Cross Country 2011
10/29/11 - IHSA Schaumburg Sectional
Well, I can say a couple positive things about yesterday. We have now set a new standard for all of our future teams to aspire towards. The first hurdle was getting a team to Sectionals. The next one is performing well at Sectionals. In all, I don't have much to say about the race, but I am very proud of the work our young men have put forth this season. Over the last four years, ZBXC has demonstrated statistical improvement each year. Our average times have dropped, our invite places have improved, we have more athletes on the team, we train harder and smarter than we ever have, and we've now qualified for the next stage of the IHSA State Series.
As we move towards track, it is important that every athlete approaches their winter training with mileage and intensity they have never reached before. In order for us to accomplish something we've never done before, we need to train at a level we never have before. I would like everyone to start lifting next week during the off time. Lift four days per week, alternating arms and legs. In mid November we will have a meeting for Polar Bear. The official Polar Bear Mileage Challenge will go from December 1st through February 29th, (You get an extra day this year due to the leap year :) ). I am challenging as many men as possible to shoot for the 1000 Mile Club. If we could get 5 - 7 guys running 1000 miles in the winter, we could really get something going!
Thank you for a great season.
10/22/11 - ZBXC Qualifies for IHSA Sectional for first Time in recorded history!
Hi all! I'm so proud of our young men and the effort they've put forth all season. The boys qualified for the IHSA Sectional next weekend at Schaumburg's Busse Woods Forest Preserve. As far back as anyone can remember (or I have records of) we have never accomplished this feat. Way to go boys!
Well, I have never felt the mixture of emotions at a cross country meet that I did yesterday. We came in to the meet rested and I could tell that the synergy of the team was very positive going into this race. The only mid week snafu we had was Trevor DuBois coming down with bronchitis earlier in the week. Thankfully, his resolve to run for his team allowed him to fight for everything he had yesterday, in spite of not being 100%. To provide some perspective on our program's history, as far as I can tell, we have never qualified a team to Sectionals. Ever. Yesterday's race definitely sets a precedent for all future ZBXC teams!
As the gun went off, our boys immediately got swallowed up by the rest of the field. If you watch the video, you can see that our entire team was in the back half of the race by the 100 meter mark. My nerves got the best of me because I know that we generally run our best from the front and have trouble coming back from behind.
Philip Meyer, our top runner was able to slowly work his way up towards the front during the first mile and he was running in 9th place by the mile mark. From there, Andrew Ntim and Isaac Murray, our two sophomores on varsity, were working their way up and I felt confident that they were feeling strong. Trevor DuBois was up in about 35th place, but I could tell he didn't look in peak health. Tim Athans, our fifth man, was going backwards and this was the beginning of a long race for him. Our sixth and seventh runners, Eric Miller and Cooper Steffen, were at the back of the race and were never really in contention.
Over the next two miles, my fears increased as Philip looked to be tiring and his form looked to be disintegrating. Isaac and Andrew were running strong but behind them, our Junior and Senior leaders were out of the race. Trevor managed to fight for everything he had, though, and was able to pass some runners in the later stages of the race.
In the end, our top runner, Philip, was passed by five runners in the last mile to place fourteenth with a 16:34. Andrew and Isaac looked strong in 16:53 and 17:13 respectively. I knew the team was out of the race, though, when Trevor DuBois, our fourth runner, was behind all 7 Mundelein runners. In order for us to qualify to Sectionals, I knew we had to beat Mundelein and it appeared that that was out of the question. Trevor finished in 54th place with a 17:58 and Cooper, Tim, and Eric were three of the last five runners in the race. I knew our hopes of qualifying a team to Sectionals were dashed.
After the race we had a team meeting to discuss how the race went and I was livid. After coming back up the hill to the team camp, I saw DiGrazia sprinting towards me to tell me something. Initially, I didn't comprehend what she was saying, but after she repeated it a few times, I understood. We had qualified for Sectionals. In some quirk of goofy cross country math, we had beaten Mundelein by three points. Since there were only 9 runners in the race who finished at or over 18 minutes, our back four did not hurt our team score as much as they would have in a larger field. Isaac's valiant kick over the last fifty meters to pass at least five guys, including a Mundelein runner, had sealed seventh place for us.
As I've had time to digest the results of the race, my disappointment with the performance has turned to excitement. We have been given a gift to race next week at the Schaumburg Sectionals. The fact that we qualified for next week in spite of running our worst race of the season is a testament to the progress of our team. I am so proud of the work these young men have put forth this season. They committed themselves to being the best that they possibly could, and for that, I am incredibly grateful to be their coach.
The Girls race next week at 10:30 and Boys race at 11:30 at Busse Woods in Schaumburg.
Results of the Libertyville Regional can be seen here.
P.S. Sorry about the video below.....the first scene is out of order and since it takes about two hours to fully upload the video....I'm not going to go back to redo it. :)
10/17/11 - NSC Conference Meet
The highlight of the meet on Saturday was the increased depth that our program demonstrated. Particularly on the JV and FS levels, our athletes dropped enormous amounts of time and showed poise on our home course. I would first like to start off by thanking everyone who helped with the organization of the meet. Particularly, Mr. Bible (ZB Athletic Director) and Coach Davis, played an instrumental role in making it a well run meet! Thanks to all the parents and athletes who devoted time and energy to making the Conference meet a success!
Varsity places 11th out of 14
If you had told me before the race that our athletes would run the times they ran and our team would only place 11th, I would have thought you were crazy. Many teams who we had beaten at earlier points in the season were able to run a smarter race and beat us. At the front of our team, Philip Meyer looked strong and in control as he ran his way to a 9th place finish with a time of 15:44. His time is not only the fastest time a ZBXC athlete has ever run, his 9th place finish is also the highest place finish we've ever had at an NSC race. If he can continue his steady improvement, a chance to race in Peoria on November 5th seems within reach. From there we had a significant gap to our #2 runner Andrew Ntim. Andrew ran a solid 16:40 which was the same time he ran in our dual meet with Mundelein two weeks ago. It was a nice effort, but at the end of the season, we would like to see a closer connection between our #1 and #2 athletes. Our third man was Tim Athans who was back in 16:57. The gap between Tim and Andrew was on 17 seconds, but that equaled 13 points. There were 3 teams within 20 points of our team and if we can tighten up our pack, we will be running on October 29th at the IHSA Sectional. Our fourth and fifth men were Isaac Murray and Trevor DuBois in 17:16 and 17:22. If we can get these two closer to our #2 and #3 runners, we are a different team. Our sixth and seventh men, Eric Miller and Cooper Steffen ran stellar races. Each ran lifetime bests of 17:44 and 17:57, respectively. Eric in particular is a testament to the results of hard work and mileage. Eric ran two minutes faster this year over last year as a direct result of committed summer training.
On the team front, we placed 11th out of 14 teams and were 20 points out of 8th place. As mentioned, teams that we have beaten such as Grant and Lakes were ahead of us on Saturday. We will need to close the gap to gain our first ever birth to the IHSA Sectional.
Open Race leads to Slew of PRs!
I was so pleased with the results of this race. Guys that have been showing consistent improvement all season demonstrated major breakthroughs in this race! Our Frosh/Soph duo of Ryan Jones and Angel Arroyo worked together to seal major PRs. Ryan closed with his first sub 18 clocking with a 17:59 and Angel ran a 40 second PR to run 18:03. From there, Derek Nystrom and Daniel Olvera were our two other sub 19 athletes with an 18:42 and 18:45. A major pack of athletes closed under 20 minutes, three of which for the first time, including: Shawn Watson, Jaime Cantu, Kenneth Caples, and Dakota Burroughs! Our program is demonstrating consistent improvement and the progress of our JV and FS athletes is a testament to our growth. Our Open team placed 11th out of 13 teams.
Results of the meet can be found here.
Pictures and updated Shiloh Park all time results will be posted soon.
9/26/11 - Massive PRs at Warren/Lib Triangular
Yesterday we ran against Warren and Libertyville on Warren's super fast course. We came away with a plethora of PRs and I felt we ran a very strong team race. We came away with two losses, but those do not begin to tell the story of our improvement. In three of our losses this season, we have lost by a combined 14 points. If we passed seven guys in three races, we go from being 1 - 5 to 4 - 2. This team is on the verge of greatness. Keep working hard men and keep your heads up, we're on our way to the top of the mountain!
September 24th, 2011 - JV and F/S Highlight at JT Invite
Cooper Steffen on his way to a near lifetime best 18:47.
Updates - I have uploaded the XC Progression Chart onto the Results tab. I will also upload the JT Invite results when I have a moment tomorrow. Lastly, I added some great pics from the invite that Andrew Ntim took.
Yesterday our underclassmen and JV competed at Camp Henry Horner in Fox Lake. The JT Invite is hosted by Grant High School and they always do a phenomenal job with the meet. The race is run through winding trails and forest and there is significant elevation change throughout the course. We held out our Varsity for this meet and gave our F/S and JV and opportunity to tear it up on this fun course. They did not disappoint. Many of our men walked away with PRs and our F/S improved to 10th/13 whereas last year we were last. (Minor improvement, but improvement nonetheless! :) ).
F/S Race - Sophomore Angel Arroyo took command of this race for our team from the gun. He was right off the lead pack through the first mile but his stamina did not match his enthusiasm and aggressiveness on this day. I loved seeing him attack the race though and get after it. Behind Angel, our pack of Ryan Jones, Nate Pitman, Daniel Olvera, and Dakota Burroughs were strung out. Angel led them through the mile at 5:50 and the rest filed across between 6:06 and 6:19. Dakota came through at 6:31 while Ethan Alfaro and Drake Cleveland looked very strong at 6:44 and 6:58, respectively. Ethan, in particular, ran with a confidence yesterday that I had not seen him run with previously. It was awesome to watch! Over the next two miles, the hills took their toll on our athletes, but they finished with guts and desire. Our top 5 did not PR, but they all ran within 10 - 20 seconds of their lifetime best. Ryan Jones led the way with a solid 18:39 and from there, Angel, Daniel, Nate, and Dakota followed in with 19:23, 19:38, 20:35, and 20:47. On this course, that's almost as good as a PR. Ethan came away with a lifetime PR at 21:15 while Drake came very close to his lifetime with 21:32. It should be noted that Drake ran 25:40 at this race last year! He improved by 4:28 in one year! Phenomenal! These guys are incredibly fun to coach because they have a perpetually positive attitude and are always asking what they can do to get better.
Open Race - We could only race 7 in the F/S race so all of our remaining F/S runners, along with our Juniors and Seniors competed in this race. Of the seven athletes in this race, we came away with four lifetime bests. The biggest improvements went to Junior Shawn Watson with about a 90 second PR to run 21:31, Freshman Jaime Cantu who improved almost a full minute to run 21:57 and Freshman Kenneth Caples who dropped 67 seconds to run 21:44! Micah Bohon also ran a lifetime best of 20:19! The hard work these athletes have put in over the summer and fall is demonstrating itself! Keep putting in the miles gentlemen, the greatest rewards are still to come!
Monday September 19th - tough Losses to Lake forest and Stevenson
We ran the best we could on Monday and we came up just a touch short. We lost to Lake Forest by one point and Stevenson by three. I'm incredibly proud of our young men and I know that we have the work ethic and commitment to persevere and take this team to the next level.
Results can be found under Cross Country Results. I've also posted the Warren Invite Results.
Saturday September 17th - 'PR' parade at Warren
The Fighting Zee Bees came ready to run today at the Warren Invite! Almost every runner ran a nice PR on the fast course at Warren High School in Gurnee. The ground was hard and the temperature was in the mid 60s, combining for some fast times. Our F/S started the day off with PRs coming from 12 out of 13 runners! The biggest time drop of the day went to Freshman Jose Pedraca. Over the past 10 days, Jose has dropped nearly 5 minutes off of his 3 mile time! I'm very proud of all our athletes for the effort they put in today.
Varsity: On the Varsity level, I thought we ran a very nice race as we placed 9th out of 22 teams. Similar to last week, our fifth runner was JD Pitman at a couple seconds over 17 minutes. Some of the highlights from the race include: Andrew Ntim's #1 all time sophomore race on the Warren course with a 16:35. He topped Philip Meyer's time from last year by only one second. Additional highlights were PRs from Trevor DuBois, Isaac Murray, and a massive drop by Eric Miller again! Our point total of 246, though, will need to come down as we get further into the season. Our #1 runner, Philip Meyer, looked a bit tired after coming off a stellar 22x400 workout on Thursday. Nevertheless, he was able to post our #2 all time race on the Warren course with a 16:08 and 24th place finish.
Open Race: Sean Zatz and Cooper Steffen, our two Seniors in this race, really shined today. Cooper bested his lifetime PR with a 18:33 while Sean ran a monster PR to run 19:00. For the record, Sean Zatz ran 23 MINUTES at this race last year! Through months of dedication and hard work, it is REALLY paying off for Sean! Way to go!!!
F/S: Our pack of eager frosh/soph runners got the chance to compete against excellent competition on a fast course today and they definitely took advantage of it. Freshman Ryan Jones ran the #5 all time race for a Freshman on this course with an 18:29. Other highlights include: Angel Arroyo PRing by almost 2 minutes to run 19:11, Daniel Olvera doing likewise in his run of 19:19, Dylan Muma dropping massive time with a 19:57, Drake Cleveland running 21:47, and Jose Pedraca improving ALMOST 5 MINUTES over the last 10 days to run 26:13!!! Way to go Frosh/Soph! You have a bright future ahead!
9/16/11 - Warren Invite Pre Meet Doc
Here is all the info about the meet tomorrow. Location, lineup, and times.
The Thousand Mile Summer
I felt that this achievement needed to be documented, because it has set a precedent for all future ZBXC teams. In the spring of 2011, I first approached our Varsity about the challenge of the 1000 mile summer. Over the 90 days between June 1st and August 31st, I challenged the Varsity to run 12 miles a day, every day. This tall feat initially stunned the team, who had previously run at most 500 miles during the summer. I too, questioned how wise it was to have an athlete of 16-17 years of age attempt this challenge. In spite of our concerns, we set out on June 1st to make ZBXC history.
The summer brought its share of adversity, as the boys experienced a level of exhaustion and mental fatigue they had never previously encountered. The initial group of two athletes (Philip Meyer and Trevor DuBois) persevered through the challenges that 12 miles a day poses. Through family commitments, sickness, and daily struggles, the two pushed on. Meanwhile, the remainder of our Varsity approached the summer training with a seriousness we have never equaled previously. Of the remaining Varsity runners, four achieved at least 700 miles. Isaac Murray, Micah Bohon, and John Ultreras, inspired by their teammates, accomplished the goal of the 700 mile club. Junior Eric Miller pushed himself to greater heights to accomplish 880 miles.
In the end, Philip accomplished the goal with exactly 1000 miles by August 31st. Trevor DuBois managed a heroic attempt at the goal and ended with 950 miles. Dogged by sickness and a lingering plantar fasciitis issue, we decided it was better to maintain health than shoot for the arbitrary 1000 miles. Trevor’s summer is more than 200 miles more than any ZB runner has ever accomplished in the summer.
This group has set a standard of excellence that all future ZBXC teams will aspire towards. Remember boys, in their first 1000 mile summer, legendary York high school only had four boys accomplish the feat. A few years later that number had risen to 17.
As we approach the mid point of the 2011 season, no one is more proud of the dedication these young men have put forth than I am. We are aspiring towards greatness and these men have been a model of excellence for me.
9/13/11 - The Week Ahead - Website Updates
I know guys have been intrigued about recent results. I've gotten the Lake Zurich results posted and the Wauconda Invite results posted under the Cross Country Results tab. I also have some great pictures that Ryan Jones' grandpa took of Peoria that I will upload when I have a moment. ***Note - Pictures are uploaded to Peoria Pictures!***
Practice Schedule for 9/14 - 9/18
Wed - 5:30am - Varsity, 3:00pm - Everyone
Thur - 3:00pm - Everyone
Fri - 5:30am - Everyone
Sat - Warren Blue Devil Invite
9/10/11 - Zee Bees run strong at Peoria
Now that I've had some time to digest the meet (and the Culvers we ate afterwards), I'd like to do a full write up. There were many highlights from our trip to Peoria! This will be a 3 part series: A) Race recaps B) Highlights, and C) 'Remember Whens' from the trip.
Open Race: Our four competitors in this race were: Senior Sean Zatz, Juniors Micah Bohon and JD Pitman, and Freshman Ryan Jones. JD was the highlight of this race for sure as he ran a gutsy and somewhat kamikaze opening mile. In a race of over 500 competitors, JD was leading the race at the mile in 5:03. With an increase in training, this might be a sound tactic, but at this point, it was too fast for him. Ryan, Sean, and Micah were all around six minutes at the mile mark. By the end of the triangle, JD had relinquished his lead and was slipping back through the pack. Freshman Ryan Jones showed poise and strength as his pacing was fairly balanced during the middle part of the race. Ryan closed with a time of 18:38 and with his significant drops in time thus far this season, if he maintains this level of improvement, he could make an impact on our Varsity as early as this season. JD ended up with a time of 17:02, which would have placed him as the fifth man on our Varsity! Micah and Sean fell off significantly from their opening mile, however each was running with his own ailment. Micah was slightly under the weather and Sean has been having lower leg issues that definitely showed yesterday.
9/6/11 - Zion stings Lakes in opening dual
In our opening dual meet of the season, Zion Benton defeated Lakes by a score of 24 to 32. We ran as a pack, fought together, and ran a solid cross country race. Running at the Lakes course, which none of our runners had ever seen before, was handled with poise and confidence. We ran patiently and I'm proud of the effort demonstrated by our young men. There were so many highlights that I may not have time to get them all in, but I'll try.
I think our runners learned a lot about proper pacing and the power of pack running today. They were able to run a PR or near their PR while expending far less energy than normal. We were able to blow the race out of the water in the final mile and win a decisive victory. As nice as it is to get the victory, we must remember our long term goals. We still have 53 days until the IHSA Sectional. There is a lot of cross country racing left in this season before we reach our goals.
On to the highlights! Massive PRs by the following individuals:
-Drake Cleveland (90 seconds)
-Micah Bohon (60 seconds)
-Sean Zatz (85 seconds)
-Shawn Watson (2 minutes)
-Derek Nystrom (2 minutes)
Great job tonight men! Now we get back to work with 5:30 am practice tomorrow morning for the Varsity.
9/1/11 - Deerfield Dual - F/S and JV impress
On Thursday many of our underclassmen and new athletes had the opportunity to race cross country for the first time! It is always such a pleasure for me to get to watch 'green' runners get after it in their first race. I really enjoy this meet because it provides the members of our team who do not race at Lake County the chance to race a 'preseason' meet before we get into Conference competition.
Our F/S raced two miles while the Juniors and Seniors on JV raced 3 miles. Some of the key highlights go to Freshman Ryan Jones who was our top F/S finisher in 13:10, Dakota Burroughs, who ran a very nice negative split to finish in 13:43, and Alex Uriostigue who managed to run five seconds faster during the second mile. With a few more seasons of distance training, this crew could be a power in a couple years!
In the JV race, JD Pitman took the victory with an 18:12. He looked smooth as he ran all alone during the race. A key highlight from this race for me was Micah Bohon and Sean Zatz. These guys have absolutely worked their tails off over the past few years and their dedication is paying off. Micah finished in 21:43, which was 65 seconds per mile faster than the pace he ran the 2 mile in last year! Sean Zatz ran a full four minutes and 35 seconds faster than last year to close in 21:52! Hard work pays off!!!
You can see the full splits below and pictures from the meet here.
8/31/11 - Lake County Invite - Varsity Places 8th/16
On Wednesday, our Varsity traveled to Lakewood Forest Preserve to take on many of the best teams in Lake County. The only two teams that did not bring a team to Lake County were State powerhouse Lake Zurich and local foe Warren. The Lakewood course is as challenging as they come, with rolling hills and uneven footing throughout. Our team placed 8th out of 16, which I feel was about two places behind where we could have scored if we had run a perfect race.
Our pack got out well over the first few hundred meters and we were running as a pack! The lead pack (of which Philip Meyer was on the back end) went through the mile in a leisurely 5:15, and we were right in the thick of the race. Through the mile we were in decent position, but I would like to see our mid pack (Tim, Trevor, and Andrew) get further up. Tim, Trevor, and Andrew came through the mile in between 5:28 and 5:32. They looked strong and in control of themselves, and Tim and Trevor were running in tandem. At the other end of our top 7, Isaac, John, and Eric neared closer to 6 minutes. To give you all an idea of how closely bunched the runners were, between John at 5:52 and Eric at 6:09, (a gap of 17 seconds) there were 28 runners. Over the next two miles, we fell somewhat off pace and I think we fell asleep. Our 5, 6, 7 runners gave up a cumulative 76 points over the final two miles! We need to get mentally stronger over the middle part of the race to achieve the goals we have for ourselves. I have total confidence that we will get there.
There were many highlights from the meet! Philip Meyer garnered his first All County medal with a 12th place finish and 48 second PR on this course! Additionally, he completed the FIRST EVER 1000 mile summer for a ZBXC athlete shortly after the race. The mental and physical toughness he has gained over the summer will definitely surprise some people in our conference this season. Tim Athans and Andrew Ntim improved nicely on their Lakewood PRs with 27 and 42 second improvements, respectively. To culminate the highlights, Eric Miller had the most significant time drop of the day with a 52 second improvement over his time from Conference 2010! We ended the team race in 8th place out of 16 teams. Unfortunately, division rivals Mundelein and Lake Forest out paced us in 7th and 6th place. If we can sharpen our racing skills, we will most definitely give them a run for their money!
Pictures of the Invite can be found here!
I will provide a full recap of our Deerfield Dual meet from Thursday when I have time later on today.
Mon 11/14 - Run
Tue 11/15 - Polar Bear Meeting 2:50pm Room 152/Run
Wed 11/16 -Run/ Fall Sports Awards
Thur 11/17 - Run
Fri 11/18 - Run
Sat 11/19 - Run
Sun 11/20 - Run