State Meet Footspeed Notes

The State Meet was a success for all of our runners.  The weather was perfect, cool with no wind, and it made for fast times.  Eleven runners in the 4A race ran under 16:00.  A look at recent history of the meet shows that no more than six have run under that barrier in over five years (I didn’t go much farther back), quite a fast race. Only time will tell if the day was fast or if the kids are just getting faster.

For us, Katherine Franz ran within seven seconds of her personal best on a course much more challenging than the one where she ran her PR.  This simply means she ran the best race of her life in the last high school cross country race of her career.  Bravo, Katherine.

On the boys’ side, there were also good races.  Ryan Bode, somewhat hampered with an injury, still ran competitively and with guts in this speedy race.  He wasn’t really able to practice for the past two weeks and we were quite pleased with how he ran under the circumstances.  It’s a bummer that he wasn’t 100% for this since he has waited so long to have an opportunity to run at State.

Brett Davis had a great day.  He was bouncy in practice all week, and we were expecting something special.  We got it.  He ran the fastest time of his life.  He too had a PR from earlier in the season on a flat course.  For him to run his best time at the state meet on that challenging course is a great feat; he dropped from 16:58.8 to 16:57.2.  Afterwards it was clear he was just made hungrier by the performance.  He’s a junior.  “Next year, top ten,” he said.

Sectional Footspeed Notes

Congratulations to Ryan Bode and Brett Davis on qualifying for the State Meet in Jefferson City this Saturday.  This is always exciting for the coaches and athletes.  It is the payoff for having tried to do everything right when myriad obstacles are in the way.

Ryan has been rather snake bit in his career with regard to getting to State.  As a sophomore he was 31st at Sectional by less than a second.  As a junior he was quite ill and wasn’t able to compete at his usual level.  Getting this monkey off his back means a lot.  It was a mixture of relief and joy, at least for the coaches.

In the race both guys got off the line well and avoided getting tangled up in the crowd.  They put themselves in position early and then ran to defend those positions.  They knew where they had to be and fought hard to ensure their qualifying.  In the last 200 meters they were nearly side by side and were in the mid 20’s in places.  Both made strong moves to the finish, and I don’t believe either were passed in the final stretch.  They both certainly made moves and passed others, so there would be no question and a bit of a buffer between them and Spot Number Thirty.  Ryan was 23rd and Brett 26th.

I would be remiss not mention that all week we had nearly 15 kids at every practice, supporting the efforts of our qualifiers.  It makes coaches happy that the team cares about one another, and they are thinking about the future success of the team.  Thanks guys.

I hope some of you (everyone in Patriot Cross Country Nation) can make it to Jeff City to watch the final race of the season and the final cross country race of Ryan’s career.  We appreciate the support you have offered all season.

District Footspeed Notes

Congratulations to Ryan Bode and Brett Davis on advancing to the Sectional Meet in Washington, MO next Saturday.  They put themselves in position early and hung on throughout the race to secure their advancing.  They both are in good standing to make it to the State Meet with good performances at Sectional.  As far the rest of the team goes, ask and you shall receive.  We were looking for the good team race which has been elusive, and we got it.  Hands down this was our best varsity race of the season.  I impressed upon David the importance of his getting out with JD and Jake.  He did, and the three of them held together so well that only fourteen seconds and nine places separated them at the finish.  Watching them appear at various check points and still tightly together is what coaches love to see.  This was the race we knew was in them, and that it became the last race of the season means they ended on a high note.  The team finished 7th with 175 points but was only eight points from 5th.  Fourth place was at a distant 109 points, so the competition was very tough.  Clearly, we can’t do anything about how other teams perform, so although there is disappointment at not advancing as a team, we were happy with the race our guys made.

The unscored open race is one that might be easy to blow off.  And although it’s hard to have the greatest intensity, our guys for the most part raced hard.  And in what I believe to be a unique occurrence, at least at Parkway South, the five varsity runners who did not advance, had a good time running again in the open race.  I have not done an analysis of times in this race yet, but our guys were finding each other and working together.  The rewarding thing here for the coaches is seeing the team aspect of this race.  The varsity joining with the JV to go one more time this year was wonderful.  It was a good bunch of guys working and having fun racing hard together.  Varsity results here:

Suburban West Conference Meet Footspeed Notes


jv-conf-pack dsc_0373 dsc_0393 dsc_0422

r-bode-confOur varsity has had trouble getting consistent performances.  We have been hampered with some physical ailments and just have had races from some of our guys that have lacked luster.  I think we are all somewhat disappointed in what we have seen in some of our races.  We do get some reasonably good races from individuals, but we are missing the performances that sparkle and surprise us in the positive direction.  At our Suburban West Conference Meet, our varsity guys gave gutsy efforts, but I think they too are disappointed in the overall results, as individuals and as a team.  We were significantly off the times the coaches expected to see on this course. Still, we would have had to run considerably better to move up in the team standings.  Although the team position was probably not going to change, it is concerning that we have had few races in which our varsity has had an impressive overall team performance.  Brett Davis and David Venkatesan did run lifetime bests, and Brett is up for All-Conference honors which will be decided soon.  As we move into the State series we look to get that solid team performance.

Although the varsity performance was less than stellar, the JV boys ran most impressively. While we don’t like conceding a perfect score to Lafayette, they are pretty much a juggernaut.  Marquette finished second and they are sneaky.  They finished ten points in front of, us and it was really hard to see that during the race.  Still, we finished 12th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th.  Connor Pautz took control of our pack, and those guys raced beautifully.  Among our top five in this race there were two personal records by Connor and Bryan Van Genderen.  The difference between this and the varsity is the fact that all of these guys raced the previous week at the fast McNair course in considerably cooler temperatures.  The times at McNair were nearly all faster than times at Northwest as determined by looking at the times side by side for runners from many teams.  A personal record from the Suburban West meet for those who raced at McNair was a markedly superior performance.  The pack held together very well, and the impetus to stay in that pack brought those times.  Other kids on our team who ran both places and PR’d were Jeffrey Ying, Drew Whiteaker, Colby Ritchie, Devin Malone, and Shawne Auer.  Other JV and freshmen runners were very close to best times.  It was a great day for those groups.

Rim Rock Farm Classic Footnotes

Rim Rock Classic Footspeed Notes

First, thank you to the parents who made the trip and supplied healthy snacks for the boys.  I know we were running around like crazy people, but we were happy to see your faces there even if it was only fleeting, and I know the boys are grateful for your support.

Our annual trip to Rim Rock was rewarding for us on many levels.  We always have a good time, but we hope to also have good times—and we did.  After racing in heat, on hills, and on swampy courses, Rim Rock was cooler, not cool, and the ground was firm.  The team is getting over the physical ailments that have troubled us, and we are beginning to look like the team we hope to be.

First, Ryan Bode had a race that gives us hope that he will be in the hunt as we get closer to the state series.  With about 600 meters to go, he moved to the left of the pack he was in in order to pass people and make his surge to the finish.  His 16:50 time bodes well for the upcoming meets.  Brett Davis ran a season best 17:25 and wasn’t happy with it.  That’s OK with us.  If he’s unsatisfied, we’ll help him get to where he will be satisfied.  David Venkatesan gave us the race we thought we should get from him based on his good workouts.  He ran his best time by over 1:15, very impressive.

In the JV race JD staked his claim to return to varsity after carefully and methodically rehabbing from ITB syndrome.  His 18:34.8 led the JV, but Sterling is demonstrating a consistency we love and finished just behind JD at 18:35.7.  Michael Todd ran his best time of the season by almost a minute.  He bragged about his finish which I didn’t see for being in a different part of the course, but I’m told it was a “ting of beauty.”  Bravo, Michael, you’ve worked very hard over the past few seasons and your success is well earned.  Luke Ungerer ran a lifetime best 19:10.  He just does everything right in an quest to be the best runner he can be.  The same goes for Bryan Van Genderen who ran a lifetime best of 19:31.7.  This was his first time under twenty minutes, nice dip, Bryan.

We will continue to work towards the state series with good racing along the way.  The boys are working hard in practice with a mind focused on success.  Their attitude is right for our goal chasing.

Complete results for Rim Rock are at the following link:

We are in the Gold Divisions of both varsity and JV.


bode-on-the-move dsc_0008 dsc_0033 dsc_0013 dsc_0063 dsc_0066 dsc_0074 dsc_0077

Paul Enke/Hazelwood Central Invitational

Paul Enke Invitational Footspeed Notes:

This meet was the most satisfying one we’ve had so far.  I saw great efforts by so many of our guys.  It’s hard to judge times at Sioux Passage, especially with the mushiness of the course Saturday, but some things were undeniable.  Luke Hoeferkamp raced as well as I have ever seen from start to finish.  He ran thirty-six seconds faster than he did at Forest Park.  That sometimes happens when we have brand new team members who really haven’t learned to race.  But Luke is running in his third season, and for him to perform that well at Sioux Passage–on a mucky course–well, it boggles the mind.  Brett ran solidly.  He put himself in position to finish well, and he rarely disappoints when it comes to closing out a race.  John Gordon ran within twenty seconds of his Forest Park time although he went out too hard and paid for it.

There were other notable performances too.  Kevin Harter who has been a great addition to our team—a great attitude, no matter the situation—ran faster than he did at Forest Park. Nathan Patterson is new this year, but he had his best time at Sioux Passage.  That is truly rare.  It can only mean he has really bought in and wants to make his mark in cross country.

As we move ahead, we hope the courses dry out, so we have better footing. Then we can start having times that mean a little more to us.  Everyone has been with us long enough now for the training to pay off.  The guys should start racing more effectively now.

Results for this race can be found here:

Webster Groves and Forest Park Varsity and JV Comments

Webster Groves Invitational

The Quad was rather disappointing for us on the varsity level but our performance at Webster was much more encouraging.  Our team stayed together for a good portion of the race and competed well.  We have some health problems among our varsity but those ailments are fading, and we hope to see the team we hope to be in the coming weeks.  Brett continues to give us his best effort at each meet.  He has been quite solid running as our number one so far this season.  Ryan’s race was better, and Luke stayed with the group much better than at the Quad.  Still we have some serious work to do, and we need to get healthier.

The JV did a great job.  Connor Pautz had a redemptive run after a having a difficult time at the Quad.  After Connor, our next four runners finished within seven seconds of each other.  Colby Ritchie, Shawne Auer, Justin Klopfer, and Bryan Van Genderen helped our JV finish fourth among a talented field that included fourteen teams.  Many of these guys are focused on making it to the varsity in the future.

Forest Park

This meet is always humbling, especially when we are not at full strength.  Both last year and this year we were missing runners who took the ACT, and this year we are still waiting for some runners’ health to improve.  It’s hard to make judgments about all performances because the course was quite muddy and hence slow.  Still, everyone in a particular race had the same course, although conditions worsened race after race.

The varsity did not hold together as well as we had hoped.  Without trying to make excuses, the race was huge and with the given conditions, holding together was a tougher task.  Our guys did try to find one another, and later in the race things were better.  Still, the spread among the team was too large, and we need to be better.  John Gordon has now run in his second varsity race and is understanding better the demands of that responsibility.  There is good competition for the last few spots on the varsity, and it still may be awhile until the varsity completely stabilizes. Some of that has to do with the health of those who are working their way back to full strength.  We are patient because we have no choice.  We expect to improve in the coming weeks.

The JV again did a nice job.  Luke Ungerer has a hunger that is admirable.  He wants to be good, and we see it in every move he makes.  He worked his way through the slop and was our first finisher for JV.  JD is making progress in his recovery, and the smile on his face as he carefully tested his fitness was good to see.  He is being patient as we have instructed and has avoided setbacks that would only frustrate.  We think his full return is not too far off.  The rounding out of our JV top five took all of a tenth of a second as Colby, Bryan, and Justin crossed the finish line visually simultaneously, very cool.

Parkway Quad

On the varsity, the Quad was not what we expected. The team didn’t hold together as we had seen in practice, so the results were less than for what had hoped. We had some runners dealing with some ailments which we think will be taken care of in the next few weeks. Brett Davis and Jake Bode ran well, but the rest of the team had some trouble. We had three new additions to the varsity and there definitely some growing pains.

The JV boys looked good. We had some solid performances from many. Michael Todd and John Gordon really made the race happen. John is in his second year with us and is doing everything we ask and showing why I had high hopes for him. Unfortunately, both of these guys were passed near the end of the race. Lesson: never take anything for granted. Someone is always back there waiting to pounce. Sophomore Luke Ungerer has been working hard since the day we met him in 2015. He finished third for us, and his hunger is impressive. Bryan Van Genderen is also one who has bought in completely with our program. Followed by Justin Klopfer, our top five finished within twenty-six seconds of each other, not a bad grouping. And watching all that red near the front was encouraging. We are excited for these guys to improve and for them to challenge for varsity spots as the season moves along.

We have some work to do, but our attitude and commitment are what we need. Things will progress well, we believe.

Quad results here: