Scouting Report: Ponte Vedra Girls & Boys

The Ponte Vedra girls finished 4th last year in 3A, while the boys just missed out on a trip to the Cross Country Finals. Coaches Kerry Mowlam and Amy Schottel give us an inside look at both the girls and boys squads in our Scouting Report.

Ponte Vedra Girls

How did your team fare last year? 

The Lady Sharks ended up 4th last year at 3A States. While only losing 1 senior for this upcoming season, it seems all the other top teams have just as many returners, so will be another tough year to try to podium. While 4th is a great accomplishment, the girls felt that they left some unfinished business left out on the race course. The goal this year is to come home with no regrets regardless of their finishing position.

What did you take away from the season?

Patience and perspective.  Patience during the season, trust your training and the result will come. Patience during the race, stick to your race plan. These ladies were able to put themselves as front runners last season and were top competitors as a team at every meet. Quite a different perspective from seasons before when they were a young, talented team. They remained humble, diligent, and resilient to keep that reputation.

How is the team looking this year?  What are your tentative top five and top seven?

With 9 out of top 10 returning and slew of younger girls starting to make their mark this season makes for another fun year. The top 5 have been in Varsity for all past 4 years, and want to end their HS running career with everything they have to give. Our top-five are; Claire Moritz, Anna Raymaker, Lydia Reimer, Avery Knehans, and Sarah Reimer. The top 7 is completive as always with several eager girls wanting to stake their claim

What are the strengths of this team?

Resiliency. To be able to continually be a top contributor for past 3 years in XC and keep it fresh and make each race/season fun and exciting.

Leadership. You can take any of the Seniors on this team, and they have made the XC program what it is today. While we just coach, these girls have set precedents that all other runners aspire to. They take the time and effort to make sure everyone is welcome and gets what they want out of the sport. They don't realize that all younger grades look up and want to emulate them

What has the training been like? Have you gone to any camps?

Lady Sharks went to Brevard as a group of 20. It comprised of the all levels of runners but the Varsity went up as a strong tight knit group and seemed to get even tighter. The summer miles are keeping them going but now it's time to start racing. They are eager to get the legs going for race time.

Any new additions who may contribute?   Any surprise non-returners?

There seems to be 1-2 rookies each year that make a contribution and keep the returners on their toes. We had 2 girls last season that were injured early last year that are doing all the right things this season to remain healthy.

What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?

We are fortunate to be able to race Lake City and FSU Pre-state over 2 straight weekends. It is the same race venues for our Region meet and then for States. And of course, our home meet.

While I can't set a team position goal at States, I will say that they want to leave FSU State course this year knowing that they (to use a corny old saying) left it all out on the course. As Seniors they want to have no regrets and basically nothing left when they cross the finish line.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Looking forward to another great XC season ahead, getting to compete against spirited athletes returning from previous years plus new up and coming ones. Regardless of what school, division or Varsity/Junior Varsity, its wonderful to see the girls show such powerful message both in sports and classroom to strive forward.

Ponte Vedra Boys 

How did your team fare last season? 

Boys had another great year, consistently ranked top 20 in 3A but not getting to States. Region 1 seems to be the toughest to get thru. We have to get better to be able to make it to the next level.

What did you take away from 2016?

What I as a coach and the athletes learnt last year that it's a long season and that a bad result during the season doesn't mean it's a bad race. Take away what you can from each event and grow from that. 

How is the team looking this year?  What are your tentative top five and top seven?

We lost our 4 seniors that were integral part and the face of Varsity for past 3 years. While you can't directly replace them, you can certainly create a different identity for the new team. The rising juniors are coming on with a force and have the ability to be create a dynamic team environment.

As for top 7, during previous years, it has been pretty clear early on during summer training who they were. This year is very different. I can honestly say, other than top 2-3 runners, the next Varsity spots are open to 10-12 athletes that are showing the talent to be a presence. 

What has the training been like? What are the strengths of this team?-

Camaraderie. We pride ourselves on what they do as much on the race course and practices as they do on their own time. It's great to see them hang together on weekends outside of the training regime.

Support. At this time of their lives on their way to becoming young men, they know that support from friends and team mates can help you achieve your goals. While running is truly an individual sport, they are part of the best team I have ever been acquainted with and they do realize that 

Have you gone to any camps?

The team has trained well thru summer, with keeping miles consistent along with some tempo to make sure they are working. Florida summer training is tough with humidity and heat but they know what is expected of them. They all know that summer running is necessary to get the race season results they want. We offer Brevard running camp to the returning athletes (we hold incoming freshman back as they are new to our program and we truly don't know their running/miles capabilities). We have 28 lads venture to the NC hills and as always is a fantastic time.

Any new additions who may contribute? Any surprise non-returners?

Picked up about 5 soccer players who are now focusing on running this season, They are welcome addition to XC. Those soccer kids can run....  As for returners, there always seems to be 1-2 that decide that they want to run with the big boys and make their presence known

What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?

States is always a goal every year, and this time it's no different. FSU Pre-state is always a good gauge of the season. And of course our home meet on 9/16. We have to look speedy in front of our family and friends.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Cross country running, while its always a mainstream of HS sports, there seems to be a resurgence over past few years. All the coaches here at PV are very excited and honored to be part of this and hope that it continue.