Monday, October 31, 2011

MXC Weekly Update - Oct. 31

MXC Banquet - Nov. 15
Our season ending banquet is Tuesday, November 15 at 6PM.  Everyone has to signup for the dinner. Download the form here -

Turkey Trot!
The Moorestown Turkey Trot has become a true annual community event for our town.  Last year about 800 people came out on Thanksgiving morning to run and have fun and see old friends. 
Joyce Nece is again leading the charge as our race director.  As usual, we need lots of help from other parents to coordinate food and drinks, register people that morning, act as course monitors, etc. If you can help, please let us know.  

Also, we are looking for someone to learn the "system' this year to take over as Race Director next year since Evan will be graduating.  Please let me know if you are interested in helping out. 

This Past (2) Week(s)

Yes, I missed a week.  Lots has happened over the past couple of weeks.  We'll review in chronological order.  Also, remember to go to and lick on the Pictures links on the right hand side.  Steve Kramer has shot hundreds of great pics.  Hopefully we have at least one of each of the guys on the team.  He captures the spirit of this sport so well. (Thank you Steve!)

South Jersey Frosh/Soph Meet - This meet was held down at the GCC course where we had been for the South Jersey Shootout.  We were happy that almost the entire team was able to improve from their races in September - testament to some hard work.  Significant improvements were made by Munilla, Coneby, Ing, Handlan, LaLumia, Bauscher, Malta and Gross.  On a hilly course, we had PR's by Gross, Malta, Nick Poaletti, LaLumia and Coneby.

Divisionals - This was a tough meet, and it had nothing to do with the fact we lost.  I expressed my disappointment with the team the next day as we seemed to have strayed from our Guiding Principles ( - Work, Learn, Fun, Team.  The good news is that we actually returned very quickly to our foundation after this race and learned a lot from the experience.  The past week and a half has been fantastic in terms of team support, and level of effort.  The Top 8 has done some awesome workouts and run much better in packs as a team.  And as the next paragraph will show, the Frosh/Soph guys really responded with blow-out performances.

Burlington County Frosh/Soph Championships - Best meet of the year.  Truly amazing performances from everyone.  We had 16 PR's out of 21 5K runners - Caffrey, Barsoum, Ems, Coneby, Ing, Sam Spirgel, Voyack, Testa, Handlan, LaLumia, Pollock, Dugan, Nick Poaletti, Malta, Gross and LaGatta.  That is just what we try to do as a team - work hard all season, then taper a bit and put everything together for the final races.  Malta, Dugan, Pollock, Sam Spirgel, Munilla and Ing all had improvements of almost a minute.  Caffrey provided the highlight with a Varsity qualifying time of under 19:00.  It was also cool to see some guys really emerge who put themselves in reach of a Varsity award next year if they put in some good work - Barsoum, Munilla, Coneby, Ing, and Sam Spirgel are near or under 20 minutes.  This provides the foundation for us up top in the future.

Spirit Week - We had some great participantion by the MXC team in Spirit Week. Joe Inglis brought down the house in a dominating unicycle performace.  Kramer was a close second in ping pong.  And we held most of the positions for Ultimate Frisbie.  Devin Connelly's Soph's beat Mike Connelly's Seniors - some serious bragging rights in that house...

Saturday Rain-Sleet-Hail-Snow Workout - This was probably the most epic, memorable workout we can recall in 7 years of coaching.  The 5 X Paul Drive hill provides over 1,000 meters of uphill to provide a challenge.  Add to that the goal of dropping time on each interval.  Add to that the total mileage from this workout is 10 miles.  But the kicker was the weather.  Freezing temperatures. Heavy clothes from all the rain.  And the harshness of everything Mother Nature could throw at us culminated in a true Cross Country experience.  This team is ready for Sectionals and a hoped-for-trip to States!

This Coming Week - 
Sectionals - Saturday, November 5.  We are the last race of the meet at 12:55 at Delsea.  We want everyone who can to take the bus down and cheer on the team.  Only the top 5 teams will qualify for States the following week - and we are right on the bubble.  Check with other team members later this week for bus time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

MXC Weekly Update Oct. 16

This Past Week

The Cote Mile - Our Batch Meet season is over, but we had a special event on Tuesday as Coach Cote ran his first mile time trial with a goal of breaking 5:00.  He was set up well.  A season of running 9 miles per day most days with the high guys.  A set of pacers with Inglis, Horten, Howard and others.  And a raucous crowd to cheer him on.  The first 400 was a bit fast as they came thru in 72.  The 800 was right on pace at 2:30, but that meant he was slowing down.  Inglis hopped in and picked up the pace, but as Cote rounded the curve coming into the start of his final lap he looked ready to give up the dream.  That is when the crowd really went wild, and you could see he was just not going to let the team down.  A blazing last lap brought him home in 4:59.75.  A proud moment and a great team effort...
Burlington County Open - It was a beautiful cross country day.  Windy with massive storms mixed with sunshine and rainbows. As the JV warmed up in the back woods we had to jump a pretty big puddle of water on the back trail. By the time they raced, the puddle had grown and they were splashing thru it.  When the Varsity raced a half hour later, Howard hit the deepest spot and was submerged to his chest.  After the race, we went back and took a closer look. The swollen river from the rain and high tide had covered the course and about 50 feet of trail was covered.  Truly a great cross country day!

The highlight of the meet was our tremendous 3rd place finish!  We had been expecting to finish 5th, but ended up beating Shawnee by 2 points and Northern Burlington by 3 (109-111-112).  It is an important reminder of how every place counts.  Horten ran his best race of the year, narrowly beating Inglis for the first time.  Both placed in front of any Northern Burlington runner - reversing the results from our batch meet with them.  Howard recovered from his swim and ran a very tough race. Joe Inglis continues his emergence as our strong #4 runner.  Kramer stepped up as our #5 man this week - running the best race of his life.  If any of these guys had run just a few seconds slower we would have been 5th - the strength of the pack...  

We have a tough choice for our 7th slot as we head to the Liberty Division Championships this week.  Spirgel ran the Varsity race in 18:58 and Cain ran the JV race in 18:58.  We will be holding a mile time trial on Monday to decide who will be the 7th man on Thursday.

Times were not great, but we did have 4 PR's - Bauscher, LaLumia, Malta and Maier.  Nicely done on a tough course.

This is always a bittersweet race.  For many seniors it is their last race as part of the Moorestown Cross Country team.  So many thoughts come to mind.  Mike Connelly's many hard summer miles and tremendous improvement this year and his leadership skills on the Ultimate Frisbie fields.  Jay Jenei's hurdles and that great flash in the first half mile of the race on Friday.  Basle Lavery's quiet determination and consistency. Vincent Lee's radical improvement.  Dan Poaletti discovering his ability to run and becoming a great asset to the team even though he was only with us for 2 years.  Dan Sheehan and his big heart - a sometimes rough exterior, but he has been a core component of this team for 4 years and he loves this sport and team.  Kevin Zhang as a quiet, hard worker.  Of course many of these guys will continue to train with us thru the end of the season and come out for Spring track. We thank all of them for their contributions to the team.  And they can always count themselves as part of MXC!

This Coming Week - 
This is the end of the season for our Juniors and Seniors.  Freshmen and Sophomores have two races left - this Monday is the SJ Frosh-Soph Meet, and next Tuesday is the Burlington County Frosh-Soph meet at RV.  That meet is a great opportunity for PR's and coming home with some medals.  So all Frosh-Soph will continue to train.  Juniors and Seniors can continue to come out and train with the team - however this is the serious part of the season, and we want everyone to have focus on training hard.

Monday - South Jersey Frosh-Soph Meet.  This will be an opportunity for our freshman and sophomores to see how much they have improved since the SJ Shootout.  Bus leaves at 2:15.

Thursday - Liberty Division Championships.   After splitting our head-head competitions with Northern Burlington this year, we are looking forward to a very tough meet.  Starts at 3:45 at New Egypt.  We will be the third race.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MXC Weekly Update - Oct. 12

This Past Week

Northern Burlington Batch Meet - It was a strange day in many ways.  Let's get the bad news out of the way. Our 2+ year batch meet winning streak was ended by a very good Northern Burlington squad.  Also, Kevin Horten was DQ'd for an elbow at the finish.  There are photos that show he was provoked, but we need to be smarter.  And finally, after the loss we were acted less as than true sportsmen.  This was due to the sting of the loss and the feeling of unfairness due to the DQ.  But we are better than that.

Now for all the positives.  Our top 4 ran like true warriors.  Inglis and Horten really battled right thru the finish line, and Howard and Joe Inglis showed true determination in their races.  I think it is possible for us to come back at the Divisional race being a bit more rested and a bit more ready, with a whole top 7 effort we can make a come back and win the Championship race.  Let's get focused on that goal.

The other good news is that a LOT of guys were able to run PR's.  Some of them were huge! Orzechowicz dropped 1:17 and is short of a Varsity letter by only 1 second at 19:01.  6 guys dropped by over a minute: Charlie Spirgel by 1:40, Nick Poaletti by 1:28, Kohart by 1:12, Reubel by 1:03, Macaluso by 1:03 and Handlon by 1:01.  Other big drops were Barsoum by 47 seconds, Wu by 40, Coneby by 37, Ing by 37, and Dugan by 35.

It was also great to see some of the injured runners have solid races - Sheehan (earning a Varsity Letter by running 19:00), Siegel and Testa.  Also having solid comeback races were Malta and Maier!

One of our Guiding Principles is LEARN.  This was a great day for learning.  A number of guys learned how to break thru in a race to earn PR's and learned about the satisfaction of working hard and seeing great improvements.  Some guys learned how to compete without striking back. Hopefully we learned being a good sportsperson is holding your head high and congratulating your competitor when they beat you.  And that we will come back and face them on another day, having learned from our mistakes and being just a bit more determined to run as a team to win.
South Jersey Open - It was a hot Sunday, and very tough conditions for the PR's we usually see at this meet.

The freshmen all ran great - improving drastically from the 2 mile times they had at the start of the season time trial and the Cherokee Challenge.  We hope it gives them a glimpse of what they can do as they continue to work over the next 4 years.

Cain led the JV crew and is putting himself in a position to compete for a Top 7 spot at the end of the season.  He is on a real roll, dropping his time on a consistent basis by over a minute since the SJ Shootout.  Lavery had another strong race as well - showing a remarkable consistency of running 4 of his last 5 races within a 12 second range.  Ems also keeps improving week-to-week and set a PR. Coneby also had a PR, dropping over a minute and a half since he ran his first 5K earlier this season. Devin Connelly showed some of the grit he had last year and ran his best race of the year.  Novak and LaLumia also had solid PR's.  Special shout-out to Moorer (26 seconds) and Charlie Spirgel (39 seconds) for their tough PR's.  It looked like both of them were running with renewed vigor - a combination of better conditioning and great attitude during the race.

The Varsity ran a bit flat overall.  Perhaps it is the tired legs, the heat, the loss on Tuesday or running on a Sunday.  The team average time was only 6 seconds faster than Holmdel the previous week when it is typically 20-30 seconds faster.  The bright spots were Inglis again running tough up top and a PR performance by Evan Nece.  Hopefully we will get everyone in sync by the Divisional Meet next Thursday and have the type of team race we should be able to have.

This Coming Week - 

Burlington County Open - Mill Creek.  This is our last race as a whole team together.  It is also the last race for Juniors and Seniors who are not part of the Top 7.  It is bittersweet to see the season and for the seniors, their MXC careers, coming to a close.  A number of them will run spring Track, but this is a great race to come out and cheer them on!  The JV race will be at 3:45, Varsity at 4:15 and Girls at 4:45. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

MXC Weekly Update - Oct. 2, 2011

This Past Week

BCIT Westhampton Batch Meet - We matched up very well against BCSL Division rivals Rancocas Valley this week.  Inglis showed what a tough #1 runner he is, refusing to "let some (blank) RV runner beat me."  The strength of our pack was backing him up, even with a couple of our usual top 7 having off days.  We ended up beating RV handily.

There were a number of stand-out performances.  Up top Joe Inglis was our third man and Jack Spirgel was our 4th man.  Lavery and Kramer combined to lock down our top 7 - pushing the RV 4 and 5 runners back in the scoring.

Poaletti had another PR (3rd in a row).  Barsoum ran his first complete 5K and re-affirmed his talent and promise as our best frosh runner with a nice 20:12 debut.  Ing and Micro-Spirgel also had big PR's showing this freshman class may grow into some good runners if they keep working.

Shore Coaches - It was a beautiful XC day - cool with the leaves just on the cusp of turning color and a threat of showers.  The course was a bit muddy and slippery and guys came back from their races with muddy shoes and uniforms in need of a wash...

Our Freshmen started the day out on this historic course and ran very well.  Barsoum continues to lead the pack, but the improvement of Ing and Barsoum in particular has been impressive.  This class is putting in the work.  If they keep their miles up the next couple of years I think the future of our program is strong!

The real highlight of the day was the Varsity team.  To be honest, our expectations for this year were not as high as previous years given the senior class that graduated last year.  We entered the season not expecting to make States.  But yesterday proved this is a quality team, with some real character. Inglis went out aggressively, but was not feeling his best.  He gutted out to continue to run as our #1 man.  Then came, quickly, Horten, Howard and Joe Inglis.  Only a 25 second gap between the 4 of them - really a great effort.  Nece had a great come-back race after Tuesday and was our 5th man.

I would have to single our Joe Inglis for a truly break-out race.  He started pushing the pace after the 1,000 meter mark and really led himself and Howard to great performances.  Joe set a PR on the toughest course in New Jersey - breaking 18 minutes for the first time.

Our average team time of 17:53 ranked us far better against other South Jersey teams than we had imagined at the beginning of the season.  Ahead of us were Haddonfield, Lenape, Shawnee, Ocean City and Haddon Twp.  But we were better than Northern Burlington, Cherry Hill East and West, Washington Twp., Lacey, Toms River North, Seneca and Delsea.  You can do your own over-analysis by looking at the results here -  The cool thing is that we can still improve quite a bit...

Our JV team finished off the day with solid races across the board.  Cain was the hero of the race for us, with a near career PR, and the 6th best time on the team and brining home a nice medal.  Some very nice PR's by Hillman, Schlesinger, Gross and Kohart.  Gross in particular has made huge strides from last year.

This is also the time of year that we start to think a bit about who might be able to step up to the Top 7 next year.  Caffrey and Klawunn made some strong statements yesterday.  If they make the commitment to work next summer, along with the other returning runners, it could be a very interesting year...

This Coming Week - 
Tuesday - Batch meet at Northern Burlington.  This is our biggest race of the year from a dual meet perspective.  Northern Burlington has been a tough competitor and if they had run their freshmen in the Varsity race, our results are pretty close from this past Saturday.  We will need to run as a pack and be tough to keep our 2 year unbeaten streak going...

Sunday - (Yes, Sunday!) - South Jersey Open - Delsea.  This is the fastest course we will run on this season and is a great opportunity for some PR's.  We will cut back this week for the Low and Mid groups, although the Varsity will continue to train thru this meet to focus on Sectionals and States. Racing begins at noon.

Special Note - See the article on Jack Inglis in the Moorestown Patch.  Some well-deserved recognition to our hard working senior Captain.