So I have been asked about “the streak“ many times over the last few weeks – It has been an interesting ride, for sure. I really didn’t know what to think If it was too important to me or not.
At the risk of being a little too transparent, which might make some of you think a little less of me, but I try to be honest with my athletes and am going to be a little transparent here.
So First off let me give you a few statics about the streak:
There have been 174 women’s entries to the state meet for Capital HS made by 84 different girls. Girls that go more than 1 time count as multiple entries. Out of those 174, 104 have come during the streak, by 47 different girls. There were 12 girls that qualified for all for years, Ariel Taylor, Aviva Browning, Bailey Campbell, Brianne Wright, Eliza Ramsey, Emily Cedarbaum, Hannah Hartman, Katie Blue, Lauren Pierson, Madison Guscott, Necia Jerome, and Nicole Hartman. We had 19 girls qualify just 1 time during the streak.
In Capital HS history there have been 24 times a girls team has qualified for the state meet – the last 15 of those came in the streak. Only 1 team in 3A has qualified for the state meet more than Capital in history (Lakeside) and the 15 in a row would be in the 8th most in 3A history. Capital has qualified the 10th most of any school at any level.
The streak is tied for the 2nd longest in history of the state by a public school – there are 2 private schools at the top, but I won’t hide my feelings that they play by different rules and conditions than public schools. Only South Whidbey and South Kitsap have longer streaks (16 each) Sehome qualified this year to get to 15 and tie us.
So one of the questions I get is: “Well how do you think this streak happened” Well first and foremost I have been blessed with a huge number of great young ladies to coach. And while of course I can remember stories of some of them better than stories of others but I have some pretty great memories of all of them. My first year of coaching the girls team was 1999, before that I was the assistant coach to Coach Miller, but he was the head coach and decided to let me coach the girls. 1999 was also the first year, since I had been at Capital, that we were 4A – it was a BIG jump in competition from where we were at and we were quite ready for the jump. Also, our top runner that year, Alyssa Ferdaszweski (now Vogt) had gotten a really bad sprained ankle towards the end of the season – she possibly would have qualified as an individual, but I did not let her run at the district meet because there was a lot of sand and going up and down curbs and I was afraid she would re-injure her ankle and ruin her basketball season – she was an amazing player who went on to a very successful career including college. I don’t think she ever forgave me for that, but I would make the same decision again. The very next year our girls worked very hard and it helped we got a freshman named Necia who was pretty talented herself. Our team leader that year was senior Lindsey Thompson, who I still see running the Lakefair run every few years.
We had girls like Emily Cedarbaum who every year just got better to hold her spot on the team and kept the streak alive.
We had some good teams but we just normally held on and hoped for the best, there were a few years where we were “lucky” to get in – we ran decent but another team totally folded an we took advantage. In 2002 a young lady named Ariel Taylor showed up and over the course of her time in our program she helped us change the culture that you really had to work hard to make goals and starting to “expect to make state” not hope to make state. Although I did have to invent the “too much information shield” for anytime Ariel and Katie got together and decide they were going to try and get me to blush or something. I do think that Meredith more than once encouraged them! Oh and the creation of “the spanker “ which is still around today and is a big part of team lore
In 2006 and 2007 we had our 2 best teams to date and had it not been for a unfortunate dehydration issue in 2006 we would have been on the podium for the first time in school history but we did get our first individual on the podium (during the streak) as Amanda raced to a 5th place finished and followed up with a 7th place the next year. I do have to say that the 2007 season will be one of my all time favorite memories as both of my girls ran on the team together and we were the district champions that year, our first of the streak.
About this time we could tell that the streak was something and the girls didn’t want to “be that team” that broke the string but it also started the time where I noticed as a coach that the team leadership was something that really made a difference to team performance. I started to try and start to focus in on our leaders early – try and encourage leadership in the things they do and let them just be what they were – great leaders. We had a number of very good leaders but there are a few that really stood out to me as excellent. Among the first was Brianne Wright and then we had Caitlin Hartman, Eliza Ramsey and Lauren Pierson. These girls were not only good competitors but they were also great in the way that they watched out for their teammates, and were excellent in the classroom as well.
The last few years have been the most successful. We won 2 district titles and brought home 2 state trophies. We placed multiple girls on the podium at as individuals and won a state academic championship or 2 along the way. Our teams grew from averaging 15-20 girls a year to averaging 30 (most of that to the great leadership of the girls on the team) In 2012 we had the “fastest team” of Lauren Pierson, Hannah Hartman, Nicole Hartman, Christine Maggi, Payton McGuin and Eliza Ramsey. The 2013 team was close to stealing the title but didn’t quite get there.
So how did it happen? Well I guess it just did. We had some great ladies as I said but after awhile we just had a shared purpose and some highly motivated young ladies that worked together as a team.
I got a bunch of questions questions about what did it mean you to in some form or another. I actually have 2 strong thoughts on the matter.
1. This is the selfish part – it got to the point where I thought that if we got to 16-17-18 it would earn me a spot in the XC coaches Hall of fame. Being as that I have not won a state championship that pretty much all the other coaches have won. It kind of became who I was as a coach, the coach that always gets to state. Respected by some but others had the attitude of “well what did his teams do when he got there”. It was a way that people could respect me. It actually might have become too much of what focus on.
2. This is the team part – I got to see many young ladies learn to work together, work hard, and battle towards a common goal. I got to see young immature freshman develop into strong, independent young ladies ready to take on the world. Many have moved on to great things – There are doctors – lawyers – business women – world travelers – teachers – and just about everything in between. Some of my greatest memories come from the girls who email me even now – hey coach, I ran my first marathon – Hey coach I am getting married can’t wait for you to meet my fiancé. Hey coach I have been following the team and they look like they are really improving (for those of you pre-2007 people you will never know love hate relationship that we have with athletic.net) Seeing alumni like Katie Blue and Courtney Strong stop by meets or practices over the years to support people following in their legacy.
3. The Individuals – we have many young ladies from through the years that never once ran a varsity race but had a big part of the streak – The Wells twins who always did XC to get in shape for bball but worked hard and encouraged those girls around them to work hard and it spread up the line – to Megan Haughton, who was one of our best team Captains who I probably should have listed above. The fact that these ladies weren’t on the varsity teams that qualified but still contributed is awesome to me – there are clearly other people that should be on the list.
The last question I got a lot yesterday: are you upset the streak is over.
To be honest I had to spend a little time alone yesterday after I knew – I didn’t want to come across as upset or To be honest I had to spend a little time alone yesterday after I knew – I didn’t want to come across as upset or disappointed in this group of young ladies. This group is a great group of ladies who works VERY hard – I had to pull many girls off of workouts this year because they were working too hard and I was afraid they were going to get hurt or get over use injuries – they support each other and cheer for each other like non other. Did we run perfect – no – but we ran well enough to get there and just got beat by better teams on that day. This was not a story about the girls that were there. We have had girls move away and a few girls that made commitments to this team and then chose not to follow through on those commitments – The girls that we went to districts with are the girls I wanted to go to districts with because of their heart and passions – the one I feel for is Rachel who unfortunately got hurt and couldn’t run for us at districts – but yet was there all week to support the team and did everything she could at the district meet to get them ready. It is a great testament to this group of ladies to get through as much as we have with injuries and other distractions and still be as close as we were – many of my coaching friends wanted me to pass on how proud you should be of yourselves after all that we have been through – most teams don’t even do as well as we did. Naomi Reyes, Kallie Kidder, Inanan McCartry, Marin Farrell, Aven Hart, Maria Smoot, Lexi Solis, and the injured Rachel Knutzen, you should all be proud of what you accomplished this year! I am very proud of you and even though only Naomi gets to run at state – she is there representing all that you stand for – hard work – team work – and racing to the best of your ability. She is a great representative of all of you and will do everyone and herself proud at the state meet.
We will be back – We get everyone that ran at the district meet back and based on reactions 2016 will be year one of a new streak – who knows – it might be a record before it is over. All I know is each year I feel like I have a new all stars and some-check that many of these young ladies feel like they could be my daughters. My extended family if you will. I never know whether or not I should give people hugs but I wish I could give everyone one of the over 200 girls that have run for me over the last 16 years a hug. Each of you has affected me positively and helped me develop in to the coach I have become – I hope that you all have as many fond memories as I do and I wish that I could have mentioned everyone that has ever run for me. But if I do run into I would love a hug and maybe a message back about some great memories you have.
Thanks for reading – it’s taken me forever and a few tears of happiness and I remember some great people and great stories. Sorry if it rambles too much or hard to understand