of growth from these three, they were all about a minute faster than our previous race here a few weeks ago.  Not only that, but all three were competing for position during the final K, which is arguably the toughest of this race.  Haskett led the way with a 5th place finish, coming across as the top freshman in the race.  He put himself in the race right from the start, but kept in control enough to run strong during the second half.  It was a really smart race, coming from a freshman in his first WIC meet at the high school level.  The race that Nathan and Alex ran was a little different.  They were both applying lessons from prior experience and found a good mix of quick and controlled running at the start, but were moving up positions during the second half of the race.  Both of these guys have had races where they were too far out of contention early on to be competitive down the stretch, but today they found the right mix.  The people they were racing during the final mile were the right guys they should be racing with.  By positioning themselves well early in the race, they were able to find the juice to pull ahead for a 9th and 10th place finish.  It was really awesome to see Nathan earn that all conference spot in his senior race, this being his last one on our home course!  I was especially thrilled for him. Cameron also ran a pretty good race today, finishing about 30 seconds faster than his previous best time on our course.  As we have seen for the past few weeks, he still seems a little hesitant to push himself out of his comfort zone.  We see him with great work during the week and we still believe his best racing is ahead of him, as he gains more confidence.  Seeing a race under 19 minutes on this course should provide some of that as we head to the state series.  Harrison looked much more comfortable in his second race back with us.  Tuesday at IU was just a chance to get some running back under his belt, and get a feel for a 5K again.  Today was  big step forward for him competitively, and we hope that his progress on a short time-table continues through the final few weeks of the season.  We were glad to get Logan back today too, and get some experience as a freshman in a WIC meet.  He started the season as such a raw runner, and made tremendous strides as the season progressed.  The time he was out was really unfortunate timing, but he came back today looking stronger than he has in a few weeks, and hopefully he will see some stronger runs down the stretch. 

The girls were led again by Paige and Kaylee, as a fantastic freshman campaign continues for both of them.  In a meet as competitive as this one was, to place 5th and 6th respectively was a sign of the continuous work these girls have put in.  They had a really good summer, and continued to work and develop during the season.  Seeing them both earn all conference honors provided a great highlight for the girls season so far.  It is also interesting that they are doing it with largely different running styles. Paige is a consistent strong hill runner, and Kaylee is a strong competitor who needs to be in the race from the gun.  But both have learned to play to their strengths and run the kinds of races that finds them among the front group of finishers all season long.  Celine ran a terrific race and ended up more than a minute faster than her previous best time on this course.  She was really competing through the full race and has continued to show signs of progress all the way through the season.  Her finish today should be a boost for her as we move into Sectional next week.  Stephany Foster ran a fantastic race, under some tough conditions.  In her first race out with us, she came out and was competitive through the finish.  The mark of 25 minutes is a good one for any girl, but to do it in the fashion she did was really incredible.  Des'tanee ran a really tough race.  She was fighting the whole way and we certainly could not have finished as well as we did without her fighting the way that she did.  Arianna Sotelo and Emily Werner were our final runners today.  It was good to welcome them back to racing, and seeing a full 7 girl team out there.  
IHSAA Sectionals @ BNL

48-34 (.585)


In what has been one of the strangest seasons I have seen as coach, this year's squad was by no means guaranteed to come out of today as Regional qualifiers.  We knew that we had a few kids who had shots as individuals but as a team it would take some big performances to get out as a team.  Three of our boys had PRs today, which was a nice plus, and our other guys ran solid enough to get a shot at racing next week.  The interesting thing about today's race though, was that it really didn't seem like it was our best  race.  I thought a number of our boys and girls looked out of sync in the first mile of the race, but was impressed with the way that they maintained their composure.  Looking at the times they all finished with, it is honestly among some of their faster of the season as a group, but that just shows the kind of potential that we have started to see develop in the recent weeks.  It is interesting even on a day when kids advance, and we have some PRs in the group, that the mood of the team was that they are still hungry.  I really believe that this group knows we can do a little better in our preparation over the next week, to be a little more ready to attack a full 5K for Regionals.  

Haskett led the way for the boys today, holding on for a 13th place finish after a blazing fast start.  The excitement of his first Sectional meet got the best of him, but he still ended up running a PR which is a positive sign.  If he can control his start a little bit next week he will have a good shot at busting through that 17 minute mark he has been hovering around.  Nathan ran on of our most complete races for the boys today.  He was steady at the start and worked in the field as he needed to, to get up to 17th position and post a solid time.  Alex was a little out of sync today, struggling through the 2nd mile.  He did come back strong in the final mile, so that should be a positive thing for him to take with him into this week's preparation.  Cameron was a little more trusting of his racing ability today, and ended up getting a little closer to that 18 minute mark that he has been working toward.  Coming in 35th place, as the 6th freshman across is a plus, was a solid start for his State Series runs at the high school level.  Harrison looked like he was starting to work more into racing shape as well, as he continued his trend of stronger runs each of the past three weeks.  We will be counting on him to continue that progress into next weeks race to have a shot for the boys to take another step in the state series.  Logan still looked like he was a little under the weather, but he got some much needed experience racing in this meet.  We will be looking for big things from him in the future, and it was good for him to get the experience he did today. 

Paige and Kaylee led the way for our girls again, with runs that were solid, if not spectacular.  They both seemed to be working a little too hard at the start to maintain their pace through the first K, and really didnt start to look like they had settled into a good race rhythm until the second half of the race.  Hopefully, getting back to the routine of school and our regular practice time after fall break, will help them find the rhythm earlier in the race next week.  Celine was right around the position we had talked about her needing to be in for a shot to advance, so she did what she needed to, but she admittedly never felt like she was on a roll.  This is going to be an important week for her because we know that she has a shot to get out of next weeks meet to make it to Semi-State, but she will need to be in a better rhythm from the gun.  Audrey took a shot today with her first mile, but just did not have a good rhythm as the race wore on.  She has put in a lot of work this season to try to work back into racing shape, and I have been proud to see her tough out some of the runs she has put together.  

It was clear today though that we struggled as a team, to find that right race rhythm.  We had been trending in the right direction for a number of weeks, so today was a little surprising in that sense.  I have seen the work they have put in, so I know that the physical strength and base is there.  Seeing such a large chunk of our group struggling with that sense of a race rhythm today falls on me, as the coach.  We definitely have some work to do in our workouts this week to make sure that when the gun goes off next Saturday, we are in the race both physically and mentally.   One thing I love about this group though, is that they are willing to work.  I have no doubt that today's lessons will be applied very quickly as they have proven time and again this season.  
IHSAA Regionals @ BNL

51-40 (.560)

Man, what a fantastic day!  3 girls and 5 boys were in action today and we had 7 PR performances.  4 Mustangs qualified for next week's Semi-State meet at Brown County.  We knew going into the day that the boys would be a long shot to advance as a team. We have 1-4 that are competing at that level, but are just missing that final piece or two that can complete the full team scoring to be really competitive at this level.  We knew though that we had a shot for a handful of our boys to advance as individual.  Regardless of the prognosis, we all had something to accomplish today and I think they all did that.  The girls had three at the start line, so we were not eligible for team scoring today, but all three had a shot at advancing as individuals.  

After using all of our races this season, both as predictors and experimentation, this group has done a nice job at working to develop each part of their race.  Fast starts on some weeks.  Slower, more controlled starts on others.  Attacking our finishes one week, and hammering the middle stages the next.  Today, it looked like Alex and Austin really put those complete races together.  Both were quick but controlled from the start.  The field was really fast in the first K, and there were a lot of guys ahead of them at that point, but they did not panic.  They just trusted in their ability and their race plan, and started working the second mile. By the time they picked up spots through the second mile, they were gaining confidence to carry them through for a strong finish.  Alex shattered his previous PR of 17:30, by busting out a 16:46 in his biggest race of his career.  Immediately after the race, some people were a little shocked, but this was something that he and I had talked about for months.  Excited is the word, but shocked is definitely NOT what I felt to see him pull through. Freshman Austin Haskett was really picked up midway through the race, when he saw his teammate pull up next to him.  Austin's race needed to be a little bit quicker from the start, but there was a point where it looked like maybe he was starting to fade.   But when Alex came up to him, he seemed renewed, and was back on track.  It was a great example of how teammates can work together in a race. Both were still working to pass people and were staying aggressive.  Austin also ended up breaking through with a 16:49, beating his previous PR of 17:04.  It should be noted that his time today was the fastest by any freshman time since we have kept those records (1996).  Nathan capped a terrific high school career with a PR run in his final race.  His race plan was to be controlled at the start, and work up as the race unfolded.  As he came through each checkpoint, he was on track, and was in a position to break that 17 minute mark.  Unfortunately, there were a few guys who were just out of reach as he came to the finish line.  His time would have easily advanced either of the last two seasons, but the field today was just quicker at the front and a little deeper.  He has been such a steady element on our team for the past four years, and though my heart feels for him, there is nothing but pride in the way he has improved over his four years with us.  Freshman Cameron Banister capped his season with a race that put him in the top 10 of freshman times since 1996.  He has come from running in the mid 19s early in the season, to dropping that all the way down to 18:06 today.  He has definitely put himself in a position to do some great things with this group for years to come. Logan Koos was our final boy competing today, and it was even uncertain if he would be able to compete, right up until 5 minutes before the race.  He gutted out a run that was actually a tick faster than last week, and was his second fastest of the season.  He has a lot of bright things coming down the road, as he continues to develop as a runner. 

We had three girls competing today, and all three had outstanding performances.  The freshman pair of Paige Abel and Kaylee Meyer were again our top two.  Both were out to a really smart start, that showed a lot of maturity as racers.  They were not slow through the K, by any means, but the field was so fast out of the gate that it would be easy for them to get a little nervous about being so far back in the field.  But racing more like veteran runners, they just calmly started attacking the position ahead of them, then the next, then the next.  By the second mile, both were starting to race with the girls who would be running under 21 minutes.  As they made their way through the final mile, they continued to show so much grit and toughness, to just keep passing.  Trusting in their training, they started making the move to finish it all off with a fantastic final 400m up the hill to the chute.  Their runs of 20:26 and 20:51 vaulted Paige and Kaylee all the way up to 4th and 8th on the Mustangs' All-Time PR board. Truly, one of the highlights of the day was Celine Hornick's race.  Celine typifies so much of what we want to see in our team.  She is tough-minded, persistent, and has a will that just wont quit.  Through a challenging past couple of seasons, she has never given up and has steadily worked her times back down.  She positioned herself well early in the race at the 1K, and then shifted into attack mode.  She did not appear to be racing for a time, but was fully engaged in the moment of the race and was looking for the next girl up, all the way to the finish.  A few weeks back, we saw a glimpse of a speed burst at the finish, but was something we havent really seen much of though, even after expending so much energy for the first 2.5 miles, she found another gear to pass another handful of girls in the final 400m!  Without even seeing a time, I would easily say it was the best race of the year for her...seeing the official time of 21:59 pumped me up, as that has been a target we have been talking about for some time now.  Could not ask for a better way for her to finish out her season, and carry into the offseason.  

I can not express how proud I am of this team, and how fortunate I feel to get a chance to work with them.  Plans can be laid out until I'm blue in the face, but it is up to these guys and girls to follow through, and to really trust in it enough to give it their all.  All times and rankings aside, it is that kind of attitude that is going to serve these kids well in whatever their future endeavors may be.  
 IHSAA Semi-State @ Brown County 
It is with a hint of sadness, that I write that this incredible run these kids have made this season comes to an end today.  It is always a difficult moment when we are faced with the reality that our season has come to an end, be it in Sectionals or the State Finals.  This group was no different today.  Being one step from a trip to the state finals, the quartet of athletes representing the red and black today gave an effort that we have come to expect.  Even though the sting of seeing the season come to a close is a difficult thing to deal with as competitors, this group should be extremely proud of how far they have come this season...we honestly could not have predicted that this group would surpass their expectations from way back in June, when the work began. 

Austin Haskett finished 75th in the field of 178 competitors, and was just the 4th freshman across the finish line!  When we started during the summer, Austin was not entirely sure about how to adjust his training to be competitive at the high school level.  I think it is safe to say that he took a major step in figuring that out.  Throughout the season we toyed with some different race strategy at different points, and he showed a lot of maturity and guts to be able to hang in the races he did. He is a feisty runner who wants to challenge the best of the best, and today was no different.  He took a chance with a fast start, and tried to assert himself early.  When things started to get away from him, he did his best to regroup and find a rhythm to carry him to the finish.  This experience today will surely provide a foundation for him to continue to develop, while adding some fuel to his competitive fire, and we will be excited to see him attack again in the coming years.

Alex Michael finished 82nd out of 178, in his first trip to this meet.  In an intimate moment that is telling of his desire to improve, immediately after the race he felt like he could have had a stronger race.  What we have to remember though is that in running (as we do in life), we are always competing against our previous best selves. As we have come to expect from Alex, he continues to improve every step of the way.  He is a kid who ended his freshman year with a PR of 19:19, but was highly motivated to improve.  As a sophomore he put in the work and dropped his PR down to 17:35, but ended his season at Regional with a time in the mid 18s.  This year, he took more steps forward, dropping his PR to 16:46 at Regional, then finishing today's race with a 17:21..his second fastest of the season.  Almost every step he took this year was so much ahead of where he was just one year ago and I was not surprised to see him make it to this race today.  I was also glad to see him run his two fastest races during the final stretch.  While I feel his pain immediately after the race, I am at the same time excited because I know that he will build on this and learn lessons that he will apply to his future races. 

Paige Abel 64th out of 177 (11th Freshman).  Paige came to us back in June, and had an immediate impact on the dynamic of this team. Her positive attitude and willingness to work was essential to this young group's development.  She was always up for the challenges that our training presented, and made it a habit to give her full, best effort.  The results were a season that not only raised the bar for our team members, but also saw her individually progress far beyond what we might have imagined just four months ago.  In fact, it was just about a month ago, that we started seeing performances that indicated she might be ready to start challenging for advancement in the state series. Not one to rest on the laurels of those prior efforts, she applied lessons she had learned from previous races and found a pretty good rhythm right out of the gate and then fought for position for the final two miles.  She ended up with a mark that was just a few seconds off of her PR mark she set at Regional, showing that she has the mentality to handle the increased pressure that comes with each step of advancement in the state series.  We are definitely proud of her effort and progress this season, and look forward to seeing her continue to improve in the years to come. 

Kaylee 86th out of 177 (16th Freshman).  Kaylee came in this season and added to a certain feisty, fighters mentality that some of our team had started to develop last season.  After putting in the miles through the summer, she started to see the training adaptations taking place as the season wore on.  Typical of her personality, when she suffered a minor injury right in the heart of the season, she took to her cross training with the kind of intensity that made it truly work.  Rehab and cross training can be extremely difficult to do in such a way that there is true progress being made.  Her ability to focus during that period undoubtedly served her well down the stretch as she started to get healthy.  Each step in the state series comes with increased pressure, increased expectations, and increased competition.  She never shied away from those challenges, and took to each race with something to prove.  The sting immediately following the race was the result of that increased expectation.  She ran a race that ended up being her second fastest of the season (2nd only to her Regional race), and was a time that she would have been thrilled with about four weeks prior. This is a positive sign for her future as a runner, because she just does not quit.  As we have seen with the other freshmen in this class, she is driven to succeed, and we look forward to a future full of possibility for her to build on the successes of this season.

In all, we had a strange season in a lot of ways.  Back when this group started, we were not really talking about state series advancement let alone the possibility of competing at the level that these guys and girls have...we just did not really know what to expect.  But this year's group (not only the ones that competed today), just showed up each day and developed their ability to give consistent, persistent effort.  Even through the numerous challenges that were presented throughout the season, this group of four led they way for our teams, and has laid the foundation for some exciting things to be looking for in the coming seasons.  Way to go Mustang XC athletes!  You have certainly made this coach proud!