Scouting Report: St Pauls looks to succeed in 6A

Photo by RiverCat Photography

The St. Pauls Saints have long been a 5A powerhouse.  With the AHSAA's new Competitive Balancing, St. Pauls will now compete in 6A.  Even with the change they are still poised to compete for a championship this year.

How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
For 42 years total; the last 40 at St. Paul's

What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
Coaching stability and consistency coupled with school community support and program traditions over the past 35 or so years.

What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
Treating team as a big family with a traditional yet encouraging coaching style while attempting to remain flexible as needed with daily workouts.

What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
Emphasize building an endurance base during the summer and then following proven training principles and alternating our hard-easy training days.

How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
Hopefully all 7 will return; it not, I expect at least 6.

Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
Not exactly sure, but probably most if not all of our top 7 from last season.

Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
We are trying a 'leadership group' approach this season composed of primarily upper class girls who have been in our program for 2 or more years and are primarily leaders through example and their concern for all team members.

Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
No particular surprises, but, in general, improved summer mileage reporting especially among our junior high-aged runners.

Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
We have a few 7th and 8th graders who have the potential to be competitive this fall. How soon they develop remains to be seen.

What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
Challenge of Champions, Chickasaw Trails and MC Watson Ford (both tentative at this point).

What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Undoubtedly, our biggest challenge will be moving up from 5A to 6A competition due to the implementation of 'competitive balance' for AHSAA-member independent schools. 

What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
Any successes we realize this year will be the result of effective team leadership from our veterans and improvement both from our returnees and younger girls.

What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
Repeat runs of either 1/2 Mile, 1 K or 1 Mile with a volume of 4 miles to assess fitness levels.

What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
Intervals w/repetitions ranging from 200M - 1K with decreasing recoveries

What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?Repeat group 400M runs where the last finisher is eliminated and has to complete the workout with equal distance hill repeats.

What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
  • Improve individually and collectively and have fun in the process
  • Buy into the commitment required to be both accountable and competitive
  • Compete for County  and State Team Championships