The day went by with a blur, I really didn't get a chance to absorb the races, how well we did, or even notice the number of friends, family, and parents that braved another cold rainy day for the meet. I spent the morning helping set up the course, coaches meeting, and worrying about the deteriorating course conditions.
Before I knew it the middle school girls and then boys ran their races. I was happy to see how hard our future runners ran in the conditions, and how they had smiles on their faces for their last race of 2013.
Our girls had big goals, and as I saw them warming up, they seemed calm and extremely ready for the challenge. The last things I told them was to run some of the corners wide, because of the slippery conditions and to remember the words "I CAN". The girls followed the plan we have used all year, ran the first mile at your pace, and work hard after that. It was so much fun watching Karly win the 1st EDC individual title ever for the Knights. As each Central girl ran past me, I could see the determination on their faces. Cheering for them over the last 200 meters I was so proud of our girls as they charged home fighting for each and every place.
The boys were already lining up for their race as the girls were finishing. The boys were running a complete team for the first time since Northwood. They have battled through so many things this year, most of them out of their control. They have fought through setbacks of injured hip flex, asthma attacks, weeks of sickness, and spraining an ankle. I could see more nerves on the boys faces and also a grim determination, I knew they were going to give me everything they had. After the race we knew they hadn't accomplished the goals they had set, but they went out and gave everything, no coach could ask for more!
I have to admit, I did go peek at the team results when I was talking to DeVillers from the Grand Forks Herald. I never shared those results with the team, I wanted them to feel the excitement of what they had done! I was extremely proud to get get the chance to hand out the EDC All-Conference awards to our eight runners. 2007 was the last time GFC had that many All-Conference runners.
As for the double coach of the year award, it is nice to be recognized by your peers for your TEAM's performances. Eric Polries and Steve Johnson both deserve credit for those awards as well, but it truly is the athletes that win it. It's their hard work, their hours of doing the little things like strength workouts, stretching, and icing. They battle through sore legs, knee's, hips, and weather that goes from high 90's to low 40's and still perform when the gun goes off. It's their dedication that makes us coaches look good.