Thursday @ North Suburban Conference Meet:
Once again, Mother Nature insisted on being a factor at a meet. When we arrived at Lake Zurich, the weather could only be described as dreary. A light drizzle was falling, and the temperatures were not ideal. What impressed me was that I did not hear a single distance runner complain; instead, you all made fast work of setting up the tent--along with your other teammates--and settled in to stay warm for a bit. Thankfully, the rain finally left the area, as the field events began, but a chilly breeze replaced the precipitation. Thankfully, you all are pros at warming up and staying that way pre-race, and I knew that you would not let the weather become a factor for the day. Thank you for keeping that "All weather is ZB weather" mindset!
Our JV 4X800 started the running events for the day. Delilah, battling the 800th round of the flu that has hit our team, battled bravely as our lead leg. She handed off to Angie who ran a solid race...a PR as a relay split! She passed the baton to Elyssa--who is slightly further in the flu-recovery process than Delilah--who looked strong. She ran close to her season PR, and looked aggressive the whole race. Aubrianna was our anchor and looked sharp. Not only did she run a huge LPR, but she also finished strong by running pretty even splits (92/96). This group beat my predicted seed time by a second, and they worked well as a unit. Nice work, women! Our Varsity 4X800 also beat the seed time, setting a season PR of 11:31. Mary ran a strong first leg--ignoring her stuffy nose--finishing a second off of her season PR (2:45). She handed off to Carmen who had that Carmen look the whole way. She pushed hard to keep us in the scoring mix, finishing in 2:59. Kaila had a nice break through today. She did it by focusing on the race and reeling people in aggressively. These tactics helped her set a new season PR of 2:48--nice work! Finally, Angie brought us home with a gutsy race. She battled the Stevenson runner valiantly, finishing in 3:00. Overall, this was a solid race, and I am excited to see what this group can do next week!
The 3200 was next, and Karen ran in the JV heat for us. Pre-race, both Vic and I were concerned because Karen's body language did not portend a strong race. As soon as the gun sounded, she proved us wrong. She darted to the front, doing battle with the front-runners for most of the race. She came through the mile in 6:47 (near her season PR), and looked great for her final kick. Overall, she definitely had the race of the day, looking gutsy for all 8 laps, and finishing with a brand new LPR of 13:59.18 (FAT). I know that if she is feeling healthier at Sectionals (also a flu-victim), she will be able to shave off even more time. Proud of your effort, Karen! Vic was in the Varsity race and ran near her lifetime (13:13), and kept battling to make contact with her pre-race plan. We had a great talk post-race about getting back to basics this upcoming week, and I anticipate that she will have an amazing race at the Sectional, reminiscent of her awesome Regional and Sectional finish during XC.
In the open 800, we had two JV racers: Emily and Jenny. They got out strong at the start, and Emily made some smart moves on the back stretch to push herself out of her comfort zone. She ran a pretty even race (90/98) and looked great in her kick. She was rewarded with a huge LPR of 3:08. I'm really proud of Emily's progress over the course of this season; she has grown so much as a runner! Jenni looked great during her race as well. She was a little uneven (97/1:51), but I love that she got out so aggressively. With another year of experience, she will be able to hold that pace next season! She finished with an open 800 PR, only seconds away from her relay PR. Nice work, Jenni! Our Varsity racers--Kaila and Natalie--also looked strong. Kaila put in a solid day's work, running only 4 seconds off her relay time and finishing with a great kick. Natalie, in her only race of the day, set a new LPR by kicking hard and staying focused throughout the race. This freshie keeps improving, which is what we want!
By the time we got to the mile, the temperatures were definitely chillier, but our racers were ready to go. Di and Aubrianna were in the JV race. Aubrianna made some early moves that helped pull Di along--great team racing! Di beat her season PR, looking strong in 7:09. With a longer kick, she can definitely break 7 (hint--come next Monday for that last chance TT!). Aubrianna--after a PR earlier in the day--had a strong race to match her lifetime PR of 7:15. Overall, these two fed off each other to make for solid racing. In the Varsity heat, Mary and Jayla got out well and looked aggressive in the first half. Mary's illness and Jayla's knee definitely got in the way of PRs, but they both battled well in the latter half of the race. I know that with a little rest, both of them should look sharper at Sectionals.
Finally, we had a strong showing in the all-distance JV 4X400. Jenna started us strong with a zippy 81, looking great for the whole race. Elyssa, taking the place of an ailing Delilah, ran a strong second leg for us. Her turnover was great, and she finished with a split of 82. Ashley was our 3rd leg, looking open and strong the whole way, pushing for a poppin' 84. Angie was our closer with a zesty 83. Overall, I could not be prouder of this group. They had my adrenaline pumping because they were all ready to take on the challenge of the race, and their positive mindsets shined the whole way. All four women set LPRs in their races, which is all a coach can ask for!
Overall, I was pleased with our efforts at the meet, but I am not yet satisfied. Saturday's workout made me hungry for more. I know it was short, but it really showed me that you are ready to run FAST. I loved watching you all fly down the back of the track and whip around the last curve to the finish. You are simply ready to have some great races. Your job this week is to let your mind match your fitness.