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  • Prep Middle Distance Thriving

    I've just noticed the depth of prep middle distance runners in the country and, more specifically, where I'm located in California.

    Last weekend alone there were four standout performances: Matusak (junior Loyola H.S.) run a 4:18/9:10 double; Withers (Cardinal Newman h.s. senior)ran a ten second p.r. - 4:10; Bethke (El Toro h.s. junior) ran a national best 5:22 2k with a 57 sec. closer - broke Eric Hulst's record; and Gatel (Edison h.s.) run an 11 second pr 4:13.

    The notion that middle distance running is in need of CPR at the prep level - or that kids these days are not into it like they used to be, apparently isn't true. In Southern Cal it seems every year over the past 5 years, has been getting more and more competitive.

    Unfortunately we haven't been hearing much from these kids once they advance beyond the h.s. ranks. Hopefully this will soon be changing.

  • #2
    Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

    They seem to use up their greatness in High School never to be heard from again. Webb is still a shell of his former self. Magness has not done anything at the college level so far. Maybe these talented high school runners just lack maturity. It is certainly frustrating to see all this high school talent wasted.

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    • #3
      Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

      Southern California is the king of running the shit out of kids, getting them run "great" times by their junior year, getting them to hang on for a senior year and shipping them off to the University of <fill in the blank> where they're so burned and exhausted that they give it up by their second year of school.

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      • #4
        Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

        Trackhead may be right about some kids, but I believe there are others who run well in high school because they have coaches who care about them and know them as individuals and tailor running regimes that suit the kid's needs. Then they go off to high profile programs and college coaches make them into just another cog in the machinary of the local running machine. Often, they go from a sheltered environment with friends and support into a depersonalized atmosphere where teammates are rivals instead of pals. Probably kids should be tougher mentally and emotionally... resilient enough to adjust to the reality that DI athletics (in any sport) is a business with pretty harsh realities.

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        • #5
          Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

          Why did Steve Scott, Jim Spivey, Porter, and Steve Spence adjust better to the harsh environment of college athletics?

          The current decline in US distance is a strange mystery. I say call lieutenant Columbo. Only he can solve this problem.

          I have heard explanations concerning the decline of US distance running ranging from over-training to not training hard enough. When you get so many different explanations you know nobody really has an definite answer.

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          • #6
            Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

            >They seem to use up their greatness in High School never to be heard from
            >again. Webb is still a shell of his former self. Magness has not done anything
            >at the college level so far. Maybe these talented high school runners just lack
            >maturity. It is certainly frustrating to see all this high school talent
            >wasted.>

            Incredible! How long has Steve Magness been at Rice?

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            • #7
              Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

              >Trackhead may be right about some kids, but I believe there are others who run
              >well in high school because they have coaches who care about them and know them
              >as individuals and tailor running regimes that suit the kid's needs. Then they
              >go off to high profile programs and college coaches make them into just another
              >cog in the machinary of the local running machine. Often, they go from a
              >sheltered environment with friends and support into a depersonalized atmosphere
              >where teammates are rivals instead of pals. Probably kids should be tougher
              >mentally and emotionally... resilient enough to adjust to the reality that DI
              >athletics (in any sport) is a business with pretty harsh realities.>

              Maybe they just don't want to train anymore. Let's face it - middle distance running is hard work and there may simply be a limit as to how long a given person wants to put up with it.

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              • #8
                Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                I was unfair toward Magness. Maybe I was thinking of a different runner.

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                • #9
                  Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                  I think that another part of the equation is the coach. In my own daughter's case, she was highly motivated in college up until her first coach departed. After a succession of new coaches, it was going through the motions and then dropping out of both track and school.

                  The importance of the coach cannot be overstated. We should be thankful for the truly good, inspiring coaches who are around.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                    >I've just noticed the depth of prep middle distance runners in the country and,
                    >more specifically, where I'm located in California.

                    The notion that middle distance running is in need of CPR at the prep
                    >level - or that kids these days are not into it like they used to be,
                    >apparently isn't true. In Southern Cal it seems every year over the past 5
                    >years, has been getting more and more competitive.

                    Unfortunately we haven't
                    >been hearing much from these kids once they advance beyond the h.s. ranks.
                    >Hopefully this will soon be changing.

                    I completely agree with you that the performance charts are looking better in CA again. One big difference we are noticing today is that CA is back on the map after some of the other states (MI, IL, TX, VA, MN, MA, etc) caught up to - and in some cases, surpassed - CA on the national leader boards. CA never disappeared in terms of having its usual sub-4.10 types and guys under 9.00, it is just that those 8.41s and 8.42s could have been expected from CA with all of its depth.

                    Every decade since the 80s in CA has still produced high-profile names (i.e.: Jay Marden, Larry Guinee, Roman Gomez, Calvin Gaziano, Eric Mastalir, Mark Mastalir, Paul Thomas, Marc Davis, Scott Robinson, Reggie Williams, Bryan Dameworth, Louie Quintana, Coley Candaele, Meb Keflezghi, Mike Katri, Obea Moore, Aaron Richburg, Michael Granville, James Menon, Angel Martinez, Michael Stember, Ryan Hall, etc.) - with many of those athletes running stellar at 800m, 1600m, and 3,200m - or a combination within each discipline.

                    I agree that it has been a long while since the buzz surrounding some of these kinds of CA products followed them deeper into their careers after NCAAs.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                      What have I done at Rice?
                      8k PR, 10k PR(which in it, I beat my 5k PR TWICE!), 3k PR and we haven't even started the main season yet. Research a bit before you post.
                      http://www.ScienceofRunning.com

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                      • #12
                        Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                        Steve, have a great season ! Do it for YOU, not for us !

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                        • #13
                          Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

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                          • #14
                            Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

                            Compare the number of races the avg. American HSer runs to the number that Haile Gebrselassie runs.

                            Fall
                            =====
                            10 5ks

                            Winter
                            ======
                            ? (I never ran indoors, someone give me some insight)

                            Spring
                            ======
                            4 2miles
                            9 miles
                            7 800s

                            =========
                            I don't think this is an outrageous estimate at ~84km of racing.

                            Compare that to Haile G.:
                            1997 84km of racing
                            1998 72km of racing
                            1999 54km of racing

                            And Haile's probably run 100,000+ miles in his life and runs 5000-6000mi/yr while the unfortunate American HSer runs 1500mi/yr (if they're lucky) and has a lifetime volume of less than 5000 mi. No wonder American burns the shit out its kids. Look at what the Africans do: a lot of aerobically based running and minimal racing.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Prep Middle Distance Thriving

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