Those two words are how I’ll sum up a performance that meets or exceeds expectations. When a team or individual performs to their potential the performance is well done.
I’ve seen many teams suffer under the burden of expectations, it’s not always easy to live up to pre-season hype or the thoughts that a group might be together that could reach some lofty goals.
This year the Dordt women’s cross country team had all the makings of a fine unit when the pre-season began. There was enough returning talent to lend leadership. There was enough youth to provide excitement and energy to a a group that had had a healthy amount of experience. There were runners who, it seemed, were just beginning to tap their talent. And there was enough depth to withstand the inevitable sicknesses and injuries that come along over the course of a three month season.
The ground work for this season was laid with miles last spring during the track season and yet more miles during the summer. There is no “getting in shape” during the college cross country season. The season is meant to refine conditioning and peak at the right time of the year. All pretty inexact sciences. What works for one runner may not work for another.
You need a steady hand as coach. When do you push the runners through the rough spots. When do you ease up and let them set the pace? When do you back off the miles? When do you taper. When do you run a race for experience and when do you put it all together to try and win. There’s more to it than just saying ” go hard and run fast.”
I guess what I’m trying to say is this: all seasons are fragile. A lot of things have to go right to have a successful season and when it all clicks it’s something special.
To Coach Van Dyke and the 2012 cross country runners, well done.