With the IHSAA canceling spring sports, the distance team for the track has done something different, virtual meets. Distance coach Erik Forehand says when he heard about it, he wanted to get involved right away.
¨Brownsburg cross country coach, John Latta, posted the idea on Indiana Runner.com. Immediately when seeing this, it was a no-brainer to get the distance group involved. The boys have been training daily since November and the earliest they will compete again will be this August. Competition is a great way to break up the daily grind of training and test your fitness. Since joining, I along with other coaches throughout the state who are involved, participate in a weekly zoom meeting on Tuesday evening. We discuss event options, meet scoring and prep for the following week to keep things interesting and fun,¨ Forehand said. ¨So far, we have used traditional track meet scoring, cross country scoring and have been mixing up race distances. This coming week the boys will compete in up to two of the following events: 3200, 800 or 4×1600. The teams involved in the racing series include Avon, Brownsburg, Columbus North and many other Indiana High Schools. There are also schools from Michigan, Ohio and Illinois participating.¨
While the Bulldogs had big goals for the 2020 season, those hopes were dashed by school being canceled and subsequently spring sports. Team members still prepare and train every week as if they are running a real meet. Sophomore Chris Netherton enjoys staying in shape and enjoys the team staying in shape as well to stay in a competing form.
¨I like how we are putting forth the effort to continue to run and make sure we are better than the other teams,¨ Netherton said. ¨I have done very well and continued to improve.¨
Junior Sebastian Ashbach had big goals this year that were dashed by the track season being canceled. But after these virtual meets began, he’s still aiming to achieve his goals.
¨For me, it was disappointing that I would not be able to showcase the results of all my hard work. I wanted to break 4:50 in the 1600m and 10:30 in the 3200m but my overall goal was to get faster for the cross country season,¨ Ashbach said. ¨But I quickly moved on. I see this as an opportunity to train for next year and get an early start. I am very grateful that we have an opportunity to somewhat compete because although it isn’t like it has been, it is still an opportunity to see where I am compared to other runners. I think competition drives me to work harder and so having virtual meets is very beneficial to me.¨
Coach Forehand has been impressed with the results and is ecstatic about how the team is giving effort.
¨The guys have done a fantastic job of continuing to stick with training and haven’t missed a step. If anything, with the extra time they have available they have been logging more mileage and focusing more on ancillary work. It seems apparent they understand that both their individual and team success relies on consistent training over months and years, not just days and weeks,¨ Forehand said. ¨The boys are enjoying and learning from the virtual meets. Considering they are timing themselves, measuring out distances on the road, and having to compete and test their limits without anyone else around, there is no question they are learning and becoming better for it. Outside of helping them pick the race they compete in, each week, they are pretty much coaching themselves during the virtual meet. They’ve demonstrated a tremendous amount of self-discipline and independence throughout this process and these are life skills that are going to greatly benefit down the road.¨
Purdue University commit Genesio Christofanelli´s final season of his high school career was cut short. He looks forward to his future as a Boilermaker but looks back to his high school career missing his teammates and the workouts.
¨It does suck, but now I´m looking forward to college, focusing on my future to make it the best it can be,¨ Christofanelli said. ¨It sucks not being able to see the guys every day when we embraced the grind, which made both track and cross country special and very memorable.¨
Coach Forehand also acknowledged how he was disappointed that the distance team seniors season was cut short as well.
¨You feel awful for the kids, especially the seniors who were not able to display all the hard work they have put in over the weeks, months, and years. With everything going on and all the uncertainties, it’s really tough to imagine being a kid in high school going through this,¨ Forehand said.
The aspect the team misses as a whole is training with each other. Netherton misses his teammates and their encouragement.
¨I miss the team because they feel like my family. I enjoy how we’ve won meets or suffered during practice. But we all got through it and we grew stronger. They are awesome,¨ Netherton said.
Ashbach also reiterated the same idea about missing the team and the social aspect of being on a team.
¨To be surrounded by guys ready to give a hundred percent effort is very encouraging and so I miss being present with the whole team. When you run alone there is nobody there by your side to keep pushing you. I also miss the social aspect of training with the team. We are there to train but we are still able to have fun with each other and that’s the part I miss the most,¨ Ashbach said.