Summer training letter!

Photo by Steven Bugarin.

This is cheating a little bit, using this as a post.  But I finally got a summer email letter out to my cross country team today.  We have six weeks until our first practice of the 2012 season on Wednesday, August 8.  The email also has a training schedule and a team handbook for 2012, including a schedule, attached (links below).

Team handbook.

Summer training schedule.

The letter:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

All XC—

I was visiting Ignatius for some afternoon meetings on Monday, and Jack Keelan found me in the faculty lounge.  That was as good a sign as any that I need to get a summer email out to the team.  We start practice in six weeks on Wednesday, August 8 at 8:30 AM on the track at Saint Ignatius.

I’m confident after some email communications that many of you are doing your summer running.  Dads, I know, have taken over the coaching job for Dan (our new freshman) and Brian Santino, Joey Connelly, and Andy Weber.  Tim Hatzopolous started the Maine South team camp this week, and Sean Freeman is running with the Lyons Township camp.  Ray Lewis says he managed to keep running during both his summer service trip and his Kairos retreat, and he has run some 5K races.

Just so you know, I am up to 40 miles for a few weeks now, while putting in another 50 or so on my bike.  I will start racing soon, too.  That’s a challenge to those of you who haven’t started your serious running yet. You don’t want to be slower than your coach when we get back to practicing together.  And I expect to be running quite well then.

Jack told me he had “only” run 52 miles last week after his self-imposed week off from running after the Midwest Distance Festival mile race on June 8.  If you missed that result, Jack was third in 4:11.15 for the mile, going past the 1600 in 4:09.64.  That’s a new school record, and it ranks Jack number two in Illinois for the year (first in 3A) and 27th in the country.

Jack’s fast mile and his medals at the state track championships in May also put a big target on his back.

This cross country season will be a very different kind of experience for Jack and for our team as we manage the expectations and the pressure of being the number one favorite to win the individual state cross country championship.   One way to help Jack, it seems to me, will be for us to have a strong team to support him.

It would mean a lot to Jack, I know, to go to the state championship meet on November 3 as a member of a qualifying team, as opposed to being an individual qualifier.  It would mean a lot to him to be a member of a Chicago Catholic League championship team once again, as we race what will be an improved  Fenwick team and our nemesis Loyola.  We would like to own the bragging rights to being the best team in the city of Chicago, where right now we probably would be slotted behind Jones College Prep and Lane Tech.

To meet those goals, we need a solid summer of running from the group of runners who are clearly our top four:  Jack Keelan, Chris Korabik, Taylor Dugas, and Andy Weber.

But our team will also have to get at least one amazing summer of improvement from a second group:  Tim Hatzopolous, Ray Lewis, Brian Santino, Joey Connelly, Johnny Villareal, Mickey Smith, Sean Stevens, Conor Duham, and Andrew Musur.  To succeed as a team this year, at least one of these boys will have to be the runner who improves so much that we are all amazed.  Of course, it won’t be a surprise to that boy, because he will know how hard he has worked.

We will have thirty more boys on the team.  One year from now, when I write this same email, you will be the boys that we will be counting on to defend our titles and accomplishments from this coming year.   We need you to begin your own improvement now to be ready for next year.   We can be a good team for a number of years down the road if we decide that we want to be.

I have attached some basic information on summer training and our team handbook for 2012.  These are also posted on Edline.    The handbook has a schedule in it, for those who need to plan ahead.


We are making plans for a few team gatherings during the summer, probably on Sundays at Waterfall Glen in Darien, IL, where some of us like to take our long runs on the 10-mile trail there.  We might have another gathering, perhaps out here in Michigan, where I am spending the summer, as well.

We do not hold an everyday summer camp as many of the top teams do.  It seems too difficult for us to do so, given how far apart we all live.  We are trying to make it easier for you to do your summer training by letting you do that training on your own.

Our team success in the coming season—and seasons beyond that—depend upon all of you putting on your shoes every day and running.

Go Wolfpack!


Coach Ernst

Coach Bugarin


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Filed under coaching, cross country running, IHSA, running

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