The All-Suburban Cross Country Championships and The Patriot Classic

A lot of faster running happened in the past week. Twenty-seven of our thirty-seven competing athletes ran all-time bests at these two meets. At the All-Suburban Conference Championships Brett Davis had the race of his career. Running smart and fast he finished ninth in a field of 161. He dropped about twenty-seven seconds off his previous best. The guys in front of him were from the powerhouse teams, West, Lafayette, and Kirkwood, teams that should finish high in Jefferson City next month. It was great to see him compete so effectively and to finish so well. At The Classic, Brett took a risk, running the first mile in 4:58. He paid for that but still ran a best time of 16:26. As we head into the State series, this should give him a good deal confidence, confidence borne of demonstrated ability. David continues to move past his knee issues and is running faster each time out. Justin Klopfer hasn’t done much, other than run personal bests each of the past four races.  It has been great watching his improvement over the past year. John has also been steady. There has been a positive progression this season, and at the Classic, he broke the eighteen-minute barrier for the first time. Luke will enter the District meet as our second man. He has been dedicated to finding a way, and at The Classic he broke into the seventeens again for the first time in a year. Jake has been an enigma this season, but on Wednesday he put the puzzle together and showed us he still is in the game. Watching his success after the struggles he’s had this season was a refreshing gust of cool wind.

The cool weather Wednesday was what we’ve been waiting for. Having that and the speed-friendly Castlewood course, we expected a good day. Twenty-five of our twenty-seven PRs came from The Classic. Before Wednesday, though, there were some real fireworks at The All-Suburban XC Championships. We knew our freshmen were good. Luke Diehl has become an junkie. He’s been tracking our team against other freshmen teams in the state. Our freshmen took four of the top ten spots at this meet among 147 runners. The great misfortune of Noah being sent the wrong way by a garbled volunteer, which cost him at least :30 seconds and an unknown number of places, couldn’t keep the boys from bringing home the Championship over fourteen scoring teams. Bravo boys! During my first year as the freshmen coach in 1994, I had a good team too, an undefeated team. Still, they never went on the line against all of suburbia like these guys did. This is a great bunch. We’re quite lucky to have them. They work hard. They race hard. They are smart and fun. And Luke has informed us they are now the number four freshmen team in the state. Finally, congratulations to Daniel Tabaka, who raced himself into the top seven. He will compete with the varsity at District.

Except for the varsity, the official season is over. We will run all non-varsity in the open race at the district meet, but no scores will be kept. We will take times and include them in our team statistics. We are glad the team finished the official season so well at our home meet. Good job boys.

Priory and Capital City Invitational Footspeed Notes

Between these two meets we had thirteen personal best performances. The boys who ran at Priory did themselves and the school proud. Ten of them ran their best times ever, on what I am told is a challenging course. Some of these guys just ran their best times the previous week at Rim Rock. Five of the freshmen ran in their first varsity, race and three of them ran their best ever, Daniel 18:20.1, Eric 19:16.3, and Luke 19:18.9. The other two, James and Noah, still had good or better than good races considering the course. It’s nice to get a varsity race under one’s belt as a freshman. We are thrilled with the job these guys have done this season. Oh, the future looks bright. Among other freshmen running on the JV there were four other personal bests: “I am Matthew Vincent Rogers” 21:40.3; Carson Plaster 23:40; Caleb Parker 23:54. 4 and Michael Dowdle 25:47.8. Other best times were run by Ryan Bauer 22:24.2, Trey Lowenthal 23:22.8, and Cullen Dittmar 24:46.1. Coach Klebolt said the boys ran wonderfully. It was a good day for all involved.

In Jefferson City, the varsity finished 15th of 24 teams. Brett’s IT band was squawking too loudly, so we sat him out. The other boys ran hip to hip for two miles, only breaking apart on the infamous firehouse hill. It was a wedge of red, and it was wonderful to see. It was what we have been hoping for all season.   We have a few more opportunities for these guys to work together and give us the performance of their varsity careers. Let’s hope for good health and that the training pays off when it needs to. In this race three of our varsity ran best ever times. John Gordon displayed his underrated tenacity in leading the way for us. John has been a stalwart member of the team since he joined us as a sophomore. It is good to see him having personal success in his senior year. The fast courses at our next two meets should get him into the 17s. Justin Klopfer has been steady all season and has made great progress, especially in the past two weeks with personal bests at both Rim Rock and at Jeff City. Running 18:18 on the state course means you are becoming real. We also expect him to be in the 17s coming up. Luke Hoeferkamp had his best race of the season considering the course. He has been training well and we look for a breakthrough race next time out. Shawne ran his best at 18:28.5. We think there is still an eye-opening race that he hasn’t shown us yet. That’s OK. Our most important races are still in front of us. Jake avoided any real bad luck this time out. Running a little smarter early will yield better results for him.

Today (Tuesday) we ran our annual 1000s workout. I don’t think we’ve ever had so many guys finish 10×1000. It was a confidence-building day for all of us, coaches included. The boys should be proud of the work they did. We hope to see it pay off in the near future. It was a thing of beauty.