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

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BW Team Camp

We had a heck of a week last week with our first ever Track team camp at Baldwin Wallace, and I would say it was a huge success.  Getting the opportunity to bring the whole team back a week before school start practice, team meetings and have guest speakers is a huge advantage for our team over the rest of the conference and I would guess the majority of the teams in the nation.  We are very fortunate to have the resources and backing from our administration to do put on such an event with full support.
Monday we kicked off camp with a brief meeting then got into the fun stuff: practice!  We did our usual spinal mobility, hurdle mobility and band work warm up followed by a recovery run, some stadium sprints and a core circuit.  Following lunch I had the group watch a DVD on Rope stretching by Phil Warton that I bought over break.  It gave all of them a few more pointers on technique and some stretches to do with the rope.

Coach Cole talking about Team Family Pride

Later that night Coach Cole went through our program philosophy, TEAM: FAMILY: PRIDE, and our core values.  He also introduced the rest of the staff and found some hilarious pictures of all of us from our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.  His meeting definitely set the tone for the week and season.
On Tuesday we did a 2k Time Trial/workout and got a lower body lift in.  The time trial went well for the first effort back with a mix of performances.  Two of team members, Greg and Alex, had work and a DDS appointment and ran their time trial in the evening.  Both ran really well and it would have been great to see mix it up in the group. 
That night after our Buca Di Beppo catered dinner, we had Jenniffer Green '94, Rochele (Meyer) Miller '97, Brian Miller ‘98 speak to the team about their experiences as Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets.  They were able to shed some light on the history and tradition of the team and program and share some fantastic stories with the next generation.

Wednesday we had a medium long run a core session then lunch.  For our afternoon session I decided to focus on mental toughness.  A lot of people talk about how important having mental toughness is in athletics, including myself.  I preach being mentally tough all the time.  Over break I decided to be proactive about the subject and find a way for our group to get better at being mentally tough.  Just like being physically fit, you have to work at it in order to get better.  So I reached out to Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli who was the sports psych we used at Sacramento State.  She is an absolute rock star and helped numerous athletes while I was there get better at their mental game.  She recommended three books.  I purchased them immediately and wanted to use camp to start implementing the ideas from the first book.  We spent our afternoon meeting going over our strengths and weaknesses and settng up some exercises for them to continue to work on them on a daily basis.  This is a continual process we need to keep working on because this can take our program to the next level.   

Dr Leo Kormanik during his presentation

Our guest speak for the night was Dr. Leo Kormanik.  He spoke about injuries, how they happen, how to prevent them and what to do if you get one.  Our group took away quite a bit from his talk.  He even took some time to stick around and meet with a few kids about specific injuries after.  It was great to have someone with his knowledge and back ground as not only a doctor but also as a high level athlete.

Thursday was another recovery run and core circuit.  We spent our afternoon session continuing our mental toughness training.  Thursday night we have another great speaker, Spencer MacDonald from Humanex.  Earlier in the week we had each student athlete fill out a 60 question quiz, they had 40 seconds to answer each question and each question had four answers.  There was no wrong answer but each answer gave us what your strengths and weaknesses are.  From a coaching aspect we got a complete profile on each kid and what makes them tick.  We have some kids that are driven by trying to improve their times and better themselves on a day to day basis and other who flat out want to beat the person next to them and will do whatever it take in training to accomplish.  Neither one is bad, but as a coach I now know what buttons to push to motivate each individual and they are all a little different.  Spencer went through these profiles with the coaching staff and helped us understand what the results would mean in terms of what motivates each individual.  He then did an hour long presentation with the team and had them look at their strengths.  He divided them up into groups and showed them what each person’s strengths were so we would know who to turn to for different role of leadership within our team.  It was an extremely beneficial meeting for everyone.  Plus Spencer did a great job of making it a lot of fun with some interactive activities.
Spencer MacDonald From Humanex
After the Humanex presentation a group of the athletes went out to laser tag.  They had a discount night.  They team said they had a great time battling each other in the arena.
Team Instantly after a victory in Laser Tag
Friday workout, goals, All-American Steeple Chaser Matt Luck ‘90 came back to speak to our team.  He talked about how important a phone call can be and how it can change your life.  He also talked about being a family and helping your teammates.  It was a great finish to a wonderful week of speakers.
Matt Luck '90 talks about making a phone call

We ended camp officially after practice on Saturday practice.  I invited anyone who was sticking around Berea over to my house for chili. We played a few games of bowling on the wii and had some epic battles in connect 4.  It was good to have the kids over in a relaxed setting and have fun just spending time together doing something outside of running.
Phil Getting beat at Connect 4 again!
Group warming up for Sunday long run on the Tow path
Sunday long run we met at the rec center at 7:30am to load up the vans and head to Brecksville for a long run.  The kids love running on the Tow Path and we are incredibly fortunate that we are so close to a national park.  We wrapped up our run just as the cold front and snow started to blow in.  It was a great way to end a great week.

We are very excited to open up our season Friday at Mount Union with the OAC split meet.  Field events start at 4:00pm and running events start at 5:30.  I am excited to see where the group is.  We have a few kids that are ready to go after a great winter break of training.  This could be a very exciting season.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


We were fortunate enough to have Leo Kormanic come and speak to the team tonight. First off it was great to see him and catch up. It has been almost exactly 4 years since we last saw each other in Huston Texas at the Olympic trials for the marathon.

Second the message and information he delivered was great. He spoke about injuries, why they happen, what the root causes are, how to prevent them and what to do if you get them. He took time after to answer questions. What a great resource to have. He is doing some very high level stuff with the Olympic Training Center. We appreciated him taking time out of his busy schedule to come meet with our group.

On a personal level he had a lot of the same thoughts, ideas and terminology that I have and use. It made me very happy for our kids to hear the same things we say on a daily basis from one of the best physio's in the country.

This week of camp has been great and we still have a few more days to go. I am excited for where our program is heading.