The Montverde Academy girls cross country team had a fantastic season in 2017, gaining a third place 2A state finish with a team average of 19:18. With the 2018 season quickly approaching, Coach Lori Treweek gives us the scouting report for the Montverde Academy girls.
What takeaways did you learn last season that you are looking to apply to the 2018 season?
Every season provides new learning opportunities, and I think, for us, improving our physical strength over the course of the 2018 season will help with improving effort, and ultimately our times. Cross country is a long season with a lot of miles, and we hope making more of those miles into meaningful workouts can improve on both our mental and physical strength as the state series approaches.
We also need to be more task orientated; I think as a young team it is easy to compare ourselves to others rather than centering more on our own individual and team efforts. The girls have set some pretty clear and measurable goals for this season, specifying how and when they will accomplish various things - we hope this helps focus them on their own improvement and makes them more accountable for one another's success, which will hopefully result in the team's collective improvement.
What is the best way to describe your coaching philosophy when working with these high school athletes?
I believe that it is important to recognize that each athlete will improve at varying rates and be able to individualize training based on those differences. Developing a support system amongst the team, that also includes parents, our school, and our community is a really critical foundation for success. For us to be undivided as a team, each athlete must want to be better and we are lucky see that reflected in their attitudes and work ethic every day. We try to maintain a commitment to keeping the sport fun, staying healthy, and competing, and hope that commitment continues to translate to their support of each other and to the other areas of their lives.
What has summer training been like?
We have been fortunate to have a great summer of training; we are lucky to have student-athletes and parents that are dedicated to their children and to the success of our cross country program. We've had some early morning workouts and been able to progress through some base phases of training and I believe we are starting off this season stronger than the last.
Sophomore leader Kendyl Cardwell had a successful cross country camp in Crested Butte, Colorado, this summer, while others had a great week in July at Brevard Distance Camp in North Carolina.
Any impactful freshman or transfers to join the team this season?
Three of our top six returning girls are freshman - Lily Henne, Ryleigh Sperry, and Jayci Brauman. Henne finished 5th overall in the 2A state meet and we hope after a strong track season and summer, each can improve on their times from last year, potentially giving us five girls running sub 20. We have also added Zarrah Barbaza, a freshman from Tavares Middle School, who will likely compete for a spot on varsity.
Which athlete(s) on your team do you think will be the biggest surprise and why?
Brianna Hiers, a rising sophomore, transitioned from a sprinter to cross country in 2017 and saw her time improve from a 25:51 at the first meet of the season, to a 20:11 at the state finals. Hiers has had an outstanding summer and we hope that translates into some faster times.
I think both Brianna, and Jayci Brauman, have the potential to surprise us with high 18's, low 19's this season. Natalie Nesmith, a rising 8th grader, missed the 2017 season with an injury, but is also coming off a solid track season and a great summer. We look forward to seeing her improvements on the course as well.
What will be the biggest challenge your team will face this year?
I think staying healthy, balancing necessary rest with appropriate preparation, and competing in the 2A division with such traditionally strong teams, will continue to be challenging, but we hope summer training and competing against some of the best competition in Florida motivates our improvement.