The Pine Crest girls cross country team finished off their 2017 season with a state championship win. With the season approaching, Coach Paul Baur gives us the scouting report for the Pine Crest girls.
What takeaways did you learn last season that you are looking to apply to the 2018 season?
Last season was an incredible season for our girls, but each girl experienced a little adversity, allowing them to grow individually as runners. Last year, our girls were disappointed after narrowly missing out on a trip to NXN in Oregon. It was a learning opportunity that ultimately made them stronger and even hungrier to come back this season and fight to achieve their highest goals.
What is the best way to describe your coaching philosophy when working with these high school athletes?
What I really try to emphasize with the girls is the importance of teamwork, hard work, and consistency. Our girls team is very close and teamwork has played a huge role on our team, as it pushes the girls to work harder for their teammates.
What has summer training been like?
Summer training has been very good for the girls. We ended our track season a little later than usual since we competed at New Balance Nationals Outdoor, but we have been working hard ever since. Our team went back to Brevard Distance Runner Camp for a solid week of training in the North Carolina mountains and an amazing week of team bonding. Overall, it was a great summer of logging miles and the girls are excited to finally start the season!
Any impactful freshman or transfers to join the team this season?
We do not have any transfers joining us this year, but we have girls we are working on developing that have lots of potential.
Which athlete(s) on your team do you think will be the biggest surprise and why?
Some athletes that I believe will be the biggest surprises are Cassie Lawlor, Amanda Schwartz, Lorrie Axelrod and Sierra Stocker. Unfortunately, Cassie Lawlor wasn't able to perform at her best during last cross country season when she fought a minor injury. However, she has bounced back strong and has been working hard throughout the track season and summer to make a comeback during this upcoming season!
Amanda Schwartz, who usually spends her summer away at camp, was able to log her miles with her team this summer instead of by herself. She is very motivated to improve her times this year especially with better summer training under her belt.
Lorrie Axelrod, Gretchen Montgomery, and Sierra Stocker have really stepped up this summer and showed their dedication to the team. I am really looking forward to see what they can accomplish this season!
What will be the biggest challenge your team will face this year?
This year, we want to make an impact at not only the state but national level as well. Making sure we are staying healthy and consistent throughout the course of the season will be vital to achieving this. Coming off very successful past seasons has created big expectations and pressure to perform. Staying focused on our end goals and relaxed will allow us to not only live up to but exceed any expectations there are.
From your perspective, what would define success for your team this season? What do you think it will take for your team to achieve that?
Making sure that everyone stays healthy, motivated, and positive throughout the season is always the most important. All the girls have a very close relationship, so it makes it easier for them to hold each other accountable when they have such a tight bond already. Staying focused and determined will hopefully lead us to achieve our goals of winning states again and punching our ticket to Nike Cross Nationals!
What are some of the meets the team is looking forward to this year?
We are really looking forward to being able to compete at Great American in North Carolina at the Nike Cross Southeast Regional course. This will be the first year our team has gone up for that meet and I think it will give the girls a lot of confidence when they return to the same course later in the season for Nike Cross Regionals. We will also be attending Pre States, which is another favorite and gives us a chance to see where we stack up against the rest of the state. Finally, we are looking to defend our 2A state title and to make it three years in a row!