By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– The idea came about a few weeks ago to do some form of prep work in the week or two off in between their last meet and the district meet next Wednesday down in Corvallis.
The idea from McKay Head Coach Jason Zellick is to have a tune-up and an informal run in order to keep the competitive juices flowing and build some confidence entering the final week before districts.
“We haven’t done something like this before,” said Zellick. “We haven’t done a tune up like this before, so when we talked to McNary about it and say, ‘hey let’s do something fun like this’. We were really hoping that just it was something the kids could get a fast workout in, get something where they can build a little bit of confidence and get moving quickly and I think we’ve achieved that.
“It was a great thing for them, I mean you can hear them, they’re in good spirits and it’s good to lead into next week just feeling good and feel like we can run.”
Celtics Head Coach Kyle Rose liked how his athletes took advantage of this tune-up 3K in advance of the District race next week.
“I would say some of the kids used this as practice coming out here and practice, which is perfectly fine,” started Rose. “But I think some of the kids were able to get out here and work through some injuries and were able to run, I felt pretty good about that.”
Rose also adds that yeah it’s tough to know how your 3K run translates to their 5K times as a runner, but he likes the opportunity to see how his team is looking heading forward.
McNary Junior Kailey Doutt, who’s finished eighth or better five of seven races this year that includes a win in the Greater Valley Conference Meet with West Salem and McKay in Salem, said that this tune-up run gives runners like her another chance to go up-and-beyond from the average practice.
“It’s really important, it’s our one last shot to run hard and fast and see what we can do to prepare ourselves for Districts,” said Doutt. “To get an opportunity to race against McKay, it’s not like a normal practice where you’re going easy, it’s another chance to go fast. We’re looking forward to Districts next week.”
Scots Erik Brambila said that this opportunity gives them a chance to test themselves one last time against the GVC’s best while knowing that there’s excitement for next week.
“It kind of tells us where we are right now against the other teams in our conference. I feel like it speeds us up,” said Brambila. “I’m pretty excited. I remember freshman year when I ran at Districts, I ran a 24 (minutes), I was second to last and now I’m almost breaking 18, which is a different atmosphere because I wasn’t as competitive and I didn’t really set high expectations.
“And now I have to be up and the lead pack and set the pace because, since I’m one of the fastest on the team, it really pushes the people behind me.”
As the two squads go their separate ways for the next week, they know that this little test prep, like a study session for a final for a class at the end of the semester, will help them come test day next week at Crystal Lake Sports Park in Corvallis.
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