St. Bernard returns five of their top 7 from last year. (Photo by Rod Landers)
1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
This will be my 8th year at St. Bernard, 25th year as a head cross country coach and 37th year involved with coaching distance running.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
Talented kids that are willing to be consistent in their training and put their team first. We also have (I believe) the best cross country trails in Alabama to train on everyday.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
High expectations, committed to be the best we can be in everything we do, Caring for the individual kids and treating them with respect.
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
Summer mileage is extremely important. Early season we build strength and toughness through hill workouts and Fartleks . We also work on form and flexibility through drills. Threshold running to learn how to pace. Later in the season we have specific speed workouts
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
We return Seniors - Leahrose Mami and Eva Barck and Juniors Ivy Edge and Adrian Smith. Also depending on Sophomores Liz Medina, Claire Sanders and several freshmen runners.
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
Our seniors Leahrose Mami and Eva Barck will be instrumental in developing the proper team chemistry it takes to be a state contender. We will depend on them to encourage and lead by example with a great work ethic.
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
Too early to tell , since some of our kids are boarding students that I won't see until school starts.
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
I believe transfer student Gracie Loyd (junior) will have a positive impact for us by the late season. She is very athletic and possesses good speed.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
We will attend the Scottsboro Invitational for the first in several years. The Jesse Owens Classic and the Oktoberfest Invitational (hosted by St. Bernard) will also be meets will will focus on.
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Good Team Chemistry will be essential for success. We must run for each other. We must care for each other.
12. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
7 Hill workouts in the first 7 weeks
13. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
That depends on a lot of factors but it would include 800 ,1000 and 1600 repeats
14. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
Don't really have one for cross country but the emphasis would be on speed.
15. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
Compete for sectional title and state honors . We also like to try to get 10 girls to break 23:00.