Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Indoor reflection 2017

As we start the first week of outdoor season with some fresh snow I wanted to take some time to reflect back on the past season and my past year and a half at Baldwin Wallace.  I am excited where things are heading.  We have a great group of kids that come to practice and work hard on a daily basis.  The distance group has bought into the blue collar, hard nose work ethic and racing style.  I think it showed at our conference meet.  We had several young kids who performed at a high level at our biggest meet of the year.  Several of them ended up on the podium some multiple times.

Culture is something that is talked about quite a bit, how do you build a culture what does a good culture look like?  To me culture is about having standards and holding people to those standards.  Its about doing the right thing when no one is looking.  Its about doing the little things to the best of your ability.  We have a kid on our team that ran with some of their high school teammates that go to another school in our conference over spring break.  They were telling me, in an almost state of shock, that this team doesn't do a warmup or cool down at practice, they don't meet for runs at all on the weekends, most don't even run.  They said they felt bad for making their former teammates wait to go for a run while they did their warm up before their spring break runs.  To me this is what its all about.  These are lessons that our athletes can take into the real world.  They probably don't even realize it now, but it will help down the road both athletically but more importantly in life.

I am excited for outdoor and the future in general.  Our current kids are doing a fantastic job and we have some very solid commits that I am excited about what they can add to the group!  To outdoor we go.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Just missed

We found out today that Kelly was the first person out of nationals in the women's 800. She missed by 0.12. On the down side we were all disappointed. She is fit and is ready to go. I think she would have had a legitimate shoot at making the final and standing on the podium. She has gotten better at her tactics each race this year and has competed well at each big meet we have gone too. One the up side she had a huge boost of confidence from running a 3 sec PR in the 800 on Saturday and is excited for outdoor. Based on her workouts she has a lot more left to give and hopefully this small set back will be just the thing she needs moving forward. 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Conference week

What a week it is going to be.  The CAVS have their ring ceremony, the Indians are playing in the World Series and its OAC week!!!!  Life in Cleveland Ohio doesn't get much better than this! Conference week is always one of my favorite weeks of the year.  The energy, the atmosphere, anticipation of racing all week are phenomenal!

Our group has come a very long way since August.  We have had some bumps along the way but have bounced back nicely.  Our fitness is coming together right at the right time.  We have put ourselves in the driver seat to place in the top half of the conference, on both the men's and women's sides there are several teams that we match up very well with.  Some of them we have not seen at all this year.  On both sides we could be 4th or 6-7th.  We need to find, match up and RACE some teams for us to reach our goals we set back during team camp.  I am excited to see if our young group can rise to the occasion during the post season.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

OWU and a week off going into Williams

Our week leading into Ohio Wesleyan was less than ideal.  We had a lighter workout prescribed for Tuesday that ended up being a really tough one that I ended up cutting short due to some warm temperatures.   I think that workout took a lot more out of us that anticipatied.  Thursday was more of the same.  The problem is we don't want to sacrifice a short term, early season, inconsequential race for long term goals.  So we suffered through.  We had a handful of kids that competed well, several being freshman which is always a huge plus.  We even had a few PR's, but the majority of the results were a little disappointing, so we got back to work and the next day we were on the trails in the Rocky River Reservation for a long run.

Last week we turned a major corner.  We have been together for 5 weeks and things are starting to click.  We had a big time workout Tuesday morning under the lights on the track.  Everyone ran better than their prescribed times and looked good doing it.  They made a difficult workout look easy.  They had great energy in the weight room later that afternoon as well.  All in all a great day.  Friday we followed up Tuesday's workout and lift with another solid effort. I was pleased by the fact that we were able to bounce back from a tough week and a bad race with two solid workouts.

This Saturday we will find out what we are really made of.  Friday we are loading up the bus to head to Williamstown, Massachusetts for the Purple Valley Invite.  We will be racing against 11 regionally ranked women's  teams and 13 regionally ranked men's  team, with 10 from each gender being nationally ranked.  This will be a big time eye opening meet for our young group.  This is a group that has the potential to be successful at a high level down the road so we want them to be exposed to what running at a national level is like now.  Hopefully down the road we will be going to these types of meets to pick up at large points.  It is always a little nerve wracking taking a young group like this but we feel they are ready for this kind of experience and need it now.

We have a light tempo session today, a medium long run Wednesday and a very light workout Thursday leading into the race at Williams Saturday.  I am excited to see our progress not only Saturday but moving forward.  Hopefully last week was an indication of what is to come.

Friday, September 2, 2016


We are very thankful for Wooster putting on this event.  The course is well manicured, well marked, our kids have fun with it.  It is a great way to open up our season and allowed us to come in a few days early for camp.

Overall we were very pleased with how last night went.  Internally I struggle with taking our team to a race and not racing, but using the this meet as a longer effort or workout just makes more sense in my head with what we are trying to accomplish long term.  Yesterdays efforts were an extension of what we did last Friday and something we can build upon.

We were able to check all the boxes we wanted to accomplish yesterday.  Our freshman learned our travel routine for meets, they learned how we operate, warm up, cool down etc at meets.  We got out some race jitters and broke the rust.

Overall we have come a very long ways in one year.  The culture is building and our freshman and returners carried themselves well.  We looked a lot more like a team, more organized with the small things, there was no hand holding.  We feel very good about where we are and where we are heading.

Until next time!  RUN HARD!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Early season thoughts and our first "meet"

Becky and Me hanging out with Larry
As always summer went by way too fast.  The highlight had to be the CAVS winning the NBA championship.  Becky and I went to all three of the home finals games, we went down town for game 7, our coaching staff went to the team arrival at the airport and we all went to the parade (but who didn't, holy cow there were a lot of people in the Land that day).  Now its September Camp is over and we have our first meet tonight.  More on that later.

It is always a little nerve wracking bringing in a group of freshman.  Did we get the right kids?  Will they mesh well with our current kids?  There are always a few question marks.  We been very fortunate so far.  We have an amazing group and we had an awesome camp!  The group has come together very well, they have raised the bar on expectations and set some high goals for the year.  The kids came back on Aug 16th and the freshman went right into the week of welcome.  We had our time trial, We watched one of our assistant coaches win a gold medal at the Olympics in the pole vault!  We had several team meetings.  We had a Brown v Gold inter team competitions, which were fun, and a lot of early morning practices.

Pizza at our house
Kat wins GOLD in Women's PV!

Watching the Men's 1500 at our house
Heated game of Rock Paper Scissor

Cooling down after long run on the Tow Path
White Pines Lodge at CVEEC

Crystal Lake
Friday after the first week of class we got to go CVEEC in the CVNP for our over night camp, which we didn't get to do because of Week Of Welcome.  The CVNP is my favorite place to run in the country, so to be able to stay in the park and get a few runs in there was awesome.  We went to Crystal Lake on Saturday afternoon to swim, kayak, play volleyball, fish and paddle boat.  It was a great first weekend of the year.  Getting to spend it with our team was great.  Its always good to start the year off with a lot of team bonding time. 

We open up our season tonight at Wooster.  Similar to last year we will enter our team in both races, 4k and 5k for women and 5k and 4 mile for men.  We will use the meet to practice a lot of race day situations, get our freshman accustomed to how we operate on race day.  We will run the races as a long extended workout and build off what we did last week.  I am excited to see how they handle the day.

Last thought for the day.  I have always loved looking at Pre Season polls and polls in general.  Very rarely do they mean much.  Its way to early to see how much work everyone put in over the summer, who will emerge as a rising star, how the freshman transition into college and the team etc... Either way they are fun to look at and see what the pollsters think.  The OAC polls came out not long ago.  I finally took a peak at them this morning.  Our women were picked 6th and our men were picked 5th.  Probably a fair assessment of our team right now, but I am excited to see how things play out on Oct 29th in Columbus!  Until next time.... RUN HARD!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

2016 Cross Country Schedule

I am very excited about our schedule for next year.  We are changing things up a little bit from years past, while keeping some of staples.

We are going to open up September 1st at Wooster.  They put on a great meet on a challenging course.  they have two races per gender and last year we have our group run both and do it as a workout.

September 10th we will back at Ohio Wesleyan.  We went to this meet last year and it is a nice local early season meet.  At that point it will be nice to break the monotony of training and go race some people in different color jerseys.

September 24th is the first weekend where inter-regional competition counts for national qualifying purposes.  We have a few kids on our team that could qualify to nationals as individuals but I do not know if we are ready as a whole team to make that step yet.  That being said we want to start setting the tone for years to come and compete out of region against some of the best teams in the nation.  Our plan is to switch our meet each year or I should say four years, so that we get to see different teams, schools, parts of the country etc...  This year we have decided to travel to Williams College in Williamstown MA.  This is a great meet and always has great competition.  I am excited to go to that part of the country at that time of year as it should be beautiful with the leaves starting to change.

The next Friday, October 1st will be another big meet for us.  All-Ohio!  This is always a good competitive meet and a chance for us to see all of our conference schools and a good portion of our region.  Bragging rights are always on the line at All-Ohio.

After a week off we will come back on October 15th for the Oberlin Inter-Regional Rumble.  Coach Appenheimer put this meet together back around 2006 so that we could have teams from different regions compete against each other.  The course is very flat and fast.  He has always done a great job of hosting.  There are some teams that are starting to go to different meets this weekend but I want to and will continue to support the local meet.  We do not need a big travel week leading into the post season.

October 29th will be the OAC Championship hosted by Capital.  This will be a huge meet for us.  We are growing as a program and have a goal of getting back to winning conference championships.  Our first step is becoming more competitive.  With the crew we have coming in I think we can continue to climb the ladder.

November 12 with be our Regional Championships hosted by Hope College in Michigan.  Similar to the conference meet this is a meet we strive to become more competitive.  We made a big jump last year on the men's side but have another big jump before people even realize we are there. Plus the end of they year is when it really matters.  No one remembers who runs what in the first few weeks.  You need to show up and run well at conference, Regionals and Nationals.

The following week November 19th will be Nationals in Louisville KY.  If things go well this summer and fall we have a great shot at having a group back at this level.

So there you have it, the 2016 Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jacket Cross Country schedule.

Sep 1- Wooster
Sep 10- Ohio Wesleyan
Sep 17- OFF
Sep 24- Williams
Oct 1- All-Ohio
Oct 8- OFF
Oct 15- Oberlin
Oct 22- OFF
Oct 29- OAC@ Captial
Nov 5- OFF
Nov 12- Regionals @ Hope
Nov 19- NCAA @ Louisville