Huskies Hit The Ground Running In First Practice
Aug. 25, 2010
Picture perfect would aptly describe the first day of practice for the Washington cross country teams, as the men and women officially kicked the 2010 season into gear, heading for a morning training run that ended on the Husky Stadium FieldTurf.
The Husky distance crew reported on Monday, collecting their gear, going through compliance meetings and photo shoots for the freshmen, and enjoying a team lunch with family members on hand. Tuesday was set aside for physicals, with the runners working out on their own, or in the case of the men, a large pack led by junior Max O'Donoghue-McDonald.
Finally, today was time to get down to some real business. The team met at the Dempsey Indoor facility and headed off on a run to Madison Park. Upon returning to campus, a few runners with larger mileage volumes continued the run, as the rest of the team recovered and stretched on a sun-drenched Husky Stadium field.
"Yesterday they did a workout on their own. It sounds like that went pretty well," said Head Coach Greg Metcalf. "Today was just an easy kind of run, which varies in mileage for some of our kids. We drove up and watched a group of women crest a hill at Madison Park, and it was awesome to say the least."
A few hours before the football team would return to the field for its second of two practices, the distance group ran its own patterns around the field, doing sets of strides up and down the field.
Coach Metcalf soon rounded up both men's and women's teams and walked the group through a series of fitness drills, with a big assist from junior David McCary, who expertly modeled each new motion in the series.
A trip up and down the Husky stadium steps helped stretch the legs out, and the practice ended with the 40-plus Dawgs on hand coming together for a team cheer, followed by Metcalf instructing the group to hydrate and refuel properly.
Allison Linnell, a sophomore in eligibility but entering her third year on the squad, was happy to be back with the team, recapping a summer which was still in full swing judging by the weather.
"It's nice to have everyone back together again," said Linnell. "The first day back is always fun just to talk about summer and everything. It's nice to see our team together and to start getting ready for the season. Everyone looks really good. Lots of people are just having fun running."
The first day of practice also gives the coaching staff a chance to gauge how the athletes have improved their strength and fitness over the summer. The biggest leap for many runners often comes between the first and second years, as they've learned what it takes to compete at the Division-I level.
"It's fun watching the kids that were freshmen last year come back and they're much better at doing our circuit, doing the hurdle drills, they've become more proficient. Then seeing closer to the finished product in the juniors and seniors who have it figured out," said Metcalf. "I think we've got a good group of young people, we are pretty healthy, so there's a lot of excitement to see what the next 12 weeks holds."