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8 of the last 9 Championships!

I have been coaching track and cross country at Hillview Middle School since 2001. The first couple of years we had some successes in some of the divisions we contested: 7th grade boys, 7th grade girls, 8th grade boys and 8th grade girls. Since 2003 our League Championship has included an “Overall Champions trophy” for the highest total points in all 4 divisions. After yesterday’s championship meet, Hillview has won this overall championship 8 of the 9 times.  This year’s competition was not closely contested.  Hillview won with 419 points. Del Sur was second with 270!

The lopsided score came from the 7th grade girls and 8th grade boys divisions. All season long, these two groups won handily. The 8th grade boys have solid competitors in all events. The standout would be Camden Smith. He was our top distance runner and remained undefeated in the 800 and 1600 all season. His times were not all that exciting as he did not seem interested in trying to go for any personal records or time goals. He just went out with the leaders each race and outkicked em at the end – every time. The pattern held true at the finals as he won both the 800 and the 1600. He also anchored the 4 x 400 relay team with a 60.13 second final lap. The team narrowly missed the Hillview record. The 8th grade boys won their division yesterday 103 to 59!

The 7th grade girls were even more dominating. This squad accomplished the rare feat of winning each and every individual event contested – but not the relays. Shilah Beddingfield won the 100m. An outstanding young athlete named Devan Valentine won the 200, the 400, the long jump and the high jump. Makayla Maish won the shot put. My distance star – Tyra Florence has won her races by 10s of meters all season. She won the 1600. Now I attempted something I almost never do with Tyra. She wanted to race Devan in the 400 and we were not sure who would win. Of course this would affect her 800 if she did. But, since she was winning all of her races handily we let her give it a try. We even had her try the combinatiDon in a practice meet and she held up well.

Several factors stacked up against Tyra’s 800 yesterday.  First was that it was in the mid 90s. The second was that it was the first head to head race with the two girls and they really battled. Devan won with a 66.5 to Tyra 67.1.  Another problem for Tyra was that at the championship race there is only one heat of each race. After her 400, there were 3 more quick 400m races and then it was suddenly time for her 800. (At the practice meets with 3 heats of each race there was much more time for recovery.) Yesterday at the start of the 800 Tyra was not recovered.  Still she took off on the first lap and developed her usual big lead.  The final problem for Tyra was that I had thrown in a worthy competitor from our own team. Kristine Mendoza, our XC #2 girl grabbed the second position. A couple other girls challenged Kristine and Kristine matched every challenge. The 3 of them raced and battled and went faster and faster. Meanwhile Tyra faded. In the last 10 meters the three caught and passed Tyra. Kristine strongly finished off the other two for the win.

Going into the championship, the 7th grade boys were undefeated. We really expected them to remain so. In retrospect however, they were winning the smaller practice races with lots of lower placing points and some wins in the distance events. At the finals, though Herschel Smith was up against some 7th grade boys that appeared from Piute and Cole. These boys looked like they could have driven to the meet. In any case, Herschel hung on for a second in the 1600 and another of my boys Andrew hung on for a second in the 800. We got very few points in the sprints, though. The team took 2nd place with 72 points to Del Surs 88.

The exciting division competition of the afternoon was the 8th grade girls. Our 8th grade girls were narrowly loosing to Del Sur each time they faced each other in the practice meets. I studied the results and came up with what I thought was our best hope to make up an extra 8 or 10 points. I believed that if my distance runners really had their best day they could make the difference. Going in our best girl, Meg Carter had been winning the 800 and 1600 each time, but the Del Sur girls had been evening out the total points in these races by placing 3 girls in the top 6. I had a talk with my #2 and #3 girls Brenna Amis and Hannah Stubbs. I gave them by best pep talk and assigned them to beat ALL the Del Sur girls. Lap by lap, meter by meter the two of them worked their way forward. Meg had grabbed the lead beginning the second lap and she built a lead and kept it. Brenna and Hannah though worked forward. Sure enough Brenna got by them on the last curve. Hannah waited for 100meters and outkicked the last one. Meg won! Brenna #2 and Hannah was #3! The Del Sur girls were 4, 5, and 6 but that event gained us 15 points on them. The other key strategy change was to pull two of our sprinters out of the 4 x 100 believing the team could still take second. The sprinters were put in the 4 x 400 to try to take down the Del Sur girls who had won that event most of the season. It worked. Stephanie Estrada (who had ran a solid 800m to take 2nd place) led off, followed by Alexis. Tyler, who had not raced the 400 since last year started slow and kicked in really hard to stay close. Aliyah was given the baton with a 10m deficit. She slowly gained and then outsprinted the other girl for the win. The 8th grade girls won their division with 116 points to Del Surs 108. Congrats also in that division for Tyler’s wins in the 100 and 200. Nadia’s league record 62.06 400m and Kendal’s win in the Long Jump!

Click here for all of Hillview’s Track and Field results….

So, besides coaching, what have I done this week?

Well, Monday I took a much needed day off.
Tuesday, I met Chuck for an easy 5 miler on the aqueduct. Then of course in the evening we had the HDR  speed workout. It had been quite a while since I had opted for some strength and form work in lieu of the heavy cardio. We did a full set of form drills and then I even did some core strengthening exercises with them. It was very windy and the group was a little on the small side…
Wednesday, Chuck, Lance and I did another easy 5 on the aqueduct.
Today, another day of rest!
Tomorrow I will try to get in an easy couple of miles before Saturday’s 10K in Fillmore.

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