1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
I'm entering my 4thyear, all at Altamont.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
The students have grown to love running and the work involved in getting better. They've since become my best advocates within the school in getting more students to join.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
Laid back and dynamic - I provide a basic training structure that is flexible to suit a variety of age and fitness levels, and gives the veterans a lot of leeway to take ownership of their own training. I also like to have a two-way street with them to develop and modify workouts as needed. Lastly, there is only so much pressure I will put on the students to train or perform: our best runners are the ones who have bought into this system and are willing to independently manage their own goals and effort under my oversight.
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
Strength and endurance first, then incorporate the anaerobic and speed; less can be more; and well-timed rest/recovery days are equally as important as the hard days.
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
6 out of 7
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
Asher Desai, James Dixon, Spencer Skidmore, Darian Sanders, Will Denniston, David Niederweis, Francisco Carnaggio
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
We don't officially have captains but juniors Will Denniston and Asher Desai know how to lead by example during every practice and every meet. There are many more I'd like to mention, but these two young men stand out.
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
To be determined! Summer plans have kept me out of town for most of July and August, so we shall see. But I'm putting my money on David Niederweis as being most improved over the summer.
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
I'm very excited to see how our younger students from last year perform this year, in particular rising 8th grader Malcolm Laney.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
We will be at Chickasaw, and most of the rest of the meets I've tried to pair us up with the other 1a/2a competition: Pepsi Challenge, Kudzu Hills, and St. Bernard's Oktoberfest, to name a few.
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Keeping a diverse team (age and ability) on task, improving, and avoiding injury is always a challenge!
12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
Our junior class is a great example of a large group of friends who train and compete well together, pushing themselves and each other instead of relying on me to put pressure on them to succeed. As long as they continue to work together, and the younger students follow their example, we should have a great year.
13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
Indoctrinating the team early to the hill at Avondale park is always a favorite of mine, but probably not theirs.
14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
We discovered last year a good 1000-ish trail loop near campus that was brutal but great for mid-season conditioning.
15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
10x800 seemed to test their mental toughness more than physical when the weight of a long season has pushed everyone near their limits.
16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
Solidifying our 4 and 5 runners; developing and growing a talented pool of middle schoolers; and a team trophy of some sort!