Boys cross country: Off-season work, confidence key for Tigers
Last year was your first year as the head coach. What was the experience like for you? Are there any things you plan on doing differently in Year 2?
Last year I had a great time coaching. Seeing the runners progress and their excitement toward the end of the season was very rewarding.
I think each year a coach goes into the season with an idea, but after the first week they are able to see if they need to adjust any of the workouts. The coaches are expecting the runners to come into the season with their base miles already put on so that we can get right to work the first week of practice.
The team had its best meet at the section, with six runners breaking 18 minutes in the 5K. What do you attribute that to?
I would say it was the confidence that those runners gained in themselves through meets and their practices during the season.
Did the runners put in some miles over the summer to get ready for the season?
The boys and girls did try and meet a couple times a week.
The importance of off-season training was stressed very much. Going into last year the boys didn't have a lot of confidence in their ability and idolized other teams -- what was stressed to them was that the difference is what happens in the off-season. If they come into the cross country season without any summer training then they have already put themselves that much further behind. With coming in the season with those base miles, it puts us at just as much advantage as any other team.
Who are some promising runners you are expecting back from last year's team?
Dan Block looks very strong coming into the season. He has been doing a lot of training througout the summer. We're looking forward to seeing what he can do this year.
Adam Wallenta has finally healed from a year-long injury and we are looking forward to seeing his potential his senior year. Also returning is Tyler Lerbakken -- he has been putting on a lot of miles this summer. Sean Dougherty ran varsity a couple of times last year and he also has been running quite a bit this summer.
We have a great younger crowd joining us this year. All of the eighth grade boys that are now ninth graders are eager to get in to the season and race at the JV and hopefully varsity level for some of them.
What newcomers do you think could contribute to varsity this fall?
Justin Hyytinen has decided to come out for cross country this year instead of football. He ran varsity track in the spring (and finished third in the conference in the 3,200).
You finished seventh in the Missota and ninth at the section. What has to happen for the team to improve on those finishes?
Hopefully they are going to come in to the season ready to get working and build off of their confidence level at the end of the season last year.