The Lake Highland boys were 10th at last year's 1A Cross Country Finals and return a large chunk of that team. Coach Rudy Chihak gives us the Scouting Report on the 2017 Highlander boys cross country team.
How did your team fare last season and what did you take away from 2016?
The boys team were district and region runner ups and then got 10th at state meet but were only a couple points from being as high as 6th or 7th. I loved our team depth from last season and we return that this year. We had a 24 second spread at the state meet last year which was one of the tightest spreads in the state. While I would like a couple front runners our pack is gradually moving up and hopefully will continue that trend as they all return this year
How is the team looking this year? What are your tentative top five and top seven?
We only lost one of our top five and our true top runner didn't run last fall because of injury. With the pack we have the order will change often but I would say Jonah Gottschalk, Gavin Addeo, Jai Phillips, Carter Rowe, Vincent Menozzi are the top five but Tristan Cockerell, Reese Bobo, Jake Fadool, and Campbell Petro can mix it up with them at any race.
What are the strengths of this team?
Our pack. The guys really know who they run best with and they hold them accountable in the race. Hopefully they can continually move that pack higher and higher in the field as the season goes on. We are loaded with seniors so if they can step up in their final year it could really be special. We have good depth as well and as a result a good JV team that won many meets many last year.
What has the training been like? Have you gone to any camps?
The boys elected to meet together more this summer and I think it's paying off. We do running camp in Brevard, NC each summer and a lot more boys were dropping their coach on the runs than they used to haha which I take as a good sign. They have done a little more speed this summer which we haven't in the past but we're also looking to tinker how we train in-season.
Any new additions who may contribute or any surprise non-returners?
Josh Walton is a converted track runner and can keep up with the varsity boys usually and has good foot speed.
What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?
We would like to be top five at the state meet. We have been top 10 every year I have been here but we're usually just 9th or 10th. Hopefully the boys can build their confidence where they expect to run with the front group in a really stacked 2A field. I don't think 2A has ever been more competitive. When I first started it was the weakest classification. We would also like to close that gap with Trinity Prep. We are usually 2nd to them at districts and regions and they get to almost coast so we would like to make it a better race.