Leaving Lawrence, the rain had started to come in drizzling waves of on again and off again, but nothing too worrisome. Arriving at Shawnee North Community Center, teams were bundled to the gills in warm attire to fend off the cool temperatures; 49° to be somewhat exact. That's brisk.
Teams could be found huddled in the community center to stay warm . . . and use the facilities, of course. Running the back half of the course and winding through the trees and narrow pathways, we plotted crucial points to make moves and where to watch the footing. The course itself was beautiful: the grass was cut, the ground was firm and the rain hadn't caused any areas of mud or obstacles.
The teams were ready. Going through their pre-race routines, our runners had their eyes on Washburn Rural (an important regional foe that we need to keep our eyes on). Our varsity girls came through the mile in a time that may have been slightly uncomfortable for the majority of them but instead of falling off, they rose to the challenge. Coming through the 2-mile and the 2.5 mile mark, the girls maintained positioning and continued to push! Nearly all of them set personal records as they flew over the speedy course. Overall, the girls proved that they should be in the talks to cause some havoc at regionals by taking 4th!
Our boys had a fast start as well. Jack came through the mile in a PR time of 5:06 with Ruben, Cole, and surprise Aaron close behind. Aaron showed a new side of himself as he hung close to Cole and Ruben for the majority of the race -- only falling off the last half mile. Jackson was only a stones throw away from Aaron at the finish and rounded out the top-5. At the end of the day, our boys improved over their times and placing from last week and showed a new side -- an intrinsically motivated side.
And all of this talk of the varsity squads, I can't dare forget about our junior varsity elite runners! Each one gave efforts that were on par with a determination of a juggernaut. They fought hard to gain positioning the first mile, held that place through the second, and grinded out the last mile to set a fast time and capture some crucial points! It was great to yell instructions and have the kiddos break out of their comfort zone and respond to the encouragement.
As I have said previously, everyone broke through a shell that had kept them encased for so long. They pushed when probably thought they couldn't. They caught people when they probably thought the person was too far away. These are great milestones in racing that are going to put on the right path for regionals. Continually fighting through the grueling harshness of practice and holding each other accountable will help us to attain that next level of gratification. With only a few weeks of practice left, it will be crucial to hone in on our focus of what is to come and where we want to be on that cool, brisk morning of October 20th.