Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tama Hills, 9/22/12

In addition to being my 4th full year of teaching, this is also my 4th year of coaching and assisting with Cross Country.  It's amazing how different each season is from the one before, and how a program builds and fluctuates.

Over the course of these 4 seasons, I witnessed the rise of one of the strongest guys' teams in CAJ history, watched them win the Far East tournament in 2010 and then have since watched the team rebuild itself, virtually from the ground up into something respectable (though not as strong as the 2010 crew).  The best adjective I could use to describe the current guys' team is new.  Most of the guys are running cross country for the first time this year.  A few are returning for their second year, and only two, Seniors, incidentally, have run for three years or more.  The difference is not so much in potential as it is in mindset--since only two of our eleven guys were part of the 2010 championship team, only two were a part of the atmosphere of extreme dedication and hard work that the runners on that team created.  Thus, what was assumed two years ago can no longer be assumed.  I don't mean to say that these guys do not work hard; simply that as a team, they are still figuring out the sport; still searching for a love for running and searching for an intrinsic reason to devote themselves to the team.

The girls had won the Asia Pacific Championship in 2008, the year before I started coaching.  Up till now, the girls teams I had worked with were in more or less the same place as the guys' team now; rebuilding, trying to figure out motivation and dedication as a team.  This year, the potential is shining through.

Same goes for the middle school boys--over the past 3 seasons, a core group has come up through the ranks from 6th grade to 8th grade, learning how to run, how to work hard, how to be a team.  This season, they are seeing the fruits of their hard work.

The middle school girls struggle to field a team at all--I blame volleyball (no offense, volleyball coaches), since volleyball in middle school doesn't cut anyone and it is the "fancy", "flashy" indoor sport (I'm not bitter, not at all).  We had two solid 6th graders last year... neither of whom could return this season for reasons beyond their control.  Now we have 3 solid 6th graders.  I keep thinking that if we put all 5 together, we'd have a pretty good team.  Maybe next season...

Here are the top finishers from each race today:

Middle School boys (Tama 3.3k course):

26. Kenji J. 14:37
27. Kenta S. 14:38
28. Yeol R. 14:39
41. Callum M. 15:22
50. Rees M. 16:15

Middle School girls (Tama 3.3k course):

71. Keziah S. 19:43
72. Maya Y. 20:01

High School Girls (Tama 3.3k course):

8. Runa S. 14:28
14. Ria K. 14:52
19. Misaki N. 15:08
31. Naomi N. 15:42
61. Jessie S. 18:39

High School Boys (Tama 4.4k course)

7. Tsubasa K. 16:32
8. Kye A. 16:39
43. Eito O. 19:26
53. Treje Y. 20:31
57. Isaiah S. 20:36
58. YoungJun K. 20:38

Though we were unable to beat ASIJ (American School in Japan) and ISSH (International School of Sacred Heart), our runners had a strong showing today with lots of personal records (and most at least had season bests).  I'm grateful to be a part of this program and I hope I can continue to work with cross country for years to come.

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