We consider the Parkway Quad a goal meet. It always comes early in the season, and it gives us a real idea of where we are. I have no question that the varsity runners gave it everything they had Saturday. But they and all the coaches know we have a lot of work to do. The varsity has a new look this season and there are guys who ran their first varsity races at the Quad. There is a lot of responsibility wearing our colors in a varsity race, and the boys took it seriously. We came up against an impressively good Parkway West team. They may be the best we see this year. We weren’t going to beat them Saturday. Regardless of West, we need to run together better and stay that way longer. In practice, we have looked pretty good working together. It is harder in races when discomfort of a different kind sets in. We will work to be better moving forward.
To the good, Brett’s summer conditioning is serving him well. He ran hard and 17:06 this early in the season is good. His practices have been impressive and he is a man on a mission. I’m excited for his prospects. Luke really came on well for us Saturday. We haven’t seen a race like that from him since he was a sophomore. He has become considerably more vertical. He is a more imposing presence. It’s clear he had a good running summer, and he is running with more confidence and purpose than we have ever seen from him. We are hoping for this to be just the beginning of a good senior season for him. Welcome to the varsity John, Shawne, Justin, and Andrew. It was a nasty first race going against West. It doesn’t get easier. You get better at it, though.
In the JV race our top five were only thirty-two seconds apart, not bad. We’re awfully glad that Bryan’s knee has been cooperating, and now that the pain is leaving him alone, he can focus on the training that he embraces and knows will make him better. Ethan Pestian ran his first cross country race. He ran 19:35, a nice break-in for him. I look forward to seeing what he does with some experience at racing 5,000 meters. It should be fun. David hasn’t had the luck that Bryan has had with his knee issue. But he keeps his attitude in a good place, and he’s appropriately patient. We hope his luck gets better soon. Scott Abernathy returned to the team after not being with us in 2016, and was our number four JV runner. I’d like to see what could happen if he unlocked the potential we think is there. Andrei King came into the season looking fit and ready to go. He raced well Saturday. He’s going to figure this out more and more and do a great job for us. Jeffrey Ying quietly goes about his business, but his practices have not been quiet and we are expecting good things from him this season.
And the freshmen…
How refreshing it was to end the morning with a Quad Championship. James Stone has looked impressive since he arrived and thanks to Coach Roach for reaching out to his dad to get him to come out to run. Daniel has just been a step behind, and we got about what we expected from him and James, strong, gutsy, competitive racing. Luke has been doing a great job in practice, but has been hampered with some nagging leg problems that weren’t very evident Saturday. It was great to see him have the race he had. Eric Boles opened our eyes. We had not seen the type of performance he gave Saturday in many of the workouts we had done. I told him he messed up. Now we expect it. This week in practice he has continued to deliver. So that’s four. Many teams have four, but your not finished until your number five man comes in. Noah brought it in well enough for the freshmen to be crowned Quad Champions. Another cool characteristic about these freshmen is that they seem to get the team thing. They work together well. There seems to be some genuine friendships among them. That is all to the good. Caring about your teammates can’t be easily quantified, but it’s fun to see the results.
Finally, the leadership displayed by Luke and Brett was rousing. When they took the freshmen out for a real cool down after the race, they displayed what we really love to see, the upperclassmen showing the way. They were on such a real cool down that the parents wondered if they’d ever come back.