The Osage Invitational is by far the most difficult cross country course our team has ever seen. I knew we were taking a gamble with adding a new meet to our schedule instead of running at the Clear Lake meet this week. I was not prepared for the level of challenge it would be. None of us were! That being said, as a coach, I think it's a great addition. We need a challenging course on our schedule, and this meet happens early enough in the season that we will reap the benefits of the training it provides.
The monster hill (repeated twice), rocky trail, and sharp curves on the Osage course were different from anything we've ever experienced. Humboldt is the closest we ever come to an actual "trail run" and that pales in comparison to what we ran last night. Before the races even started, I knew we would run some of our lowest times of the season because of the difficulty level. I was (unfortunately) right.
So, shout-outs this week go to everyone who ran at Osage. You survived! You pushed beyond anything you've ever done before. I can unequivocally state that the absolute hardest race of your season is now over.
Just as I said last week, times aren't worth talking about. We have no comparison for what a "normal" time would be for us on a course like that. We went from our easiest course (Belmond) to the hardest (Osage) in the span of a week. If I was making a line graph of our times right now, instead of the neat downward line that a typical season follows, our current season looks like a two-year-old's coloring book scribbles. A visual:
With more familiar (easier) courses for the rest of the season, I'm hoping we'll get back to something a little more predictable. Humboldt (Monday) is the most physically challenging course left on our schedule. After last night, it should feel like nothing.
Major kudos to Hayden Klaver and Alex Rosenbaum for medaling last night in 11th and 12th place for the Varsity Boys race! I was impressed with all of the boys and their ability to stay somewhat consistent with time on the tough course. Hills are the runner's version of strength training, so it's natural for men to perform better on hills. Our boys placed 3rd out of 11 teams last night.
For girls, we had a rough night that put us in last place. Stephanie Castro (Peanut) and Courtney Harle are both battling injury. Courtney's fracture takes her out for the rest of the season, and Peanut's knee is TBD. For next week, that means Kayleen Johnson and Natalie Kirstein will step up to Varsity to fill out our roster.
Thank you to the parents who traveled all the way to Osage to cheer. We have the best fans in the world! A big thank you to Alissa Nebbe for sending me copies of our XC Family photo. If any parents ever want to email photos of the team or action shots, I would love to have more to post here each week and forward on to the newspaper.