I am so proud of our Varsity runners and the way they ended their season on Thursday, October 20, 2016. Every single boy and girl hit their season best time, many setting their CGD XC career-best times. That kind of performance tells me that each and every one of them left everything they had on the course. It's any coach's hope that runners will perform their best at the end of the season, and these runners did not disappoint.
To show the phenomenal growth these runners have shown this season, here's a record of their first time of the season (SE Valley Invitation on 8/25) compared to the last:
Katherine Lopez: 30.52 to 24.41
Maya Jackson: 29.49 to 24.47
Kayleen Johnson: 29.08 to 25.05
Brenna Harklau: 27.24 to 25.28
Kylie Klaver: 30.56 to 25.39
Angela Castro: 26.53 to 25.50
Myriam Carrillo: 31.44 to 26.38
Max Powers: 20.19 to 18.18
Alex Rosenbaum: 20.26 to 18.48
Luke Rapp: 20.18 to 19.08
Hayden Klaver: 20.34 to 19.28
Vegard Lauritsen: 20.49 to 19.31
Dakota Hennigar: 25.25 to 21.46
Logan Robertson: 27.17 to 22.04
The times show that these runners have so much to be proud of with their progress over the season, but that's only part of the story. Yes, I'm thrilled with the progress I saw in each runner this year, but even more so, I'm proud of all of the other things I saw that have nothing to do with their times. This group welcomed new runners, whether they were freshman, or upperclassmen who had never gone out for cross country before, with open arms. They supported and cheered each other on every step of the way. We say that cross country is a family, not a team. That's not just talk. We show it in the way we treat each other, and anyone who joins this family can see the difference.
It's bittersweet to end the season, but I'm already looking forward to next year. On varsity, we will return six of our boys and five of our girls. That will make for a strong, experienced group if we work hard and build a strong base over the summer.
Thank you to everyone who supported CGD Cross Country this year. We had more fans (parents, students, and teachers) show up to our meets than ever before. We know it's not easy to make it to meets, and we appreciate how much our loyal fans care. Thank you for another amazing season!
We could not have asked for a more perfect evening at NCC on Tuesday, October 11.
For Varsity girls, our two Freshman runners had stand-out performances. Katherine Lopez continued her pattern of continual progress to clock in at 26.01. It is exceedingly difficult to cut time at every single meet of the season, and Katherine is the only runner on the girls' side who holds that honor for this season. Kylie Klaver also posted a season-best 26.4. I am so proud of both of these ladies for the progress they've made in their first high school season. Brenna Harklau also ran her best of the season at 26.47. Even better, she ran without feeling sick, which has been a season-long goal for her! Rounding out varsity were Maya Jackson (26.33), Angela Castro (27.21), Sid Magee (27.53), and Kayleen Johnson (28.02).
JV girls finished their season strong. Myriam Carrillo ran a 27.50, which will place her on Varsity for Districts. Ami Martinez held steady at a 30.03. Jade LaRue ran a 29.19. Maya "Cupcake" LaRue ran a 29.30, setting her best time of the season. Evelyn Tevalan came in at a 33.24, and Alondra Aragon at a 31.03. I am so proud of the work the JV girls put in this season. Notable improvement goes out to both LaRue girls. Cupcake took nine minutes off her time from beginning of season to end. Jade improved by five minutes. Most runners are able to take off two-three minutes over the course of a season, so these were exceptional gains.
Varsity boys had another strong night. Max Powers shaved a second from his time last week for an 18.48. Alex Rosenbaum came in right behind him at an 18.49 for the best performance of his career. Luke Rapp (19.18) and Vegard Lauritsen (19.56) held steady, and Hayden Klaver came in at a 20.58. Dakota Hennigar battled a strained back with a 22.26.
Logan Robertson ran a 22.56 for his career-best, which will put him on Varsity for Districts. Cristian Tamayo ran a 25.06.
We have come so far this season. I can't believe Districts is right around the corner. Girls will run at 4 and boys at 4:30 at Garner on Thursday, October 20th.
The rain did not stop the CGD Cross Country team from doing well at Eagle Grove. While being considered "Class A" and running against much larger schools made for unimpressive team rankings, most of our runners continued to show the staggering progress that happens at this time in the season. We took a complete day of rest the day before the meet, and the beginning of our end of season taper is working nicely for most of our runners.
Maya Jackson (25.47), Katherine Lopez (26.15), Brenna Harklau (26.52), Myriam Carrillo (27.28), and Jade LaRue (28.53) continued to show major improvements. Kylie Klaver had another significant drop (26.55) that will put her back on the Varsity roster for NCC next week.
Max Powers (18.49), Luke Rapp (19.10), Vegard Lauritsen (19.34), Hayden Klaver (19.35) and Cristian Tamayo (22.55) all posted personal records, some smashing bests from just last week.
We are headed back to Mayne's Grove in Hampton on Tuesday the 11th for the North Central Conference Meet. We run well there, and I'm excited to see how we perform on one of our favorite courses.
Take everything I said about the Humboldt meet and reverse it for Hampton. Meaning, we love running at Mayne's Grove! Both this year and last, we had major breakthroughs at the H-D Bulldog Invitational. As much as we psych ourselves out for Humboldt, I think we psych ourselves up for Hampton.
This meet is the perfect storm for success for a few reasons, but the most important is probably that it's just the right time. The temps and humidity have dropped, the training is at the right spot, and the course is fun, flat, and fast.
What isn't there to say about a meet where 18 of our 20 runners ran their best time of the season? And five of our returning runners ran the best times of their careers!
On the Varsity girls side, Maya Jackson took two minutes off her time for a 26.02. Katherine Lopez showed a similar drop by taking 90 seconds off her previous for a 26.47. Kayleen Johnson (27.19) and Brenna Harklau (27.11) both continued steady drops to earn their best times of the season so far. Senior Myriam Carrillo had a stunning 3-minute drop to earn her a career-best of 27.59.
JV girls all dropped at least two minutes from their times, with Kylie Klaver leading the pack with a 28.08. Alondra Aragon made her season debut this week, coming back from an early season injury with a 30.43.
The Varsity boys took 4th place as a team, with all of them clocking their best times of the season so far. All of our Top 5 boys finished within one minute of each other, making this coach thrilled, if not a little frazzled. Max Powers led with a 19.02. Luke Rapp was close on his tail with a 19.12. Alex Rosenbaum hit 19.32. Hayden Klaver found his career-best time of 19.57, breaking the 20-minute for the first time. Vegard Lauritsen ran a 20.18.
All three JV boys also hit their best times: Dakota Hennigar at 22.1, Logan Robertson at 23.09, and Cristian Tamayo at 23.25. I am continually impressed by the effort and attitude all of these boys display week in and week out. They make coaching easy.
We will be back at Mayne's Grove in Hampton on Oct. 11 for the North Central Conference Meet, and I know we're all excited to run NCC on our favorite course this year.
Next up: the Dick Bell Invitational at Eagle Grove on Tuesday the 4th. We would love to have as many fans as possible in this meet since it's close to home!
I'm always weary of the Humboldt meet at Sheldon Park because of two words: Big Bertha. Not the hill itself, which is just as awful as the kids describe it, but because of what that hill has come to mean to our kids over the years. Sometime, long before I took over, CGD kids decided that Humboldt and "Big Bertha" are the hardest part of our season. We can get past most things as runners, but mental blocks are the toughest to overcome. Very few of our runners were able to get through the race last night without allowing the idea of Big Bertha to hold them back. Whether it was conserving too much energy in order to "save up" for the big hill, or just simply allowing the steepness of it to overwhelm them and set back the entire race, this course and its infamous hill psyched most of us out. Big Bertha aside, the course at Sheldon Park is easily the most difficult out of any of the locations we run.
People who thrived on the hills last night: Kayleen Johnson with another stellar drop down to a 27:52 (previously 28:38). Brenna Harklau looked good at 28:05 (previously 29:12) after a few weeks of tough races and battling nerves. Katherine Lopez continues to drop her times each week, coming in at 28:15 (previously 29:12). Myriam Carrillo ran a 30:52, which was good enough to bump her into a Varsity spot for next week at Algona. Marlud Landeros took a minute off her previous time with a 36:16.
Our Varsity boys continue to battle each other for placement each week. All five are currently within one minute of each other. This makes it a little chaotic for me to scribble down times at the finish line! Last night, Vegard Lauritsen continued to work his time down with a 20:46 (previously 20:29). Hayden Klaver had a huge night, hitting a 20:30 for his best time of the season.
Next week is a busy one, with Algona on Monday and Hampton on Thursday. Last year, those two meets were where we were able to break some barriers with our times. I'm hoping the same happens this year, especially since our boys are consistently running faster than they were at this time last year. Algona will feel flat after last night, and I look forward to it being a course where everyone can show major improvement.
Writing a recap of this meet would be more like writing a weather disaster report. Since the timers abandoned their posts to call off the meet sometime midway through the girls Varsity race, I started pulling our girls off the route and onto the safety of the bus.
I never received official word on the cancellation of the meet, and was generally disgusted that they had even allowed the Varsity race to start considering the rapid downturn in weather and the obvious danger from the radar. They should have known better and the decision should have come long before we still had girls out on the course.
Thank you to all the parents who came in the nasty weather to support your athletes, even though most didn't have the opportunity to run. We appreciate it that you are with us through it all!
The weather was definitely not in runners' favor on Tuesday, August 6th for the Belmond meet. Heat and thick humidity, combined with threatening storms made this a night where I didn't expect much in the way of good times. Full disclosure: I told the runners beforehand that these were not ideal conditions, and that I'd rather have them save energy than risk hurting themselves in the heat. Despite the terrible conditions, we still had a few runners who thrived.
For Varsity girls, Kayleen Johnson (28:38), Katherine Lopez (29:12), and Kylie Klaver (29:30) all had their best runs of the season so far. Both Kayleen and Kylie took a full minute off their times from the previous week, proving the humidity would not stop them from finding success!
For JV girls, Marlud Landeros (CAL) made her season debut. We are so thrilled to have Marlud back with the CGD Cross Country family even though she is now a student at CAL!
Max Powers took the lead for Varsity boys this time around, with his season best (19:28). Vegard Lauritsen made his debut, running a 20:49 in the JV race, which was strong enough to earn him a Varsity spot for our next meet. Logan Robertson (JV) continues to be one of our runners showing the most consistent improvement from week to week, with a career-best of 25:00.
I'm looking forward to cooler weather (or at least less humidity) to get a more accurate read on how we are progressing as we get into the heart of the season. I'm also thrilled that we are staying injury-free so far this season, with only the usual suspects (shin splints) showing up to create discomfort. We've been running smart and listening to our bodies, and that seems to be keeping everyone running happy and healthy.
On Tuesday, August 30th, the CGD Cross Country teams competed at the Lynx Invitational in Webster City. The late August heat was still a factor for many runners, but many runners saw great improvement over the season debut from the previous week.
On the boys side, Luke Rapp (CAL) came in strong with a 19:44. This was a 30-second improvement over his time from last week, and only six seconds shy of his best time from last season. Max Powers came in strong at 19:52, which was also a 30-second improvement over last week. Alex Rosenbaum was right on his heels with a 19:55, another 30-second improvement. These three boys have been pushing each other in practice and you can see the results of that work in their early season progress. Hayden Klaver posted a 21:08, slightly off from his debut. Huge progress came from all three of our less-seasoned runners. Dakota Hennigar hit a 23:39 (down from a 25:25); Cristian Tamayo came in at 24:27 (previously 25:03); and Logan Robertson made his career personal record with a 25:21 (last week: 27:17; previous PR: 25:36). As the 5k distance becomes more familiar to each of these runners, I look forward to seeing what they will accomplish!
On the Varsity girls team, Angela Castro came in at 26:35 (30-second improvement). Sid Magee was right behind her with a 26:38 for her season debut. Notable improvements on Varsity came from Maya Jackson with a 28:02 (down from 29:49), Katherine Lopez with a 29:37 (down from 30:52), and Kylie Klaver with a 30:30 (down from 30:56). Brenna Harklau and Kayleen Johnson had an off night with some sickness during the race affecting their times.
On the JV girls side, we saw major improvements. Myriam Carrillo came in at 31:03 (down from 31:44), Jade LaRue posted a 32:02 (down from 33:55), Ami Martinez made her season debut with a 32:05, and Maya LaRue had a stunning 4-minute improvement over last week with a 34:10.
Overall, the runners are showing improvement much earlier in the season than we did last year. With rain in the forecast, I'm hoping we can keep our strength and endurance up even if weather isn't cooperating.
We started the 2016 CGD Cross Country season with a hot night at the Gowrie Golf Course.
Since this meet does not distinguish between Varsity and JV, it's a nice start to the season to give everyone an equal chance to earn their spots going into the next meet. The course is relatively flat compared to many of the others we encounter during the season, so I admit I was hoping for better-than-average times. Unfortunately, the late August heat wasn't cooperating with my wishes!
Our boys started strong. Luke Rapp (9th place), Max Powers (10th), Alex Rosenbaum (13th), and Hayden Klaver (15th) all finished close to what they set as their preseason goal times. I had hoped these boys would do well considering they are all coming back with Varsity experience, and they did not disappoint. Having four of our boys finish in the top 15 was a pleasant surprise, and I can't wait to see how they progress as the season continues. Logan Robertson was able to post a time consistent with his work from laster year. Special shout out to Dakota Hennigar and Crisitan Tamayo, both running their first cross country race ever. These boys stuck it out, and now that they have a taste for what the distance is like, I know they'll continue to drop times and adapt to the mental game of distance running.
The girls race was a little stickier. Angela Castro pushed for a 25th place finish as our medal winner for the night. Since we had five of our Varsity girls graduate last year, the roster this year is anyone's game. The heat kept our girls from performing up to their goals, and we definitely have work to do to be competitive. One thing is absolutely certain: I am thrilled with the attitude and mentality of all of these young women. We have hard workers with positive attitudes, and that makes me excited to see what they can accomplish with a little more practice under their belts.
Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, and CGD students (Meleah, Phoebe, and Sarah!) who made the trek over to Gowrie to cheer us on.
I think Dakota summed up the magic of this sport best when we talked after his race. He told me that people he didn't even know (parents and athletes) from other schools were cheering for him along the entire race, and it was something he wasn't used to in other sports. That positive energy and wonderful crowd support is just one of the things that makes cross country so special!
Our teams had a great finish to their season last night at Dike.
Seven of our runners ran personal bests (Mekenzie, Angela, Sid, Myriam, Max, Alex, and Luke), putting their all into their last meet of the year. Our seniors ran with heart on their last night as a team, and I'm excited to see how our strong sophomore group will continue to improve over the next two years. Girls placed 9th out of 12 teams, and boys placed 12th out of 15. Each individual runner has a lot to be proud of.
Congratulations to Mekenzie Alberts for placing 11th overall and qualifying for the State Cross Country Meet in Fort Dodge on Saturday, October 31st. We would love to have as many people from the CGD community come out to support her, especially with the meet so close to home!
It has been a fun season and an excellent learning experience for me as a coach. I'm looking forward to building this program over the years and continuing to help our runners achieve their personal goals. I cannot adequately express the immense satisfaction there is in seeing so many of our runners hit their personal best times at the district meet. We worked hard this year, and while we have a long way to go to be competitive at the team level, we achieved so much as individuals over the course of the season.
Thank you again, always, to our parents and community supporters. Your cheering, snacks, photos, and support mean everything to all of us.
Thank you to this great team of kids for pushing yourselves and doing everything I asked of you, even when you didn't feel like it. Achieving goals takes dedication and effort, especially on the days when you feel you've had enough. Thank you for working through it all and discovering what you're made of. Running is a gift that stays with you far beyond high school sports. It's an activity that can bring you joy for a lifetime, and it was a pleasure to share part of your running journey with you this year.