Bulldogs logging summer miles
BHS cross country runners training to defend state titles
Baldwin High School cross country runners have found a way to beat the heat this summer and train for the upcoming fall season.
About 20-30 BHS runners can be seen logging miles on a daily basis. Of course to see them, you must be awake as the sun rises. The girls and boys teams meet every day, at different spot in town, at 6:15 a.m.
“They understand you have to run when it’s cooler out,” coach Mike Spielman said. “They are putting in a lot of commitment themselves and they know they have to do that to be successful. I also think they enjoy being around each other.”
Senior Brian Wright said the runners are continuing to run the final two weeks before practice officially starts Aug. 15.
“We’ve been running mornings together,” Wright said. “We’ve been trying to rally up the troops. We’re winding down our summer now and we’re ready for the season to get going.”
When it comes to rallying the troops, the BHS girls’ team has the boys easily beat this summer. On average, there are between 10-20 girls running every morning and most mornings it’s closer to 20. However, the boys’ team numbers are about 4-5 every day.
“The girls destroy us in numbers,” Wright said. “They are like an army and we are just a platoon.”
Members of the girls team agreed.
“On average, we have 15-20 girls every morning,” junior Sienna Durr said. “We look like a mob running down the street.”
Senior Abi Hartzell also said that because of the large numbers, everyone finds someone to run with each morning.
“It’s been a really good summer for the girls team,” Hartzell said. “We’ve had about 20 girls come regularly. It’s probably going to be the biggest girls team ever. It’s kind of crazy, but we all have our little packs that we run with. We are all getting along really well, so I think it’s going to be a really great year.”
The large pack of BHS runners includes many returning Bulldogs from the team that won its fourth consecutive state championship last fall. There are also a few freshmen runners and newcomers to the sport.
“We have a lot of new girls,” Durr said. “I know in our junior class, we started out with three and now we have 11. We have four freshman girls, too. Since the girls soccer team is in the spring, that’s brought out some new girls, too.”
On the boys’ side, it’s mainly the core group of runners from last year’s team that didn’t graduate. Ten runners from the 2010 squad graduated from BHS in May. Returning runners this summer have been Wright, senior Tosh Mihesuah, sophomore Ethan Hartzell, sophomore Tucker Clark, junior Clay Thomas and junior Colton Horne.
“We lost quite a few seniors and that hurt, but it’s nice to come back with a solid core of guys,” Wright said. “We still have people returning that will be able to push the team. We’ve been trying to gather some guys, but it’s been difficult. Hopefully once the season gets rolling, everybody will be out there participating.”
Both teams have been logging miles since June. They’ve increased their weekly mileage during July and they will hold that steady or slightly decrease it before the season starts.
The girls team started out at 30 minutes per run and have increased by five minutes per week. They hit 55 minutes this week.
“They’re just building their base right now, so that when we start, they are in shape and they can handle the workouts,” Spielman said. “They’re doing a really good job of just running distance. They aren’t running any sort of workouts. They just need to keep running mileage until we start.”
After each two-week session, the BHS runners send their running logs back to Spielman. He mails them out to the runners interested in cross country. They record their daily and weekly mileage before returning the logs.
“I’ve been getting lots of the logs,” Spielman said. “They’ve been getting a lot of running in this summer. I think it’s one of our better summers ever, as far as the number of kids and how much they’re doing.
“What’s crazy is they organize it all during the summer,” he said. “I’ve heard people tell me they’ve seen 20-25 kids out there running in groups in the morning. That’s what it takes. You have to be self-motivated in this sport. If they can do that, it makes them that much better.”
The summer mileage is helping the BHS runners build their base before the season starts. It will help get them into running shape so workouts will be easier during the fall season. However, there are drawbacks to working out too hard during the summer.
“I think the drawbacks come when you’re trying to do things too fast,” Spielman said. “You can go run repeats or faster workouts, but just running distance right now is the best thing. A lot of them are wearing their heart-rate monitors, which is really nice. They’re know if they’re running too hard or too easy, so they’re getting the right amount out of it. By just running distance, they should be able to make a nice transition to the workouts once the season starts.”
Now, the Bulldogs await the beginning of the season. Both teams have state championships to defend and they look to repeat in October.
“I’m ready for the season to start,” Wright said. “I’ve been ready since we won that state championship in track. We’re all ready to get rolling.”