Thursday, September 23, 2010

Racing begins with a trip to the High Country

The Screaming Eagles kicked off their 2010 XC campaign with a trip to Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. After 10 hours on the bus , the team toured the scenic Don Kennedy Trails course on Thursday evening. Friday started with an easy shake-out run from the hotel The team would later take a lunch trip to Subway followed by a campus tour of ASU (special thanks to Andrew Dixon). When 3:15 finally rolled around, the Screaming Eagles boarded the bus and headed back to the Don Kennedy Trails to face Big Ten title contender Ohio State and Division II powerhouse Queens University of Charlotte. Both race fields were small, but quite heavy on talent. The women were up first. After a faster-than-anticipated 5:32 opening mile for our front 5 (5:37 for 6-7), the course headed up a long climb at approximately the mid-race point. Heading toward the hill, the Buckeyes' top 6 had built a sizeable lead over the chase pack headed by 5 Screaming Eagles. Coming off the hill, Jackie Henderson had reeled in 2 Ohio State athletes to move into 5th. The combination of the hot early pace, a large hill at mid-race, 3,333 elevation and warmer than anticipated race conditions exacted a toll as the entire field slowed substantially. By the finish, 4 Screaming Eagles had broken up Ohio State's top 7, with a 5th just behind (the Buckeyes were 2nd in the Great Lakes Region last fall).

The men's race would have been much closer if not for a major mishap in the first 30 meters, when Michael Jordan lost a shoe after having his heel clipped by a teammate. Despite traversing over a mile of gravel in the middle of the race, Michael still managed to finish as the team's 6th man (the good news---his bruises and blisters are healing quickly, and he has resumed full training). The Eagles were lead by All-American Dustin Emerick, followed by NCAA 42nd placer Andrew Dixon, All-American Brendan Devine, 2009 GLVC freshman of the year Michael Callison and freshman upstart Josh Graham. When the scores were tallied, the Screaming Eagles tied Queens for 2nd at 57 points. The teams attempted to break the tie via a grappling match between coaches Mike Hillyard and Scott Simmons. Unfortunately, Simmons thought the match was governed by wrestling rules, while Hillyard was attempting to submit Simmons UFC-style. Although Simmons sustained a knee injury and Hillyard suffered a cut to the chin, the score ultimately remained a tie after both coaches tapped out simultaneously.

On Saturday morning, the team awoke bright and early to travel up the mountain to Moses Cone Park. After 90 minutes to 2 hours of running along mountain horse carriage trails and enjoying incredible vistas, the team reboarded the bus, headed back to the hotel and destroyed some waffles before embarking on the long bus ride back to E-Ville.

Up next for the Screaming Eagles: The Greater Louisville Classic on October 2nd.

This year's Classic will be a true Pre-National meet, as the men's race features 8 of DII's top 12 programs and the women's field will featured 9 of the top 25.

Go Eagles!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

First Workout

The team traveled to Lincoln State Park to conduct it's first significant workout of the season. A Fartlek over some wood chipped trails. On which there was a 400m climb located. The workout was as follows: 1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1 (minutes) on w/ half the timed segment ran as a rest recovery. This was the same workout for both the men and women. There was a small group that wasn't able to make the workout and conducted it on campus.
This is compilation of the two workouts.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

50,000 miles to Louisville

6 days into the fall campaign. 22 days until our opener in Boone, NC. 100 days until the NCAA II Championships at EP Tom Sawyer Park in Louisville, KY. Let's see...50 athletes at an average of 10 miles per day multiplied by 100 days.... just 50,000 miles of training to go!

100 days of baths, 2 hour long runs, mile repeats, hammer intervals, hill reps, slow drills, warmup drills, core routine, circuit training. 100 nights of listening to a generator purring outside your bubble. 100 days to chase your dreams...all for a few minutes of glory and the hope that, if it all works out, we get to come home with a big chunk of wood and brass.

That's what it's all about.

The Trial of Miles, the Miles of Trials.

"What was the secret; they wanted to know; in a thousand different ways they wanted to know The Secret. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals or zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart-rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottoms of his training shoes. The trial of miles, the miles of trials. How could they be expected to understand that?" - Once a Runner by John L. Parker, Jr.

And so we will be back at it when 5pm rolls around...back to that heart-rending process.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The beginning


Welcome to the 2010 Cross Country Season. Below you will find the e-mail that Coach Hillyard sent to all of us. For those of you returning you understand how important all of these things are for our success in the fall and on the Podium in December. If we hope to re create our 6th place finish and improve upon it we must become masters of all of these things. Incoming Freshmen; you must realize the impact you have not only on the season but the future of this program and instill these qualities in yourselves now.


The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” - Muhammad Ali

Here is the basic structure for your training for the next 8 weeks. I will send out individual mileage goals for each week for each of you tomorrow. Keep in mind that these numbers are not set in stone. I need your feedback, as I can’t possibly know every day what is going on with 56 distance runners. Some of you are still training, and a few of our incoming freshmen just finished their seasons, so your start dates will vary. All of the incoming freshmen need a week of complete rest after the completion of your season and then a 2ndweek of easy running every other day before resuming training.

A. Suggested weekly structure: 2 long runs per week (20% of weekly volume on Sunday, 15% on Wed or Thursday)

B. Pace/Effort: Run how you feel. It’s okay to get after it when you feel good… but only on occasion! This block of training is all a part of our broad based development, but it is not SPECIFIC to the cross country season. If you want to jump in a road race, run a hill session, fartlek, tempo, etc., you have the liberty to do so during this block of training. Just follow some general common sense rules: Make sure that proper recovery follows a hard effort, and make sure that you are not doing too much. Not sure? Ask! Be consistent. Be smart. Be accountable to yourself.

Good habits enable good athletes to achieve GREAT performances!

C. Hydration: Failure to stay properly hydrated will lead to poor recovery/performance and will also make you susceptible to injury and soreness. Chronic dehydration will also effect your mental focus (translation – you will not feel motivated to train). Solution: Keep a water bottle with you at all times. If you are thirsty, you will drink. If you don’t have water with you, you will mentally suppress your urge to drink and will eventually end up “behind the 8 ball” so to speak. Keep water by your bed at night, and make sure you are hydrating first thing in the morning…if you are getting 8 hours of sleep each night, then you haven’t had any water for 8 hours! You can’t afford to wait any longer. When you go to a national meet, you will notice that the athletes that end up on the podium always have water with them. Good habits enable good athletes to achieve GREAT performances!

D. Nutrition: Listen to your body when it comes to caloric intake. If you are hungry, eat. Understand that proper nutrition, however, plays a vital role in performance. Eat a balanced diet. Limit fast food, fried foods, and highly processed foods as much as possible. Eliminate soft drinks completely. This takes commitment and maturity – traits that separate Champions from the mentally weak , unmotivated, merely talented athletic masses. .. the ones that we will trample in November and December. Every one of you has the talent to be very successful. So does your opposition. The question, then, is obvious. Isn’t this all about doing what the weak ones are unwilling to do? You don’t have to be that tough to grind out a workout in front of your peers. Fat, untrained people can finish marathons… so even these folks can be “tough”. It takes real intestinal fortitude, however, to do the little things right…when no one else is watching. Good habits enable good athletes to achieve GREAT performances!

E. Ancillary Work:

Upperclassmen, you know what to do. Newcomers: watch the video links below. I know that summer schedules are hectic, but you can make time to do the pre-run and post-run work that will enable you to gain the maximum from your training. Strong runners win. It takes consistency to gain strength. Strength work combined with proper nutrition will keep your body in a metabolic state (building muscle strength) rather than catabolic (atrophy, loss of strength). Mobility work (hip girdle, slow drills) will maintain your range of motion and help to improve your efficiency. Good habits enable good athletes to achieve GREAT performances!

1. Slow Drills:

Great to do after a quality session, or after a long run.

2. The “Flanagan” Circuit:

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Use this summer block of training to get stronger. It’s no secret why Shalane Flanagan is the American Record Holder in the 10,000m. Get strong, run fast!

3. Hip Girtle routine:

4. Hurdle Mobility, Plyo style:

5. Push-ups, planks, core work… you can finish off every session with push-ups and core work.

XC Schedule: Fall 2010

Unfortunately, we will not be able to travel to Canada to open the season in late September. You can no longer travel to Canada without a passport (you actually can go there without it…you just can’t get back in the United States). Rather than spend $5,000 on passports or ask each of you to drop $100 each, we will open the season on Friday, September 17th against some very solid D1 competition at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville). We will stay over on Friday night, get our long run in on some nice trails in the Smoky Mountains on Saturday morning, then do a little sightseeing in the afternoon before heading home Saturday evening. The schedule is as follows:

Friday, September 17th: UT Invitational Knoxville, TN

Saturday, October 2nd: Greater Louisville Classic Louisville, KY

Saturday, October 16th: Fast Cats Classic Owensboro, KY

Saturday, November 6th: GLVC Championships Kenosha, WI

Saturday, November 20th: NCAA II Midwest Regional Louisville, KY

Saturday, December 4th: NCAA II Championships Louisville, KY

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Sizzle

It's been a while since my last blog post, so I will do my best to bring everything up to speed. At present we are a few weeks into our first summer block of training, and the heat index will be in the triple digits for the next several days. It's important to take every possible precaution to deal with the heat. Run early. Run late. Stay in the shade. Drink before, drink after, and make frequent water stops. All common sense stuff, but it's usually lack of common sense that gets you into trouble this time of year.

Outdoor National Championships - M0 domination

- Congrats to Mary Ballinger for becoming USI's 4th athlete to win an individual national title on the track (Elly Rono, Heather Cooksey Candace Perry are the other 3). Mary won the 3000m steeplechase in convincing form, running 10:22 to win by 15 seconds and narrowly miss the D2 championship record. Congratulations are also in order for David Goodman and Dustin Emerick who both qualified for their first D2 national meet on the track. Both finished 12th in their event (David = 3k steeple, Dustin = 10k). Keep in mind, guys, that Mary didn't come home with a national title a year ago...a little experience, and another 4,000 miles... goes a long way.

Brendan Devine - On to Eugene!

Brendan Devine will represent the Eagles Distance crew in Eugene, OR this weekend when he toes the line in the 10,000m at the USATF Jr. National Championships.

Dog Days of Summer

Tristan has a new dog. His name is Thriller. Surprised? Didn't think so. Thriller ate Cooper's leash. Tristan purchased a new leash for Cooper. It's pink. Surprised? Didn't think so.

Fall Outlook , and the task at hand

We have the honor, privelage and advantage of hosting the NCAA II Cross Country National Championships in November. We have 6 Senior women and 5 Senior men. We have very talented freshmen coming in, and we return the best 2008 freshmen class in the GLVC. Our sophomore group. We return 5 All-GLVC men and 9 All-GLVC women. We are not short on talent. Keep in mind, however, and I don't want you to gloss over this fact (this would be critical, fatal mistake): Talent didn't get us anywhere last year. The accolades we achieved (which in the grand scheme of things pale in comparison to what is potentially on the table for both of our squads this fall) were earned on hot summer days. On early mornings when we were grinding through hill repeats. And pool sessions. and 2 hour long runs. And endless mile repeats. And core work, drills, ice baths, and mile after mile after mile after mile logged on the trails. You earned it. You worked for it.

The Challenge: Are you satisfied? Can you be satisfied with anything less than OUR best? Are we going to be outworked by anyone? Let's look beyond the safe shores of the conference this fall. Beyond the region. Let's look at one thing, and one thing only. How good can you be? The answer is simple: As good as you allow yourself to be. The process too, is simple: Give your best EVERY DAY.

ONE FINAL NOTE: Congratulations Allie and Miles!!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

GLVC Champions

The Screaming Eagles made the most of their weekend in Rolla, Missouri, sweeping the men's and women's team titles in dominating fashion.

The men split an impressive 12.6 seconds for their top 5, taking places 3-4-5-6-8-9-11-15-16-20....that's 7 in the top 11 and 8 on the all-GLVC team (a new league record). All-GLVC members were Dustin Emerick (also the named the GLVC freshman of the year), Bryan Phillips, Brendan Devine, Brandon Campbell, David Goodman, Andrew Dixon, Sam Gebreselassie and Rob Roads. Not too shabby for a squad that had exactly zero GLVC Runner of the Week awards this fall.

The women kept things rolling right along, placing 6 on the all-GLVC squad and placing 10 runners in the top 21 en route to a 39-63 win over rival Wisconsin Parkside. Mary Ballinger finished 2nd in 20:59. Adrienne Curtis, Allie Shafer, Sarah Whiteman, Christy Dixon and Brittany Rutledge joined her on the all-GLVC squad.

Special mention goes to Kiel Lovekin and Lacy Williams, who both finished in a not-so-sweet 16th... one place from All-GLVC recognition (AAAGGGHHH....wait until next year!)

The team got right back to work on Sunday afternoon, logging an easy long run on the campus trails. On Tuesday the squads assembled at the IM Fields for our longest set of 800m reps all fall....8 for the women and 12 for the men. Not knowing what to expect on the heels of a hard effort Saturday, we were all greatly encouraged by the the men and women managed to run faster than the same workout 3 weeks prior (even with the additional 2 reps for each squad). All indications are that our best running is still ahead of it should be.

Congratulations, team... I'm proud to be your coach.

Up next: 6 mile cutdown for the men/4m cutdown for the women on Friday. And then....

On to Big Rapids, MI

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


On Saturday, the team trekked across town to compete in the UE Invitational.

The women ran very well behind Mary Ballinger's impressive frontrunning (1st, 17:18), finishing 2nd to Southern Illinois in a field of 22 teams. A tight chase pack continues to develop for the women, as Allie Shafer, Heather Beard, Adrienne Curtis, Sarah Whiteman and Holly Bartelt finished between 18:33-18:52.

The top 5 men ran a controlled effort for 4 miles before picking it up a bit over the final kilometer. Dustin Emerick, Bryan Phillips, David Goodman, Andrew Dixon, Brendan Devine, Brandon Campbell and Robert Roads split between 25:05 and 25:30 to lead the team to a strong 3rd place performance behind SIU and Belmont. Behind the front 7, Geb, Suarez, Lovekin and Z all finished under 26 minutes.

Congrats on a fine team effort, team!

The season starts Saturday...on to GLVC!