Last week brought us a win against Fremd on both levels and then a relatively mediocre showing at the Palatine Invite. On one hand, I’d like to believe that our guys were running on some of the most fatigued legs out on the course. But on the other hand, the guys have to learn to respond even when their body is telling them that nothing is left in the tank.
On Saturday at the Invite, we had ups and downs across the board - a strong individual performance here and there and a lot of guys really working hard to get out fast and get into good position. It was in the second and third miles that guys fell back a bit or weren’t able to push through the field as much as they would have liked. We finished 12th on Varsity, 15th in the Sophomore race, 7th in the Freshmen race, and 15th in the Open race. I told the guys yesterday essentially that their performance was “okay” and “fine” but overall, not great. We talked about the excuses that they could very easily turn to, for example that we ran one of the toughest workouts of our season only two days prior, but part of our sport is silencing those voices in your head that tell you why it’s okay to slow down or quit. So for now, we’re looking forward to our last few races of the regular season. We’re at Hoover Elementary against Schaumburg and Hoffman on Thursday, we have the Stevenson Quad next week Thursday, the Wheeling Invite that Saturday, and then the Conference Championship in two weeks which will mark the end of many of our runners’ 2014 Cross Country season.
This thursday’s meet against Schaumburg and Hoffman will be scored as a dual meet between each of the three teams. We and Hoffman are the only two teams in the MSL West who are still undefeated in division meets so our dual with them will essentially be the MSL West Divisional Championship. Very exciting and very cool that we get to have that showdown at a neutral location on a great course.
I’ve been trying to catch up here for at least two weeks now. Lots going on in the world of BHS Boys Cross Country. I’m going to start from two weeks ago…
Saturday, 8/30/14, 40 quarters workout/fundraiser
I’m actually glad that I’ve waited two weeks to post about our fundraiser because in that time we still only have only about 75% of the guys pledge forms turned in… regardless of what we’re able to collect, I hope that we can get 100% in!
As for the workout, we had a record-setting day on both the front field at BHS with Varsity and the track with Frosh-Soph. For those who don’t already know, the 40 quarters workout puts each runner with a partner and they alternate running quarter mile loops relay-race-style as fast as they can until together they complete 40 quarters or 10 miles total (5 miles each). There were countless impressive performances but the senior team of Konrad Eiring and Kyle Monahan broke our all-time record set two years ago by then-seniors Mike Rappleye and Kerry Frank. Their mark was 47:37 and Konrad and Kyle bested that by 13 seconds, running the workout in 47:24. We were especially happy of this record being broken because the year Mike and Kerry set their record, supposedly our grass loop was only .24 miles… in other words, the “asterisk” is now history. (sorry Mike and Kerry : )
As is tradition, the Freshmen and Sophomores were on the track and their work ethic did not disappoint. Freshmen Nick Laning and Connor Mahoney attacked the workout (probably not quite knowing what they were getting into) and SMASHED the previous freshman record by pretty much two full minutes. They ran 51:16 to dethrone current seniors Konrad and David Tung’s 53:15 from three years ago. It’ll be extremely interesting next year when the two are sophomores and go after the still-standing Sophomore record of 49:27 held by none other than Konrad Eiring and Kyle Monahan…
Tuesday, 9/2, Hersey Dual at Ron Beese Park
We unfortunately lost pretty handily on both levels to Hersey in our first dual meet. This MSL West team over the last few years has been one of the best in the state, having claimed the MSL title last year (after 10 straight years of Palatine holding the crown). Their squad has been led over the last two or three years by many of the same faces we saw on 9/2. They’ve matured into a powerful squad that will be very difficult to beat. That being said, I was extremely happy with how well we battled and kept in it, particularly on the Varsity level, hanging in the race all the way through and ultimately just not quite having the spark to finish hard and pick up the points that were needed to win. We’ll be looking forward to seeing the Huskies again in 5 very short weeks (and also in one week at the Palatine Invite I believe...).
Wednesday, 9/3, Lake County Invite
While most of the team got some easy miles in at our normal 3:00 practice time the day following our dual loss to Hersey, our top 7 met at 5:45am to get some extra miles in before then heading to Lakewood Forest Preserve after school to defend our Lake County Championship title. Konrad, Kyle, Alex Maher, Andy Gensburg, Tate Fisher, Ben Laning, and Kurtis Monahan, ran a surprisingly fast 6-miler as the sun rose in the morning and then after school put forth a great controlled-pace race effort to defend our Lake County title. While they somehow failed miserably at running together as a group (they were instructed to group up with their teammates for at least about two miles and instead ALL ran 3 miles completely by themselves), we were extremely happy to run the race that we did only 24 hours after our battle with Hersey. Pretty sure the hardware we earned was the first of the 2014 school year for the BHS trophy case!
Saturday, 9/6, Practice…
Star Alumni and now very successful collegiate runner at Butler, Erik Petersen, beat the record for the workout we ran on this beautiful Saturday morning when he was a senior. It was previously named “The Big Lebowski.” When Erik beat the record, he was allowed to re-name the workout something that I can no longer put on a school-sponsored website. I am having a hard time finding his time (Gorman, help me out here) but I am pretty sure that Konrad beat it because we were flying… If I get confirmation that Konrad now holds the record, I’ll let you all know the new name of this fantastic workout (3 x (1.5 mile tempo, 1 mile race pace, 800m faster than race pace).
Wednesday, 9/10, Palatine Dual at Ron Beese Park
Anyone who is at all involved in MSL cross country is aware of Palatine High School’s Boys Cross Country dual meet record (the longest such record in Illinois history). When I myself was a sophomore at Barrington, we claimed victory over the Pirates (I believe at both levels which was a very rare occurrence and difficult feat - then-coach George Sladek in his last year was beside himself - in his typically extremely quiet and understated way). I don’t know if anyone beat them through the rest of that season but I do know that after that, Palatine went through 12 or 13 seasons, 75 straight dual meets, of wins without a single dual meet loss. After so many years of attacking them with everything in our being for something so simple as a meet between two teams from neighboring quiet Chicago suburbs, we finally BEAT THEM.
On one hand, the team, coaches, and I don’t want to play up this victory too much because it is only one small dual meet within a grueling season when we will come up several more times against a re-vitalized Palatine team along with many other teams determined to assert their dominance on the field of battle that is Illinois Cross Country. By acknowledging how thrilled we are to have finally snapped this unbelievable streak of wins, are we allowing room for weakness and giving Palatine something to stoke their team’s fire? No, not at all. Chris Quick, Palatine’s head coach for all the years of their unbelievable streak, and every runner who has passed through their program, deserve an unfathomable amount of credit for achieving excellence year in and year out for such an insanely long time. And no one should believe for a split second that this year’s Palatine team is not going to attack us with an unprecedented fervor when we meet them on their own course in two weeks at the Palatine Invite at Deer Grove East.
Wednesday’s meet was won at both the Frosh-Soph and Varsity levels by ONE POINT. Our guys always come out strong to race Palatine but this Wednesday was different from past years. It was as if every Barrington man at every level throughout every point of each race was able to summon something extra from deep down to be able to hang tough longer than normal through our sloppy course and finish exactly the way one hopes to be able to in every race, passing one or two key places in the final quarter mile or even 100 meters. Sophomore Robert Tilly found some sort of ungodly kick at the end of the Frosh-Soph race to pass our two Freshman standouts Nick Laning and Connor Mahoney as well as the two Palatine runners who they had been battling. Those three are a scary trio who are going to be very fun to watch develop.
In the Varsity race, emotion was certainly a factor at the finish with quite a bit of fanfare at the finish from our devoted fans. But ultimately our Varsity win came from every single one of our runners digging deep. Our lead trio of Konrad, Kyle, and Alex Maher tried their darndest to keep within reach of Palatine’s top two runners, four-year varsity stud Graham Brown and emerging star sophomore Brian Leonard, eventually falling into no-man’s-land but securing us a solid/crucial 3-4-5 finish. Following them, it looked through 2-and-a-half miles that Palatine would be extending their streak but then everything came together as a coach can only dream.
Our Andy Gensburg passed their 3-4 duo of Dean Roehrborn and Zach Michael with about 400 meters to go and pushed hard to hold through to the finish to hold his position. Our Senior Captain Ben Laning was the scariest one… he passed Palatine’s fifth and sixth men Daniel Trejo and Nate Izewski in the final 50 meters with a frightening “rage-monster surge” to secure the win. Even senior Tate Fisher, our 6th man for the day, who looked to be about to pass out and fall to the wet, very soft turf of Ron Beese Park’s soccer fields, passed a Palatine man in the final 200 meters against all odds.
We race at Wauconda tomorrow morning with a depleted squad due to ACT testing. Juniors Thomas Herrmann and Scott Williams will get the chance to run in the Varsity race and showcase the hard work that they have been doing consistently since June. We’ll also get to compare our Frosh-Soph race times with Varsity’s for the first time of the 2014 season since they will run the same 3-mile course as our older guys. While we might get some clues tomorrow as to who will represent us in the post-season in only five short weeks, next week’s Palatine Invite will be the true test.
While I play up the importance of a single dual meet against Palatine or any other meet for that matter, it’s so important to put all of this in perspective. We ALL do this because we love to compete and see what we are capable of. We love to see our improvement every week (or even every day) as we grind it out together on the back roads or town sidewalks of Barrington. And in the end, we’ll end up where we’re going to end up, hopefully with tired but satisfied smiles on our faces down in Peoria come November. And then in the years to follow, our runners will come across their once fierce opponents in a small college town or Chicago suburb and shake that opponent’s hand with a mutual understanding of the toils that we put ourselves through during the daily grind of high school cross country. One of my best friends in the world, Brian Brodeur, was on the second-place-in-state-finishing Palatine Pirates team that out-paced me and my 2003 teammates throughout my senior season and began “the streak” so many years ago. I like to think that in a year or three, our 2014 Broncos might share their experiences with those guys they grind it out with in every meet this season. Until then, we’ll keep on tearing ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for every single inch that will bring us closer to whatever we might achieve this season.
First off, thank you to all of the parents who came out to support your sons on Saturday morning as these guys attacked our tough Ron Beese course for the first time this fall. The boys were split into four teams that the coaches made as equal as possible but in the end the group captained by the Monahan twins was victorious (even over the perennial powerhouse Alumni squad led by a Coach Root first place finish - yes I AM giving myself a shoutout). Huge thanks are due to the Lanings and Eirings for organizing a wonderful picnic for all in attendance along with our female team counterparts. I am extremely grateful to these fine folk as they take quite a bit of stress off of my back when it comes to everything NOT quite related to running. And one last thank you to all participants who brought beverages, salads, desserts, hot dogs, brats, manned the grill, and/or helped with the clean-up.
As for the race, our times were not surprisingly slower than what we hope to accomplish in the weeks ahead due to an extremely rough week of training beforehand and sloppy conditions. Kyle Monahan, Konrad Eiring, and Alex Maher led our troops at the front of the pack followed closely by the group of Andy Gensburg, Tate Fisher, Kurtis Monahan, and Garrett Haufschild. Also notably appearing in our top twelve for the day were Freshman Nick Laning and Sophomore newcomer Robert Tilley.
This week will be another tough week of workouts before we finally dive headlong into racing on Tuesday, September 2nd, against the defending conference champion Huskies of Hersey on our home course. The following day, Wednesday, September 3rd, our Varsity squad will travel to Lakewood Forest Preserve for the Lake County Championship that takes place annually at the very beginning of our season.
I mentioned on Saturday that I would include a link to the Co-Curricular Code that was discussed. You can find that link here should you choose to study every minute detail:
For the parents who could not be in attendance for our discussion of the Code, please contact me, Coach Tom Root, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are required to discuss the Code at the start of every season. Hopefully we can find a time at the start or end of a practice during the week to make this happen. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
This is the first post coming across the interweb from Coach Root. I am attempting to get this site back up to date after a slow summer here. My energy over the last couple of months, along with the rest of the team, has been aimed at getting fitter and faster. We’ve been anything but slow…
Captains Eiring and Laning led the charge in June leading the guys down the hugely exciting road that is summer running before a high school cross country season. Interim assistant coach McAuliff (2012 BHS graduate/marathoner/student XC coach at Marquette) and I took over leadership in July for our official summer camp where we saw an extremely competitive ultimate frisbee tournament crown the “Bob Squad” champions of the BHS front lawn, the Alumni (aka Team Fatty) extend their championship streak to five years running in the “Skinny People Throwing Heavy Objects” competition, and thousands of miles logged by young men devoted to bettering themselves and preparing to do battle across Illinois with some of the most strong and fierce athletes our state, and even our nation, has to offer. Across all levels, guys have shown an indomitable grit and dedication that will undoubtedly leave them prepared for it.
This past weekend we returned from our annual team trip to Devil’s Lake, WI, near the Dells where we ran some of our absolute toughest workouts and explored some of the most beautiful trails and areas the midwest has to offer. I’ll be posting a link to some photos asap from that trip so keep an eye out.
These next couple of weeks are back in the hands of our devoted captains and other leaders of our squad during the “blackout period” when I am not allowed to have any contact with the athletes. I ran past the high school track this morning and the guys who were stretching post-run there dutifully scattered from sight… We’ll be back in business August 13th at 3:00 at the BHS track for our first “official” practice of the 2014 season. For those athletes with conflicts such as Band practice which I understand is also at 3:00 for that Wednesday through Friday, we will have an alternate practice time of 7:00am for those three days for those athletes. Coaches Stec, Medansky, Weisenberger, and I will be around as we are available both of those practice times to make sure all athletes are able to start the season off on the right foot at the appropriate level of intensity and mileage based on the work they have done throughout the summer.
We are all anxiously looking forward to getting into the new season and school year. Hope you all have a great next few weeks before we see many of you at the track on August 13th.