Saturday, February 4, 2012

XC Season Continues...

On this blog, I post a LOT about coaching.  I coach two teams, and my children participate on one of them... and I love to run.  Naturally, most of my posts are about cross country.  However, I am also married to a coach, and for the record, he is THE coach, and I just happen to be in charge of two teams.  Although I haven't posted as much about the Union County team as much as I should, Scott has done amazing things at his job, and he is an amazing coach.  It's like the Bad News Bears meets... well, I don't know... fill in the blank with your inspirational movie about a coach who loves the players and turns them into athletes.  He is not afraid to share his faith and sets such a great example for his players.  I love him... Mr. Coach Duley rocks!  
   On September 9, Sharon came to town and took the boys to see Scott's football team play.  The girls and I stayed home because it would have been too late of an evening with traveling.  The boys enjoyed being there, and the girls were certainly excited to have Grandmama come and watch them race.   I got to race with Hannah, and she ran a PR at the beginning of her season.  Sarah also had a great race, and we could tell this was going to be a good year for her. 

After the Sherman Day 5K, a group of girls came over to work on crafty projects and enjoy snacks and coffee punch.  The girls were working on things to sell at the Riverfest to raise money for the Kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.... I LOVE my Spartans!!!

On September 17th, the Spartans and Toppers were racing in different locations.  Kay came to stay with us for a few days, and she and Scott took the girls to their race at Saltillo High School.  One of the best things about Scott's new coaching job is his ability to set his own schedule and make himself available on Saturday mornings when necessary- the kids love having their daddy get to come to races.

 Hannah and Sarah ran the JV race.  The race start was very crowded, and the girls fought being boxed in.
Hannah was trapped in the very back behind a girl who fell, and her time suffered.  Sarah rallied and finished in the top 15, receiving a top finisher shirt! This picture is a little far away, but if you could see Sarah close, you would see that she races with her tongue sticking out!

Both girls worked hard and we are very proud of them!

The BMC team raced in Starkville at the Mississippi State Invitational.  The women's team finished 3rd, right behind MSU and LSU!  Their times continued to improve.

The next weekend was the Tallahatchie Riverfest 5K in New Albany.  This 5K has grown to be a large race, and most runners in our area come to participate.  The Spartans came to compete, and the BMC runners came to serve as timers/ course monitors... it was nice to have both teams in one place! 

Some of my BMC runners kindly agreed to run paired up with Duleys... Kacie ran with Hannah, Bryan and Brian ran with Josh, and Jose ran with Will.

The day was perfect for a 5K... clear, cool... nice!  All 4 Duley kids ran in this one AND Scott!  He postponed his football meeting until afternoon so that he could be there to see the kids and run with them.  I just love this picture of Josh and his friend Jon below!  

After the race, we  went to a booth at the Riverfest craft fair and displayed many things that the Spartans had made to sell for the kids at St. Jude.  Everything sold went directly to St. Jude through Preston's Pit Crew... Our St. Jude marathon team.  Over $100 was sold, and the leftover items were sent to St. Jude to be given to the kids there as gifts. 

These were wire crosses donated by the Sanders' girls... very cute!
Hannah made fabric drawstring bags... This was a great project, because she gained a great deal of independence and confidence while using the sewing machine for these.
Sarah and Leslie Howe made a variety of cute tote bags- There were many other darling items... from baby slippers to pillows to Christmas ornaments to stuffed animals- the generosity and creativity of the Spartan girls was amazing!

The first weekend in October was the Rhodes Invitational at Shelby Farms in Memphis, TN. The BMC women had to run a 6K race, and the BMC men kept their standard 8K distance.  (The Spartans had an off weekend.)  Before the Ladies race, a group of runners from another team asked runners to join in prayer. So many teams were eager to participate that there was a sizable circle of athletes at the starting line.

 I just love the new BMC uniforms... Had to get a good front and back shot of them!

In the women's race, all of our ladies were faster at the 5K mark than in the previous races... and they still had a kilometer to go... on a legit cross country course.  It was interesting coaching a group of runners on the course that was considered our "home course" in high school; we practiced at Shelby Farms several times each week.  This was also the course that I ran with a broken foot in college- I definitely know that it is much easier to tell girls to pick up knees and push up a hill than to actually do it!    

On October 8th, We had the second "Meet the Toppers" day with a 5K race, plate lunch sale, games, and athletic introductions.  There were several races scheduled for that weekend, so we had a fairly small crowd.    However, the Spartans showed up and had another good race... on another beautiful morning!  The BMC runners hosted a face painting table, a coffee table, and a 4-square game. 

The next weekend, the Toppers would hit the road again... this time we headed to Owensboro, KY.  In my mind, I thought Owensboro was right across the TN border... WRONG!!  It was about a 7 hour trip!  We had a great day, though, and here is the press release concerning the meet:

OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Austin Epting and Latifa Swims led Blue Mountain College to respective fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the Fast Cats Invitational here Saturday.
     Epting powered his way to a sixth-place finish out of 107 runners with his 8k time of 26:58.73, and Swims cruised to a 12th-place finish in the 107-runner 5k field with a time of 19:24.38.
     Austin Peay State University won the men's competiton and the University of Southern Indiana captured the women's title.
     Southern Indiana took the top four spots in the women's race, led by Jackie Henderson at 18:26.60. In the men's race, David Baker, running unattached, led the field with a time of 26:01.99.

BMC WOMEN: (12) Latifa Swims 19:24.58; (34) Kelsea Posadas 20:16.65; (38) Tuesdae Rowland 20:31.72; (52) Emma Baxter 21:16.33; (73) Kacie Harris 22:37.30; (82) Beth Goolsby 23:01.59; (93) Keira Mayfield 23:56.86.

BMC MEN: (6) Austin Epting 26:58.73; (28) Richard Feist 27:59.03; (45) Hunter Flanagan 28:55.58; (48) Brian McDonnieal 29:00.91; (54) Nathan Young 29:15.80; (55) Jose Valle 29:17.0; (58) Riley Bennett 29:32.35; (62) Derek Scott 29:42.90; (65) Bryan Cook 29:52.12; (79) CAsey Bales 20:49.30; (99) Drew Bruce 33:50.99; (103) Zack Brock 35.00.92.

Congratulations to Latifa and Austin, who were the TranSouth Runners of the Week!

After the Owensboro meet, the BMC runners were mid-season and ready for a weekend OFF.  It worked out nicely, because the Homeschool national championship meet was October 22 in Springfield, MO. 

The Spartans met and caravaned from New Albany to Springfield... caravaning with 1-3 cars is one thing.  Trying to caravan with about 20 cars is a whole other ball game, especially when bathroom stops are made and 50 people are trying to use 1 potty! Sarah rode in the Cobb van, and had fun with her peeps!
Richard Feist went with the girls and I, and we enjoyed his company!  On the way, Richard drove and I watched a preview copy of the movie, October Baby on the laptop.  I think he was a little uncomfortable when I cried for a solid hour during the movie!  It was really good, but a real tear-jerker!  (Below:  Precious, Julie, and Hannah at our CiCi's pizza lunch stop!)
When we finally arrived in Springfield, we jogged the course.  Whoa.  The course was abounding in hills, but NOT abounding in marker flags or arrows!  With the help of some other homeschool coaches, we figured things out and had a pep talk for the next day.
A surprise was waiting for us at the hotel.  No room at the inn.  Somehow the hotel had gotten overbooked, and we only had about half our rooms that we had reserved.  A less than ideal ending to a LONG day... we crammed Spartans into parent rooms and then packed about 6-9 runners in the remaining hotel rooms!
The next morning came too soon!  Everyone was excited and ready to go, though!  The races went well, and the winner of the girls' race was amazing!!  Don Cobb brought a group from AFA to film the race and do a documentary on the meet.  It was fun seeing the four wheeler with camera crew out in front of the leaders... it was just like flotrack!

Sarah ran a PR of 21:38, finishing second in the JV race/ 13th overall (6th grader!).  Hannah ran a PR of 25:48, stepping up and running as the 3rd JV Spartan!  It was a hilly, hilly course, so they did AWESOME!  I don't know if I can keep up with Sarah anymore!
On the way home, everyone mutually agreed to find their own way back!  We had lunch at the mall food court and then headed back to Mississippi!

The week after homeschool nationals was "fun week,"  Since we were not worried about injuries, we had our annual shaving cream fight on Tuesday and then Crazy Hair Day on Thursday.  Thursday was also Josh's birthday, so I had to miss crazy hair day this year.

 Above:  Sarah, Me, Hannah, Will, and Josh- thought I better write it down, because we are not easily discernible under all the shaving cream!  It was a beautiful day for our group to get yucky in the park!
This year I was not the only coach to get dirty... Mwahahahahahahaha

For crazy hair day, Sara went with a crazy punk theme, and Hannah made her bun look like a ball of yarn!

Now it was time to wrap up the BMC season... We ended October with the Conference championship meet.  Our runners did a great job and finished well.  Here is the press release:

Jackson, TN- Led by Austin Epting and Latifa Swims, Blue Mountain College captured a pair of second-place finishes in the TranSouth Athletic Conference cross country meet here Saturday. Union University captured both team titles, followed by BMC, Bethel University and Freed-Hardeman University.

Epting, a junior from East Union, and Swims, a freshman from Carrollton, each finished second in the men’s and women’s races. Swims was named the Newcomer of the Year among the TSAC women runners.

Epting ran the 8k men’s race in 26:23, second to Union's Alex Bett at 25:32, and Richard Feist of Saltillo was fourth at 26:47.

Swims ran a 5k 19:12 to finish behind Union’s Allison Martin in 19:02. BMC’s Kelsea Hendrix of Corinth was fifth at 19:56, and Tuesdae Rowland of Ripley was seventh at 20:34. Epting and Feist were named to the men’s all-conference team, and Swims, Hendrix and Rowland were named to the women’s all-conference team.
BMC RESULTS (overall finish in parenthesis)
WOMEN 5k -- LaTifa Swims (2) 19:12; Kelsea Hendrix (5) 19:56; Tuesdae Rowland (7) 20:34; Emma Baxter (10) 21:01; Kacie Harris (15) 22:01; Beth Goolsby (18) 22:21.
MEN 8k -- Austin Epting (26:23); Richard Feist (26:47); Brian McDonnieal (12) 28:15; Hunter Flanagan (28:25); Jose Valle (14) 28:45; Riley Bennett (19) 29:17; Casey Bales (21) 29:20; Bryan Cook (23) 29:35; Derek Scott (26) 30:17; Nathan Young (27) 31:03; Zack Brock (30) 32:54; Drew Bruce (31) 33:41.

Above: Bryan Cook, Drew Bruce, Jose Valle, Brian McDonnieal, Riley Bennett- Freshmen Toppers
Below:  Seniors Hunter Flanagan, Tuesdae Rowland, Richard Feist, Nathan Young- I will miss this group of runners!

Two meets remained on our race calendar... Regionals and then Nationals.  Going into Regionals, we knew that it would be very difficult for any BMC runners to qualify for nationals.  Our grouping this year was MUCH more competitive, but at least we got to go visit St. Louis!  AND, Scott and the girls got to go with us, making it much more enjoyable for me!  (We dropped the boys off with my parents for the weekend on our way to Missouri.)  After checking into a NICE Drury Inn, we jogged the course and then did some downtown sightseeing.  It is probably a good thing that Scott stayed in the hotel room during this time, because me driving the bus in downtown St. Louis was a little frightening for all parties involved.

Beth, Kelsea, Tuesdae, Kacie, LaTifa, Keira, and Stephanie under the arch
 Senior guys- Richard, Hunter, Nathan
 Here they are again with Derek... He is not a senior, but definitely one of their group!

The race went about as I expected.  The runners gave it their all, and Latifa ended up being the only one to qualify for nationals.  Most everyone was relieved that the long season was over.  After the race, we went to the St. Louis Zoo and then to Lambert's in Sikeston, MO for some throwed rolls on the way home.
 Sarah and Hannah at the zoo

 The runners were being silly in front of Lambert's... Thanks to Austin's dad putting our name on the list early, we had a little bit of a wait... but it wasn't 3 hours!!

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