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Next Summer Team Run - Thursday, July 7, 6-7:30pm, CMS
Wildcat Video Archives
Coach Vermeulen: "Thoughts From Three" (NY.Milesplit.com column)
The Miles Matter....
June 30: The Wildcats XC group is now into the summer swing of the miles that create the foundation of fitness for Fall success. The evening's work on the Woods Loop was a threshold run to 'set the baseline' for further progressive training in the medium range, training that raise the anerobic threshold and improves the ability to 'hold pace' in races. Their evening was productive. There is no better summer sight than watching teammates pulling together on a good run. Serendipity for the evening came with the discovery the Ampitheater area bench, years overgrown with weeds, had been resurrected. The question of the day then becomes: How about a lean-to like structure built over the benches to create a new, protective 'home base' for the Wildcats?
Let it Happen....
June 23: To win in September, you have to 'win the summer.' It's a season pleasantly devoid of the pressures of competition, a time to enjoy miles with teammates, whether on summer runs or at weekly Team Runs. It's the time when our team members define themselves as runners. Warm weather, green grass on the training trails, a start of the journey toward personal and team potential. Our summer season has begun....
June 18/19: Young Wildcat track runners provided some fireworks to end the 2022 track & field season at Adidas Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. 8th grader Dylan Frost shook off the nervousness from a competitor's false start to place a medal 6th in the Middle School 100m dash on Saturday. The next morning, Chloe Fietze, already a double medalist with a 4th in Friday's Middle School 2 mile and then a strong 3rd in the Middle School 1 Mile on Saturday, completed her personal trifecta. She won the Middle School 800m event with a strong performance and personal record. Up the coast in Philadelphia, Peter McMahon ran his best mile in the New Balance Nationals, establishing a school record outdoor time for that distance. The Wildcats finished strong.
June 17: Temperatures had soared into the mid-90's by mid-afternoon at the Adidas Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. Chloe Fietze stayed in the shade as much as possible while preparing for her Middle School 2mile race at 5:50pm. Then the storm approached. Meet directors halted competition and directed all spectators and competitors out of the stadium. Rather than a long walk back to the car, a deserted softball field dugout was put to good use as the thunder, lightening and rain rocked the area. Two and a half hours later, the meet resumed with cooler temperatures, and Chloe bore down in the 2nd mile of her race to gain a 4th place finish and 2 mile personal record.
June 10: They are all good at 'states.' The Wildcats sent Peter McMahon and the girls 4x400 Relay to test themselves against NY's best. The girls went first, battling to 10th place with a season's best effort and a top Section III time. And...none graduate, which means even faster in 2023. Peter gave it his best, placing 17th in a packed field. He will be back in 2023 too.
Gateway to 'states'
June 2: The Open Qualifier always provides surprises, as athletes and relays make decisions about whether(or how) to vie for a coveted state championship qualification. Everyone is good, so stiff competition is assured in all events. The Wildcats brought the boys and girls who had earned the right to compete with hopes of 'states,' and there were good stories with their arrival at the Cicero-North Syracuse track. Peter McMahon raced forcefully start to finish essentially alone to capture the 3200m crown, earn All-CNY status and earn a trip back to this very track where the state championship will occur in a week. Zoe Orr took up the 400IH as a senior and pushed all the way to a chance to race at Opens, concluding an impressive single-season arc of improvement. The girls 4x800, racing without one of the team's top runners, still placed 3rd and signalled, with an entire group of talented runners, they will be heard from in the coming seasons. The pleasant surprise came when the strategic switch 8th grader Chloe Fitze from the 4x800 to the 4x400 relay suddenly put the team in the mix. Grace McInerney, Sarah Fettig and Lilliana Iacampo battled the team to right off the leader by the end of the third leg, and Chloe then clocked a 60 second leg to nip the favored Proctor squad at the line. A trip to states and All-CNY status was the reward. The Wildcats outdoor season continues.....
May 25: The boys placed 3rd at the Class AA sectional championship held at Baldwinsville while the girls team finished 7th of 11 teams. In perfect spring weather, both teams offered up superlative performances. Zoe Orr continued steady improvement in the 400IH event with yet another personal record and a mark sending her on to the June 2nd Open Qualifiers as she placed 5th. In only her first year at the event, she's currently a second top-20 performer. 8th grader Chloe Fietze held her own in the typically fast 800m field as she took 3rd. Chloe is the top 8th grader in Section 3 and 11th overall. Kevin Moser needed a big effort in the 3200m to compete in another strong field and to meet the standard for Open Qualifiers, his goals. He met both, capturing 3rd after an smart tactical race and the 14th best in Section III.
May 19: With their league complete, and WG boys and girls teams both earning winning 4-3 seasons, League Championships followed quickly with smaller squads. The boys placed 4th in leagues, the girls 5th. Both had league champions--Dom Burris in the LJ for the boys, and Alexcis Rydelek for the girls in discus. The weather held well, with no rain and intermitent breezes. That gave athletes opportunities for maximum track and field efforts, so there were PR's on both teams. Zoe Orr lowered her 400IH PR and moved into her Class AA top-10 rankings. Peyton Long clocked an all-time 800m PR. 8th grader, Chloe Fietze took on the tough 1500/3000m double and scored top 6 in both, with a PR time in the 1500m. She is currently top-10 for NY 8th graders in three events: 800m; 1500m; 3000m. In a battle of the bigs, Peter McMahon took on the current state #1 1600m runner, Ryan Hogan of Liverpool. Hogan prevailed, but Peter notched a huge, all-time, PR in the event, 4:20.37, which is #3 in the state for juniors. The teams now grow a little smaller, as only athletes meeting the standards for the 5/25 Class AA Sectional Championship advance.
April 30: After a changeable April, the month bid the Wildcats fairwell with a day of sunshine and moderate temperatures, something unusual for the Chittenango Invitational. The girls team scored 7 of 30 teams competing. The fields for all events were huge, and top-10 finishes were all well-earned. The 'cats had 10 of those. Many efforts ended with personal records. Questions about the effectiveness of training were answered affirmatively. Claire Griffin finished her first-ever 2000m Steeplechase with the #2 freshman time in the state. Sectional Championship standards were achieved, and the girls 4x800 took 2nd with their best time since 2019. All in all, a good day.
Into the Season...
April 12: The Westhill Invitational always seems to serve up good weather for early April. Wind-burn was the only meteorlogical hazard of the day as select WG athletes tackled large event crowds for their first shot at competition. With no team scoring, the emphasis was on targeted performances. The girls team fared well with 11 top-10 finishes. Chloe Fietze(1500m), Grace McInerney(200m/HJ), Alexcis Rydelek(Discus) also achieved Sectional Championship standards, and Alexcis was the best of the day, winning the discus event. Other Wildcats notched personal records or gained valuable meet experience. So it was a good day all around.
First Crack at It
April 5: With the opportunity to start the season with a traditional WG/Westhill/Skaneateles/Tully scrimmage lost to SCAC/OHSL scheduling conflicts, the Wildcats decided to hold Team Trials. The weather cooperated for this shortened order-of-events affair and the athletes were able to contest one or several events, a tune-up for the meets ahead. The competitive season looms....
March 30: The "Grand Prix" indoor route courses its way around the quiet upper halls of West Genesee High School. Wildcat distance runners are familiar with all its turns and straights, both short and long. The hundred and twenty meter long hall allows sprints. The day outside was runnable on the roads, but the 'cats needed some precision and a more controlled environment, so they mounted the stairs in shorts and T-shirts to the second floor for their threshold run. The .22 mile Grand Prix course is not everyone's cup of tea. Some runners enjoy the eccentricity of its bobs and weaves. One runner with an alternate biking workout was truely disappointed to miss a day on the Grand Prix. Others had some trouble mastering curve momentum. Everyone, though, gave it their best and then pumped up the velocity to finish with long hall sprints. Cheers, jeers and songs on the cool-down laps indicated a good day 'on the course.'
Rainy Day Bagels....
March 25: After a week of unseasonally cooperative weather, the Wildcats distance group took to the Friday track for a broken-800m test that tracks a seasonal 800m progression. The rain held off just long enough for the crew to complete their work, then opened up on the cool-down. Bagels finished a very good first week, one of the best in recent years. The distance 'cats will be ready this spring
The will to prepare....
March 17: Success demands you love the process. Wildcat distance runners have been working the roads and the track for three weeks in preparation for the spring Outdoor Track & Field season. Their final workout was a summery one, in the 70's. The last patcheof snow was put to good use during the cool-down.
Indoor Finales on the big stage
March 12: It's a long way from November--four months of winter training and meets in the rearview mirror. Only an 8th grader, Chloe Fietz demonstrated persistance and effort and raced her way to the Nike Indoor National Middle School Mile, where she won her heat convincingly and finished 15th in the 36-runner U.S. field. Great things ahead for Chloe. Peter McMahon ran a smart tactical race, surging to maintain contact with the front group when necessary, then powering from 5th place to 2nd with a strong closing 200 meter. His 2 mile to 3200m conversion is an unofficial new record, but he instead sets the West Genesee Indoor Track record in that event. A strong seasonal finish.
Off we go....
February 28: Still February, still winter, but some some of the girls Varsity Outdoor Track team are getting the season going with pre-season work on Monte Vista hill. The early bird runs faster.
Spring Around The Corner...
February 21: Only a month to go before girls Varsity Outdoor Track! Registration for Outdoor Track is now open(link above). Sign up and line up this spring in your favorite events.
The Big Ones
February 16: It's the big step. One moment you are a talented Section III athlete and the next--with talent, effort and maybe a little luck--you are a State Championship qualifier, bound for the Ocean Breeze T&F complex on State Island. The Wildcats this season produced a lot of Open Qualifier moments. Chris Moser blasted the final 80 meters of his 300m race, catupulting from 3rd to 1st. Dominick Burris placed 3rd in the 55m, but had already earned the 3rd qualifier standard to punch his ticket to that state championship event. Peter McMahon accomplished the same with his 3rd place finish in the 3200m. There was little drama in the boys 4x200 relay. The foursome of Dominic Burris, Bryce Bort, Payton Manipole, and Chris Moser took charge in the first leg and never looked back, clocking a new school record in route to a state championship qualification. The most drama clearly came from the boys 4x800. Following three legs, the Wildcats were racing their best but found themselves twenty meters off the F-M and Westhill teams battling for the lead. Casey Conmy had chipped away at their huge lead and handed off the Peter McMahon. With attention focsed on the front battle, Peter pushed his own pace. By the final lap, he had closed to within 15 meters, but time seemed to be running out. The two leading team closers, both spent,labored around the final corner. Peter bore down and in a spectacular display of grit closed the gap and then nipped F-M at the line. Teammates rushed the finish area to celebrate. They were going to states. The girls 4x800 did not win, but they achieved rare distinction. Claire Griffin, Peyton Long, Zoe Maupin and Chloe Fietze all ran personal bests in their 800m legs to lop a significant twenty seconds off their previous best and clock the fourth best sectional time in that event. Short of victory, what a way to end.
February 2: The second month brings the end of the team season for Indoor athletes. With ever-shifting team rosters for the Section III invitational schedule, the sectional championshp is usually where teams hang their hat, where they get the best measure of their competitive rankings against similar size schools. In their 11-team Class AA fields, the girls tied for 6th and the boys earned a 4th place finish. Highlights for the boys' team came with several individual or relay Sectional Championships. Peter McMahon had no close competitors after lap 6 of the 3200 meter as he raced to an individual sectional championship in that event with a new WG school record time of 9:30.32. Peter later returned to the track with Aidan Walsh, Kevin Moser and Casey Conmy as they outdistanced all competitors in winning the 4x800 Class AA sectional championship. The foursome have also posted the section's fastest time this season. At the other end of the relay distance spectrum, the boys 4x200 group of Dominic Burris, Bryce Bort, Payton Manipole and Chris Moser clocked the section's best time and set a new school record in becoming sectional champions.
Season Building, Season Ending
January 27: For some, the SCAC Championship meant one last chance at a 'best' performance which might not necessarily mean a personal best time, height or distance but a valuable contribution of team points. The Wildcats boys team placed 5th while the girls took a 4th place team finish. The 'cats enjoyed four League Champions: Vivian Youmans in the Weight Throw, Dominic Burris in the Long Jump, the boys 4x200 relay(with a new school record) and the boys 4x800. Some athletes move on to Sectionals, others have wrapped up their seasons. One athlete who will be moving on is 8th grader Chloe Fietze, who recently meet the 1500m standard and will, in March, compete in the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation(NSAF) Middle School National Mile. Other Wildcats are hoping to join her.
Fast Moves on a Cold Morning
January 15: Outside, the temperature hovered in the low single digits, but both boys and girls Wildcats Indoor Track teams applied speed and push to earn top-5 team finishes at the Kirschenheiter Meet in the OCC SRC arena. The boys 4x400 meter won their event, while the girls 4x400 relay clocked their fastest of the season in a second place effort. Alexis Rydelek took a third in the shot put with her best of the season so far, while 8th grader Chloe Fietze displayed good foot speed with a third in the 600m. Chloe's time was the best in the section for an 8th grader and #4 in New York State. The season has sped by. Both teams see their final invitational meet on January 22nd before the League and Sectional Championships.
December 31: With a day off from Indoor Track practices, Payton Voss made a final 2021 visit to the Wildcats XC trails at CMS. After their 2021 meets, any mud did not deter her.
To the Dome
December 29: Boys and girls Indoor Track members made the Thurway trek to the Utica Challenge Invitational. The athletes continued improving, trying new events or notching seasonal/all-time PR's in events. The boys placed 4th in their 26-team field, with events wins--and top Section III times--in the 4x200 relay and by Peter McMahon in the 3200m. The girls placed 10th in their 28-team field, with top-10 finishes by the 4x400, Claire Griffin(1000m), Natalie Keiling(55m), Zoe Maupin(1500m), Rachael Reynolds(55hh), Trinity Brumfield(300m), 4x200, Andrea Conklin(500m), Vivian Youmans(Weight Throw) and Peyton Long(500m). The teams now train for a 1/8/22 invitational at the SRC Center.
December 18: Three meets packed into the early weeks of December have kept the Wildcat boys and girls Indoor Track teams busy. The snow outside was not the only thing flying at Saturday's Constantino Invitational morning session in the OCC athletic center. Both boys and girls team came away with 4th place finishes in their 20-team fields. The boys team enjoyed the distinction of winning all three relay events: 4x200, 4x400, 4x800. Chris Moser(above) dropped a 53.3 opening leg in the 4x400 to make the statement. Their relay was never challenged. WG currently leads the section in both the 4x400 and 4x200 relays. They are currently ranked 15th in the state in both events.
Following a long season stretching across three seasons and six months, after shaking off nagging small summer injuries and then gaining momentum into September, after dual meet and invitational meet victories usually in mud and rain, after winning individual League and Sectional championships, after placing 5th at 'states' and then leading his team to 16th in the NYS Federation Championship with a 3rd place individual victory, and after placing 16th in the Northeast Qualifier for the Eastbay National Championship, the best junior time in that race--after all those performances, Peter McMahon was designated the cross-country New York State Junior-of-the-Year award, the first for any boys Wildcat runners. Well earned and quite the season....
November 27: A long and tremedously rewarding season came to its final finish lines for the Wildcats. Connor Moore and Casey Conmy returned to Bowdoin Park for the Nike Team Regional, which, due to covid would not lead to a national championship in Oregon. Peter McMahon took his talent to VanCortlandt Park for the Eastbay Northeast Regional Race and a shot at making the national championship in San Diego's Balboa Park on December 11th. But Wildcats XC was not to extend the season into its 7th month as Peter placed 16th, out of the top-10 necessary to qualify. He was, however, the #4 New York State finisher and highest New York junior finisher in the race, setting the stage for 2022. Connor and Casey will also be back, all three contributing to a state top-20 season ranking for the Wildcats. The future looks strong for both boys and girls teams.
A Long Way From June
November 20: The long miles of summer begin with June dreams that waited on the chilly winds of late November. With so many new, first-season runners, the boys Wildcats team had a lot more questions than answers for their summer weeks. The team took time to define itself, but the process was always focused and enthusiastic. Coming out of Sectionals as the 3rd best in the merge of 61 teams, they trained and waited. A week later, after the state championship, they received a qualification for the NYS Federation Championship, a chance to compete in the state's most elite field. Picked to finish 23rd of the 37 selected teams, they laced up their spikes at Bowdoin Park for one last opportunity to prove themselves and race together. Peter McMahon led the way. His 3rd place individual finish equaled the best ever for a Wildcat, and the 190 speed rating associated with his race effort also equaled that best rating by any Class A runner in the state--and is the best for any junior. With that momentum, the 'cats finished seven places higher than predictions, in 16th. It was the best of season finishes, one that answered a lot of those early questions. As the park emptied of the runners and spectators, the Wildcats parents waited...and waited. Long minutes later, the runners returned from a back field. They just wanted one last run together.
November 11: The season returned to form at the State Championship. The early races ecaped the rain, but by the time Peter McMahon and his Class A competitors toed the start line in the meet's final race, the drops were falling steadily. Peter battled top state runners and the now-familiar rain to place 5th in Class A and 7th in the entire 'states' field of 477 runners. Impressive for a runner nowhere to be found in the summer previews. Though he was not satisfied with his effort, the race was solid. And he will not have to journey to the next step in a long season alone. Word came down late Saturday night that the Wildcats had secured a team qualification for the NYS Federation Championship on 11/20th in Poughkeepsie. It marks the first time since 2013 that the 'cats have qualified a boys team and is a very impressive turn-around for the same team that went 2-4 in league meets during the 2020 covid season. Hard work and sacrifice have been the hallmarks of this team.
November 6: For upstate and northern NY naturalists, November, a prelude to the cold months, is sometimes known as a demi-season with its own unique weather. For XC runners in the upper eschlons of the sport, November is also championship month, with a sequence of increasingly talented fields that ends, if determined and lucky, across the continent in December at national championships. The runners' demi-seasons begin with sectional championships, and the Wildcats brought their best efforts to VVS for the Class A Championship. The two teams finished with high-level successes. The boys placed 3rd of the 64 Section III teams and the girls 4th of 44. Peter McMahon led start to finish to become the Section III Class A champion and the overall winner in a sectional merge of 537 runners. Top-6 sectional merge finishes and winning league records for both teams--those are the marks of a good competitive season.
November 4: It is, indeed, a long way from June and those first summer canal runs. With some team members finished and resting for winter activities and sports, the boys/girls Wildcats Sectional squads cruised the tow path one last day before their championship. Miles along the canal in crisp mid-Fall weather, bounding drills and some higher velocity strides filled the afternoon, though there was time for a last group photo.
When it rains.....
October 26: A nor'easter deluge was reaching inland to drench upstate. No thunder or lightening this time of the season, just relentless rain. Flashflood warnings when up. Scholastic competitions were canceled. There was good reason to re-schedule our hard day workout, but we said no, the athletes braced for the weather, and then they gave it all they had on the track which managed to stay above the infield water lines. Once the work was finished and all were soaked, a little fun made the day that more special.
October 20: The larger public is told to view the running sports as 'individual' sports. That's not how the runners see it. Individual efforts are dedicated to the larger good, the team. Both full Wildcat teams, boys and girls, competed in the SCAC Championship, their last opportunity of the 2021 season to do so. And they did well. 13 of the 14 girls competing registered all-time personal records. The boys nearly matched that. PR's were not the only superlatives, however. Five Wildcats earned either All-League or All-Division honors. Mike Gomes became the fastest 8th grader in New York State. Peter McMahon registered the state's highest speed ratings in becoming League Champion. Speed ratings take into account the differences of courses and weather, so they are typically a more accurate measure than simple 5k times. McMahon's speed rating was also #30 on the U.S. list. At meet's end, there was another great moment as the tired boys JV squad gathered in the runner's padock just over the finish line to cheer for their final teammate. Ryan appreciated that they waited as he charged the line. He had just clocked a personal record, one over a minute faster than his previous best.
It's Not Just The Watch
October 16: The rain held off only long enough to erect the team tent. From that point on, the day was wind, downpour, more wind, some thunder(race delay), then more downpour. Some competitors let the weather get to them. Some teams left early. The Wildcats didn't allow either. The boys placed 2nd to state #10 Ithaca in the seeded race, with Peter McMahon winning his third individual invitational. Teammate Mike Gomes raced the fastest 8th grade 5k speed rating in the state. The girls, without one of their top-5 runners, pressed on and won both the seeded race and the overall meet team merge. When the JV girls toed the start line in the final race with boys and girls combined, the line had disappeared beneath mud and water. Nobody was running personal records on this day. That did not matter. The first seven girls across the finish line were Wildcats for the win and a perfect team score, a rarity for any school team in any invitational.
October 11: Nothing good comes cheap. The Wildcat XC teams, self-chosen early risers, took to their training trails at 8:00am on Indigenous Peoples Day for a tough hill interval practice. Despite the challenging work, spirits were high and efforts even higher. Both teams are preparing for their coming Marathon Invitational course which is, by no coincidence, hilly. A good morning was topped off by a quick session of bounding.
October 6: The WG girls team took care of business at Baldwinsville, racing in control and notching their third victory in league competition for a winning season. For the boys, it was all hands on deck as they locked in a tight contest with evenly matched Baldwinsville. Out front, no one was a match for Peter McMahon, who raced solo after the first half mile to set a course record and notch the fastest Section III boys time of the season, which was also #7 in the state overall. All the drama came after. Trailing the Bee's #2 runner with only the finish straight to go, Mike Gomes erased a 20 meter lead and, at the line, leaned to a photo finish third place. That proved crucial. With Kevin Moser and Aidan Welch besting their Bville matchup, the Wildcats squeezed out a 27-29 victory and ending their league season at 5-1, trailing only Fayetteville-Manlius. Both teams get a welcomed breather from competitions and will train for the 10/16 hilly Marathon Invitational.
No mud = PR's
September 28: The early-season mud had dried. The race conditions at Oneida Shores were excellent, and the Wildcats finally encountered a flat and fast course under blue skies. Team wins were hard to come by given the competition. The girls faced state #2 F-M and #4 CNS, something not many other sectional teams(or sports) have ever experienced. Those teams provided the 'cats with a measuring stick for this and future seasons. The boys also squared off against a #2 state team in F-M, losing their first dual meet of the season, but they were able to power 1-2-3 against host CNS for their 4th win. They now stand 2nd in the SCAC Metro Division. Seasonal and all time Personal Records were pleantiful for both squads, the result of the day and all the hard pace-building workouts of the previous three weeks. Peter McMahon earned another stellar performance with a start-to-finish lead that grew to almost 50 seconds as he crossed the line with a Section III best time of 16:04.4, also #11 in the state. Mike Gomes is once again the #1 eighth grader in the state with his 17:41.2 5k. The hard work and hefty competition continues as both teams prepare for their Premier races at the regional McQuaid Invitational on October 2nd.
A Gilly state of mind
September 24: The WG Wildcat XC runners are fortunate to have at least four excellent training sites at their disposal. Their Camillus Middle School training/racing web of trails is one of the best on-site systems in upstate N.Y. Stormy days or poor trail conditions can be solved by a trip to the nearby Erie Canal Park, with its lengthy and well-drained tow paths and a sheltered pavilion for team meetings and dynamic pre-run warm-up exercises. And theirs is alway the home high school track for speed-based work. Gilly Lake Park, with it small lake and circling path, though, is a venue most of the runners enjoy visiting at least several times each season. Catch the place on a warm autumn afternoon with friendly skies, and the work seems at least a little easier. Memories of Gilly Lake workouts often et mentioned by alumni. The day's threshold run might be remember that way, especially with its excellent results. A two mile jog single-file up Ike Dixon Road to the lake sets the stage each Gilly Day. The work is usually of the threshold or interval variety, though steep hills can sometimes be thrown in. Group Core Drills then seem the only proper way to conclude before the jog back to CMS with another Gilly Day in the memory bank.
A muddy Senior Day
September 22: They were soaked before the races even started. The mud would come later. The Wildcats, though, celebrated a rough-weather Senior Day with convincing boys/girls wins over Nottingham. Claire Griffn and Zoe Maupin provided a 1-2 punch for the girls squad while Peter McMahon paced all alone out in front. Both teams swept the first six finish places. By the later modified races, the rain relented late even as the varsity teams moved inside to enjoy a spectacular Senior Day feast and presentations in the CMS cafeteria. Well done, parent organizers, very well done.
Mud and Mosquitos
September 18: The ESM cross-country trails provided a stiff challenge for all runners. Mud was the order of the day, but solid competition was also in no short supply. Both teams took on strong teams. The girls placed third, with Claire Griffin and Zoe Maupin logging top-10 finishes. The boys team earned a 2nd place finish. Kevin Moser and Mike Gomes were both top-10 finishers, and they followed teammate Peter McMahon, who won the individual race and finished almost a minute ahead of the second place racer. Mud or no mud, it was a good day for the Wildcats.
A good start...
September 10: A strong showing by the Wildcats opened their 2021 season at the VVS Invitional, this year a 2 day affair with Friday evening and Saturday sessions. The 'cats chose Friday night, which meant racing the perenial powerhouse F-M and other solid teams. The boys placed 3rd in their 17-team field, that despite losing their #2 runner to breathing problems halfway through the race. The rest stepped up. After the mile mark, junior Peter McMahon ran alone out front, winning in an excellent early-season 16:40.7. Behind him, teammates pushed hard. 1st year varsity runners, junior Kevin Moser and 8th grader Mike Gomes pushed and pulled each other to critical 11th and 12th place finishes to help secure 3rd place, only six points off second place Baldwinsville. On the girls side, no Wildcat cracked the race top-10, but Claire Griffin and Zoe Maupin led the squad with top-15 efforts, and only 25 places in the 160 runner field separated their first and fifth scoring runners. A second place finish behind #2 state ranked F-M was the reward for a solid and selfless team effort. The girls JV team placed 3rd while the boys JV captured 2nd. Good things are ahead for both teams. (Additional photos: https://www.facebook.com/West-Genesee-Track-FieldCross-Country-299210277348743)
Hills r Us...
August 27: Our "40 minute Hills" circuit is no piece of cake. .72 mile circuits, continuously looped, offer three good hill segments in each circuit. So the premium is on control and perseverance. Runners have the option to stop for quick water breaks, but most pass on the option. They went at it at the end of a "dense" first week of workouts and in high humidity. They're a tough bunch. They prevailed to top off one of the best opening weeks in years.
Beat the heat...
August 25: With a Central New York heat advisory in effect, early morning was the best time for the Wildcats XC runners to get in their workout along the Erie Canal. Temperatures never topped 80 while the crew was at work with tempo running and speedwork. It was also maintance day for Erie Canal Park volunteers, so the place was busy as everyone tried to get their work done before the 'feels like' spiked in the afternoon.
Wildcats XC begins....
August 23: After a long and successful summer preparation season, Wildcats XC 2021 got underway early at their CMS training area. Those with summer miles continued training progressions. Others began 'foundation training' to ensure safe and productive seasons. Recent rains kept the maintenance worker mowing schedule on hold and the grass high, but green is appreciated this time of summer--even a little leg mud. The 'cats are at it.
August 16: With the final week of summer training(our "First Season") underway, the Wildcats XC runners found themselves in different places. Some were squeezing in last vacations; some were taking a short break followng running camps, and some were keeping the team training trails company on a muggly night with long intervals and alternation runs. Karolina found Astoria Park downstate a nice spot to put in the mileage while on a trip. And Payton, needing a foot ladder for speed drills, deciding that chalk worked almost as well. But what about the forecasted rain? One Team Run to go....
August 9: It's easy to put a stop-watch to the work of runners and guage those digital improvements. The much more difficult task is to measure that critical intangible: toughness. But hang around runners long enough and you know it when you see it. Some 'tough' Wildcats shrugged off the heat and the humidity and the topography at their Camillus Middle School training site and and ground out hill intervals in the finest tradition of our 'grunt Mondays.' Their powers--as individuals and as teams--is growing.
Picking Up Speed
August 5: The first hints of a coming 'heat wave' greeted a strong showing of Wildcats for their Team Run. Time and field succession has granted them more shade on the Outer Loop, site of a 'marker workout' of 1000m long intervals. It was a good check on where the fitness is headed for the 'cats, and the results were positive. Claire and others already look set for strong seasons. One runner had a tough night, though, which was traced back to the lack of an adaquate breakfast. A teach-able moment. The next morning, she provided visual evidence of lesson learned.
August 2: Mild summer brought the Wildcats XC runners to the Erie Canal for a tempo run along the tow path. The goal was a good sustained-focus out-and-back four mile run. They pulled it off nicely and added strides and sprints. The girls decided their cool-down provided a team photo opportunity. Their summer mileage and comradery indicates it's going to be a successful and enjoyable Wildcats 2021 cross-country season.
Wildcats Distance Camp
Distance Camp - Session 1: A wide-ranging group of Wildcats--from high school veteran racers to middle-school neophytes, gathered on Monday night for Session 1 of Distance Camp. The warm, buggy night's agenda was alternation running to introduce several training types. Newcomers learned preparatory drills. New faces mixed with old and all got in some good miles.
Distance Camp--Session 2: Blurry, but busy, the girls group approaches the final hill of the CMS 5k course. They completed this 'course preview' as a fartlek run, and are ready for a course 'test' on Wednesday.
Distance Camp--Session 4: In the final day of Distance Camp, the athletes and coaches discussed how to use 'the day after' a race. Their Session Three 5k test the day before had gone well. A "combi day" in the final session provided some general conditioning run first for recovery purposes, then a short bout of L.A.T. drillwork. It's a short and sweet run of thirty-second hard 'ups' followed by thirty-second 'downs.' The ability to recruit fast-twitch muscles when tired is the goal, and 8-10 minutes is sufficient. The runners performed well with it, polishing off a good camp week and earning their bagels after.
July 22: Endurance and foot-speed go hand in hand and are the two prerequisites for high level middle-distance training and racing. A little speed training goes a long way in the cross-country season, but available speed must be honed because it contributes to running efficiency, which means you go faster for longer. Speed-side training was on the agenda this summer night for the runners--'up' zones around the Outer Loop. The Wildcats continue investing in themselves and their Fall season.
Cruising the Canal
July 15: July is the heart of Wildcats XC summer training, and at its hinge-point, the runners gathered along the Erie Canal for a threshold run in humid conditions. "Comfortably hard" is the mantra for threshold. The 'cats kept it shorter due to the heat and humidity, but they still looked strong. Good things are happening for those putting in the time and miles.
Strong in summer
July 12: Into the heart of July, the Wildcats XC runners must be ready for any conditions except snow. Rains have kept temperatures lower, but at the price of high humidity and soggy trails. Their Inner Loop came to the rescue for a Team Run with its typically well-drained terrain. The loop, unmowed due to wetness on other trails, did present more resistence than usual. The runners were working on their 5k pace progression, one that reaches from mid-June to at least mid-October. They are early in the long-interval progression, but efforts so far have been exemplary. Official sign-ups for Wildcats XC 2021, most know, are less than two weeks away.
July 1: Wildcats XC runners welcomed the first full month of summer with purpose. They wanted to take a look at their 5k paces, the strengths and speed of it. Thousand meter long intervals around the Outer Loop was the perfect distance. The day, though cloudy, held back the wind and the rain. Those hard-chargers on both teams are making their presences known.
June 24: No substitutions, no short-cuts. Middle distance success is a matter of accumulations--accumulations of miles and of seasons. Wildcats XC runners continued accumulating the miles at their Thursday Team Run, speed-side sets of alternating 'up' and jog intervals around their Outer Loop training trail. Accumulating the seasons takes longer.
They are off! The need for speed.
June 22: The best workouts always finish faster. The Wildcats XC runners of 2021 met for their initial Team Run of the season. The long, low-intensity miles of summer will be the most critical, but Team Runs are devoted to making sure the necessary faster work gets done and can be shared with teammates. Picture-perfect weather afforded the opportunity for some to complete introductory general conditioning miles, while the veterans(and some alumni) clocked a few miles of middle-intensity threshold running. All finished faster with incline "7 seconds" efforts. Nice to have the season underway.