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: http://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/School.aspx?SchoolID=11741
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.
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.
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: http://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/Results/Meet.aspx?Meet=120828#/11741
We will be actively building out this site over the next couple weeks so stay tuned!