Saturday, April 4, 2009

MHS Track Weekly Update

April 5, 2009
This Past Week

Welcome to Spring Track. The real season has begun as it usually does with the Hall of Fame Relays. Previous years have brought rain or cold, and this year brought the winds of up to 50 mph! Gusts blew Evan Nece into Lane 2, and nearly blew Anthony Horten off the track and onto the infield. Full meet results here. Our results are here.

It was a day of learning - how to get your cards, how to pass a baton, how to warm up for a race, and how long of a day these track meets can be. My estimates turned out to be way too conservative. I've written the actual start times down for next year!

If learning was the theme yesterday, then Ryan Wolff showed he was ready for graduation with honors. He ran a very smart third leg in a Moorestown best of the day 4:45. His opening lap of 67 let him catch the leaders of the race and then sat behind them to collect his reserves and save himself from the wind. His final strong, confident lap of 65 let him hand off to Ringwood dead even with Cherokee's Applegate. Ringwood showed his maturity by almost taking a step backwards to let Applegate take the wind. The Cherokee coach then instructed Applegate to slow the pace and force Ringwood to take the lead. By the 800 meter mark they were practically walking, but Ringwood did the right thing and just hung out behind him. I told Ringwood to go ahead and take the pace - it is the first meet of the season and I would rather see them get a decent run in. Applegate ended up drafting off of Ringwood and passed him in the final 100 meters.

We demonstrated a lot of depth, with 5 runners under 5:00 for the mile and over a dozen sub-2:30 800's. The DMR teams did nice jobs. Weintraub ran a solid 4:58 on his anchor leg to secure third place medals. Our JV B team was 3rd out of 10 teams, highlighted by a strong 2:16 (66-70) by Anthony Horten and a solid 3:40 by Chris Balch. The Freshman DMR squad got 5th place in the same race with Lentz, Jenai, Nece and Inglis all having a good learning experience. I am quite sure they will all run quite a bit faster by the end of the season.

Our Varsity 4 X 800 placed second to Northern Burlington in a very nice race for newcomers Jacob Miller and John Stalle. Both have been held back by injuries and really have not had a chance to put in a decent week of practice yet, but laid down impressive first time 800 times of 2:16 (63-73) and 2:12 (62-70). Hopefully they keep feeling good and make progress in their training and racing - they should be fun to watch.

Overall the distance squad earned 16 medals for four teams - 4 X 1600 Varsity, 4 X 800 Varsity, Distance Medley Varsity and Distance Medley JV. As Ringwood would say, "Nice."

Many of the runners had the experience yesterday of, as my Coach used to say, "A gorilla climbing on your back". Will McDonnell was a great example of this. He led off the JV 4X800 and took a commanding lead by the 500 meter point in the race, and looked just awesome. In the next 100 meters it was like watching an entirely different runner - one that in addition to his own weight was carrying a gorilla on his back. I applaud Will for having the courage to go out and test what he could actually do.

There are two things to learn from this. First, is to learn your pace over the next month as we increase our race-paced practices. Second, is to learn how to carry that gorilla calmly and confidently. That same gorilla was on Ryan Wolff's back as he came down the final straightway to hand off to Ringwood. He was fighting him off to make sure he put his teammate in as good of a position as possible. Something to keep in mind when you are in the final 200 meters of a race. And even if a championship is not on the line - it is your chance to move to your own personal next level.

This Coming Week

We will continue our Monday Long Run this week. We need to continue building our strength and foundation. I'm really happy with the increased mileage we are getting in.

Wednesday - Willingboro dual meet at their track. We will need all of the distance points we can get in this meet, as Willingboro has a very strong sprint and jump team. We will also be using this meet to determine who will run in the Moorestown Invitational (a Varsity only event). There are three spots in the 5K, 3 spots in the 1500 and 4 spots in the 4 X 800 meter relay. The meet starts at 3:45.

Saturday - Moorestown Invitational. While we only have 10 spots for runners, all runners are expected to come and volunteer that day to help out. We will have sign-ups for two shifts - either 8-10:30 or 10:30-closing.

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