2016 XC Gift Guide

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Each year, we have new athletes joining the ranks of Evergreen Vikings Cross Country, and that means new parents who may not be familiar with some of the gear commonly involved with the sport.  With the Christmas season approaching, we thought we would provide this Holiday Gift Guide with some ideas for what to get the runner in your house. Note that these are merely suggestions, not team requirements, and the links provided are likewise simply examples of the items so feel free to shop around for the best deals. Also, for any clothing items intended for races please refer to the OHSAA Uniform Regulations to be sure they meet the color and logo requirements. Our team policy for shirts and tights under the racing uniform is all black.

Knit gloves – During the latter part of the season, it seems you can never have too many pairs of knit gloves. Few of the runners actually wear them during races, but they’re very useful for pre-race and for training runs in October.

Running Hats/Headbands – The 2016 season ended up avoiding any really cold weather, but typically the last several weeks feature lots of chilly runs. There are a variety of options, from ballcap style to beanies to headbands with ponytail holes in the back.  You can find them just about anywhere you find fitness wear.

Running/Compression Socks – Another thing that takes a lot of wear and tear.  Running socks tend to be more breathable than regular cotton socks and can actually help avoid blisters and promote foot stability.

Runner’s World subscription – Runner’s World is a great all around magazine dedicated to the sport. Lots of interesting articles and tips.

RoadID – Excellent safety accessory for those of us who run out on the road regularly. There are several options, including flexband style (think Livestrong) and velcro.  The RoadID basically contains important emergency contact and medical info for the runner. Very highly recommended.

Reflective Running Vest – In our district, very little of our running is done on sidewalks. We run the roads, and sometimes we run closer to dawn or dusk. Reflective gear is always a good idea.

Pepper Spray – Another safety-oriented gift for those long runs out on the country roads. The linked product includes a velcro band to make it easy to hold while running.

Body Glide – Friction is bad. Long runs involve a lot of friction…think inner thigh and chest area. We’ll leave it at that.

Personalized Swag – Always fun to get personalized gear, and this site focuses specifically on running-oriented gifts.

Watch/Stopwatch – While not absolutely required, it is highly recommended runners have some sort of stopwatch to be able to time repetitions and intervals during workouts. It can be as simple as just a wristwatch with a timer function, or a stopwatch like the one linked that has multi-lap recall. It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $50 as long as it has a stopwatch function (some of the athletes even use their phones). The bonus is that they are legal to wear during races.

Compression Sleeves (Leg) – These can be very useful for treating or avoiding shin splints. Shin splints are typically caused by trying to run too hard (or too much) too quickly, and while we structure our training to minimize

Foam Rollers – “I’m SO SORE.” Post-run and post-race fatigue are a hallmark of XC training, and foam rollers can provide an excellent tool for improving recovery and flexibility (see here for a quick example of exercises). Amazon has a wide selection, or you can check with the local running shops.

Training Journal – As distance runners, we can put in a LOT of miles in a season. One of the best tools for improving over time is also one of the most simple: a journal.  Keeping track of runs not only has practical applications in terms of measuring total miles per week, but also mental applications by serving as a means of accountability. It is also very rewarding to be able to look back at past workouts and see progression, and useful to know practical things like a sweatshirt with a compression shirt underneath is too much for a 55F day.

Cold Weather Clothes – Again, during the cooler fall days or early spring days, and especially over the winter, layers are a must. Base layer clothing like long-sleeve compression shirts (think “Under Armor” style) and tights will get a lot of use, and outer layers like track suits, running jackets and windbreaker pants can address a variety of conditions.

Distance Spikes – The terrain we race on is varied and challenging. As with a stopwatch, while not a required piece of equipment a good set of spikes makes a world of difference in high school cross country.  The great thing is that these spikes also work for track, and unlike regular running shoes they’re only worn for races and thus tend to last more than just one season.  Sprinter spikes tend to have a lot of plastic and “nubs” all over the forefoot, where distance spikes tend to have more of a waffle sole with removable recessed spikes. Sets of spikes (or even individual spikes) can be purchased and swapped out according to the conditions (ex – 1/8″ for track vs 3/8″ for a muddy XC course), and they can even be taken out completely to serve as racing flats for a road race.  These shoes tend to be lighter and narrower than regular trainers, so it’s a good idea to get the athlete fitted for them at a running store even if you end up purchasing online.

Training Shoes – This is THE single most important piece of equipment for a runner, and not all shoes are created equal.  Literally all that comes between the runner and the road is the pair of shoes on their feet, and those shoes take a pounding.  Every runner is different, so it’s important to get a pair of shoes that fit properly and provide the right combination of comfort and stability.  While inserts can be a good idea in some cases (especially if you have overpronation because of flat feet and have sports orthotics from your podiatrist), running shoes are designed to provide adequate cushioning and stability for normal running.  Expect to get roughly 300-500 miles out of a pair of running shoes, and it’s recommended that they be used only for running and not for daily wear if possible.  As with the spikes, it’s a good idea to get your athlete fitted for shoes at a running store. A good pair of running shoes will run anywhere from $65 to $115+ depending on what fits best and where you purchase. Ask the coaches if you have any questions.

GPS Watch – One of the most useful training tools to come on the scene in the past ten years is wide availability of GPS watches, and with that wide availability has been a reduction in price for basic models.  The key features that are great for high school runners are total time, total distance, and current average pace.  The last is tremendously useful for mile repeats when you’re trying to hit a target pace and aren’t on the track where the math is easy.  Some function purely as a running watch, others like the Garmin Forerunner 230 can also serve as a daily wristwatch, connect to heart rate monitors, and can even synchronize with a smartphone app.  You can check out the DCRainmaker site for buying guides and great product reviews, and feel free to ask Coach Schwan if you have any questions.

Happy running!

Regional Meet Recap

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Recap: All good things must come to an end, and so our 2016 Cross Country season wrapped up with the girls team competing at the Regional Championship meet in Tiffin. This was a tremendous experience for the girls in so many ways, even though the race itself wasn’t quite what we had hoped.

The day started off with a great send off, including a riotous rendition of the Evergreen Fight Song by the High School Girls Basketball team.  The girls all got flowers and balloons, and supporters lined the walkway from the school to the bus. There were also signs lining County Road 6, wishing the girls well as the bus departed for Tiffin.

Once the team arrived at Tiffin and got settled, we were able to take in the atmosphere a bit.  It certainly helped to have the HS boys team along as it kept the mood light and made it seem a little more like any other meet, and there were several siblings, Middle School runners and other classmates who joined them.  The team had a decent amount of time to walk most of the course, and as they were jogging the final 1000 meters for warm-up they got a great surprise seeing several Evergreen upperclassmen who drove all the way to Tiffin to cheer them on (the excitement led them to finish their warm up a little faster than normal).

The race itself was almost overwhelming. After watching the Division 2 and Division 1 boys races (which featured only twelve and seven teams, respectively), seeing 22 teams and over 170 total runners line up and sprint across the opening field was quite the sight.  Because this was the first time we had ever run this course, it was difficult to know how much the course actually affected the times.  From what we heard from other coaches and runners, times overall were slower than expected, and everyone’s pretty confident the weather actually played a part. With the unexpectedly warm temperatures, it seemed the air was just a little thicker than usual; so much so that an alarming number of runners were collapsing in the final 100 meters of the race.  A significant hill in the final mile of the race certainly didn’t help matters either.

Regardless, the Lady Vikes ran with guts and persistence, and they represented Evergreen at the Regional Championship for the first time since 2007.  As a team, they finished at the back of the pack…but with the experience and hunger this season has inspired, I don’t think any of us will be surprised to see that improve next season.

Here are the results for the High School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
Fritsch Heidi 25:28 166
Fritsch Katie 25:00 158
Garlick Ashley 24:47 154
Kelbold Hannah 28:44 174
McCormick Alexis DNF
Schwan Sarah 21:23 64
Welch Trinity 23:03 118

This was a tremendous experience for our high school runners, and a great way to close out the season.  As we head into the off season, things may be a bit quieter on this site, but we’ll try to keep information up to date here as needed.  Congratulations to all of our Evergreen Viking Cross Country runners on an excellent season!

Full Event Results are available on Baumspage.

 

2016 Team Banquet Info

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It’s time for the Evergreen Viking Cross Country Team Banquet to officially wrap up our year!  The High School and Middle School are not doing a Fall Sports Banquet this year, so we have chosen to do a combined team banquet in our usual team meal style.  Here are the details:

Who: High School and Middle School Cross Country athletes and their families

Location: Evergreen High School Cafeteria

Date: Wednesday, November 16

Time: 6:15pm dinner, recognition and awards to follow

What to bring: We are doing a potluck for dinner, so please sign up to bring something at http://www.perfectpotluck.com/meals.php?t=JENP3552

We look forward to seeing you there as we celebrate the great season these athletes had!

District Meet Recap

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Recap: The District course was tough…but the Vikings proved tougher.  This was certainly the most emotional meet of our season for not only the athletes but also the coaches and parents.  The course itself didn’t necessarily seem slow so much as just not fast. There were some turns in the last mile that were momentum killers, and there was a significant wind on some stretches, but ultimately it just seemed to be a slower race across the board.  The effort level without corresponding PRs seems to bear this out.

The Viking Men came in knowing they were a long shot to advance and looking to simply put up a good fight. They did just that, improving their overall team finish from 14th overall last year to 9th overall this year (and just two points behind eighth place).  This was the best showing the team has had going back to at least 2003 (the furthest back we have records).  Ben led the team once again, just missing qualifying as an individual by less than a second.  It wasn’t for lack of effort by any means; the 16th place runner just had a better kick this day.  Phoenix ran great in his last high school meet, finishing in the Top 25 (compared to 64th last year). Both Ben and Phoenix did an excellent job of getting off to a strong start and then working their way up through the pack. Tom followed up with the only personal record on the boys side, attacking after the first mile in taking over 10 seconds off his second and third miles from the week prior.  You could tell watching him that he was having his best day as he looked strong from start to finish.  Augie has been keeping pace with Tom the last few weeks but wasn’t having the day Tom had, yet he still put together a strong race finishing just 13 seconds off his PR on a day when PRs were tough to come by. Alex got off to a little slower start this week, and though his second mile was the same and third mile was actually faster it wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start in terms of overall time. Chan had the opposite challenge, starting strong but fading a bit in the last mile as the conditions wore on him. Jared split the difference, starting slower then having a great second mile before fading a bit at the end.  The reality is that you rarely ever get everybody at their peak performance on the same day. Conditions and experience worked against us a bit, but it didn’t keep us from a strong showing as a team and it will make these men better runners in the coming seasons.

The Lady Vikes came in with a single goal and focus: qualify for Regionals.  Much as with the previous week at the NWOAL Championship, they came in knowing that they should finish in fourth just by virtue of their previous performances, but gunning for second or third because they refused to settle for a “sure thing.”  While Liberty Benton wasn’t going to be within their reach, Genoa and Riverdale were putting up team averages just a few seconds faster than Evergreen.  We actually ran a “mock District meet” using times from the league meets from the week before. The results were Liberty Benton, Riverdale, Genoa and Evergreen, with Ada a distant fifth.  As it turned out, Genoa brought a very strong performance to beat out Riverdale (although the top four places were otherwise the same), and Ottawa Hills brought a strong race to challenge just nine points behind us in fifth.  Sarah and Trinity both set new PRs despite the tough conditions, with Sarah not only breaking her own sophomore record but also setting a new school record. The duo made good on their goal at the beginning of the season to both qualify for Regionals by finishing ninth and sixteenth, respectively.  Ashley ran strong in the third spot, tracking down several Genoa runners in the last half mile.  Katie would be the first to tell you she didn’t have her best day, but as is the measure of good teams and strong teammates, she held on and fought through to a solid finish knowing her team was counting on her.  The key to holding off Ottawa Hills to qualify as a team Heidi as our fifth runner finishing ahead of their fourth. Heidi showed incredible determination through the second half of this race and it paid off.  Hannah pushed through the conditions to finish just seven seconds off her PR, and Alexis rounded out the team effort with a new PR of her own (her first of this season).

Here are the results for the High School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
Majewski Alex 21:32 71
Mitchey Jared 22:49 78
Pollard Thomas 20:36 52
Ruetz Chandler 21:46 73
Schwan Ben 18:17 17
Tipping Augie 21:10 65
VanOstrand Phoenix 18:51 25
Fritsch Heidi 25:15 40
Fritsch Katie 24:58 39
Garlick Ashley 24:18 32
Kelbold Hannah 26:46 47
McCormick Alexis 28:00 53
Schwan Sarah 21:21 9
Welch Trinity 22:20 16

This was a tremendous day for the Evergreen Viking Cross Country team. The boys finished off their season with the best team finish on record, and the girls met their goal of qualifying for Regionals for the first time in nine years.  Lots of hugs, smiles and tears this day…a great day to be a Viking!

Full Event Results are available on Baumspage.

Up Next: REGIONALS!!!

Regional Meet Info

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Regional Championship Meet Sat. 10/28 (Girls High School)

Results available at http://www.baumspage.com/cc/reg/tiffin/2016/g3.htm

Course maps: Tiffin Regional High School Course

Hedges-Boyer Park
Tiffin, OH 44883
(see parking info below)
$7 spectator charge

9:30am – Bus leaves from High School (est. arrival 11:15am)
1:30pm – Division III Girls Race
4:00pm – Estimated return time
Meet Notes – We are very lucky to be in the Tiffin Regional.  Tiffin hosts one of the largest cross country meets in the country every September, and a bit part of the reason is that the course is excellent.  Whether because of the course itself or because it’s at the peak of the season, this meet brings some of the fastest times for the runners. The varsity girls and coaches are admitted to the meet automatically; all other spectators pay $7 for admission. That includes our varsity boys team, however we are not only encouraging them to ride the team bus with us but the team will also cover their admission.  We expect these boys to qualify for this meet some day, and we want them to get exposure to the experience now.
Spectator Info – This is a fairly spectator friendly course. The start and finish are right in the same area of the park, with the finish actually circling the center field as they come in.  The final quarter mile or so is usually packed on both sides with cheering fans, so it’s a great experience for the runners. As is usually the case, if you’re ambitious and don’t mind some running, you can see the runners on several other parts of the course.  As mentioned above, there is a $7 spectator charge. They have concessions onsite as well as shirts for sale.
Parking – There is no parking at the park itself during the meet and only school transportation will be able to enter the park, so you’ll need to either park on the street (Summit or Coe), the YMCA (Summit) or the United Baptist Church (Coe).

District Championship Info

2015 District boys huddleDistrict Championships Sat. 10/22 (High School only)

Results available at http://www.baumspage.com/cc/dist/2016/index.php

Course maps: Findlay Owens 5K Course

Owens Community College – Findlay Campus
3200 Bright Road
Findlay, OH 45840

10:00am – Bus leaves from High School (est. arrival 11:30am)
1:00pm – D-3 HS boys race
3:00pm – D-3 HS girls race
7:00pm – Estimated return time (updates to be sent via Remind)
Meet Notes – Our high school team traveled down to Findlay on Tuesday to preview this course.  The verdict: it’s a Northwest Ohio course…flat, open and windy.  In other words, it’s what we train on week in and week out.  The weather forecast is calling for highs in the mid-50’s and windy for Saturday. We are at the peak of our training right now as well, so we’ll see how individual performances turn out.
From a team standpoint though, we are very focused.  The girls team has an excellent shot at advancing to the Regional meet in Tiffin next weekend, but it’s definitely not a given.  There are sixteen schools running; eight of them fielded full teams of at least five runners last week at their respective league meets, and only four teams will advance.  Our girls have had this on their radar for several weeks now, using last week’s league meet as a ramp up.  We are in that point of the season now where it’s place or go home, and these girls are very capable of advancing.  That we’re even talking about advancing just a year after we didn’t even have enough runners to place as a team and lost our top two runners to injury tells you how hard these ladies have worked.
While the boys team is much more of a long shot right now, they are still quite focused on competing at their best. As mentioned last week, they are a very young team so this experience will be invaluable to them in the coming seasons. We will give it our absolute best and see where we land.  Last year, we finished 14th out of 15 teams; this year, we’re looking for the type of continued improvement we’ve seen from them throughout the season.
For parents: We are looking to stop somewhere for dinner after the completion of the girls race and receipt of any earned awards.  As such, the bus will likely not be back to the high school until early evening, so please plan accordingly. We will send out information on where we plan to stop, and everyone is more than welcome to join us in fellowship and celebration.

NWOAL Championship Recap

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Recap: What a fantastic way to close out the regular cross country season!  The Viking XC team followed up an impressive performance last week at Hudson with an even more impressive one at the NWOAL Championship Meet.  Out of the 26 runners who participated, we had 20 Personal Records, one season best, five All League performances, four class records and one school record.

The High School girls kicked off the meet with an extremely strong performance. Coming in to the meet, we expected to be competitive with our league rivals, and while a fourth place finish wasn’t quite what we expected it certainly wasn’t because we failed to perform at our best.  Sarah led the Lady Vikes again with a new sophomore record time only a second behind the school record, and in so doing finished atop the NWOAL Second Team All League team. Trinity followed up by tying her season best time just six seconds behind the junior record, putting her at the head of the NWOAL Honorable Mention All League team. Katie and Ashley turned in their usual strong PR performances, with Ashley returning from injury to take almost 40 seconds off her time. Heidi provided one of the most exciting results of the day, smashing through a PR that had stood since her sophomore year prior to injury. She has worked and fought throughout this season, and it was great to see her finally push through to her best run.  Hannah continued her dramatic improvement, taking another full minute off her PR (she has now dropped 5 minutes from Defiance), and Alexis rounded out the Top 7.

The High School boys followed the girls with another great effort in a very crowded field that was almost double the size of the girls race.  Ben bettered his own freshman record in earning a place on the NWOAL Honorable Mention All League team. Phoenix bettered his own PR as well, finishing in the Top 25 in his last NWOAL meet. Kyle PR’d with his second straight sub-20 performance, and Tom and Augie worked together to break the 21-minute barrier for the first time.  Alex ran his personal best for the sixth straight meet, and Chan axed another 41 seconds off his PR. Jared fought through a pretty tough race, just ahead of Ashton who returned from injury to set a new PR. Gavin and Pete finished us out for the Viking Men, with each just missing their personal best from the week before. Overall, the men moved up a spot from last year, finishing in 7th place despite having one of the youngest teams on the course.

Here are the results for the High School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
Majewski Alex 21:10 70
Mitchey Jared 22:52 83
Pollard Thomas 20:55 65
Rhodus Gavin 23:58 88
Ruetz Chandler 21:18 71
Schwan Ben 18:02 16
Simon Pete 26:27 91
Smith Kyle 19:34 45
Tipping Augie 20:57 68
Utz Ashton 23:20 86
VanOstrand Phoenix 18:33 25
Fritsch Heidi 24:48 35
Fritsch Katie 23:52 30
Garlick Ashley 24:01 31
Klebold Hannah 26:39 40
McCormick Alexis 29:52 45
Schwan Sarah 21:24 8
Welch Trinity 22:32 15

The Middle School runners took the cue from the High School and ran their best.  Kayla took the top spot for the Viking Girls again, taking an impressive 23 second off her previous mark to set a new school record. Kennedy was hot on her heels the whole race, bettering her 8th grade record by an incredible 38 seconds and joining Kayla in claiming NWOAL All League honors. Jolie battled through significant cramps throughout the race to take another 6 seconds off her PR, bringing her total improvement since the beginning of the season to an incredible 6:30!  Izzy rounded out the girls’ effort by taking over minute off her own PR.

For the boys, Chris and Evan again pushed each other from start to finish, with Chris just edging out Evan in the final sprint for a 32 second PR that was over two minutes better than last year’s NWOAL time. Evan was finally able to break through and set a new personal best after chasing all year after last year’s gutsy league meet effort. Owen ran a very strong race, breaking the 15 minute barrier for the very first time, and Will held on despite having an off day to post his second best time ever.

Here are the results for the Middle School:

Last Name First Name Finish Place
Barkhimer Izzy 16:49 43
Gleckler Kayla 13:04 10
Huffman Jolie 16:12 39
Keller Kennedy 13:09 12
Bryson Owen 14:56 48
Hartzell Chris 14:12 37
Pennington Evan 14:16 39
Thomas Will 15:41 52

Again, what a way to close out the regular cross country season.  Great performances all around.

Full Event Results are available on Baumspage.

Up Next: The High School teams travel to Owens CC Findlay campus for the District Championship, with the top four teams and top 16 individuals advancing to Regionals in Tiffin.  Our girls team has an excellent shot at advancing for the first time since 2007, so stay tuned for more information!