Kyle Kepler talks about the MWC Championships.
Oct. 29, 2007
We were scheduled to compete at our conference championships in San Diego. However, due to the massive fires in that area, the league office and coaches decided to move the meet to the University of New Mexico. It was a natural move as UNM was next in the rotation to host and were willing to take on the meet despite the short notice. We ran there last year for Regionals and the course is very nice. I spent most of Tuesday evening and part of Wednesday coordinating the change of plans in terms of air tickets, ground transportation, and hotel accommodations. Those things went about as well as they could considering the short notice.
The trip to Albuquerque on Thursday evening was smooth. However, with the changing temperatures and the stress involved in a typical college student's life, we had a few of our gals battling illness. We always talk about trying to decrease stress and pressure on the immune system at this time of the year. Invariably, there always seems to be a few illnesses. We have more depth than we've had in my first two years, but our program is still not at full strength due to not having any seniors this year. When I took over two years ago that is what I was given. Since then, the program has grown and become much better, but we are still a year away from really having full depth. The great thing is that our team has never talked about that. They have only focused on improving and moving their program forward.
I never heard any complaints about the illnesses even though the sniffling and coughing was pretty evident with a few of the kids. Still they prepared themselves to race and visualized team and individual success. Our big goal was to challenge New Mexico for third place, but we also knew Wyoming would be gunning for us. After finishing 6th a year ago we wanted to take another step or two forward and move into the upper division of our league.
The course was a 2K loop followed by a 4K loop. I was very pleased with our start and how we positioned ourselves as a team after the first 2K. At 3K we still looked very good and were giving UNM a good challenge for third. We moved well through 4K and then from 4K to 5K we started to lose some ground. Our fifth runner, Becky Mackelprang suddenly went into an uncontrollable coughing attack and could not finish. Janett Ern took over for her and didn't make it to 5K before she went very ill and dizzy. Meanwhile, our top four were running a tight pack (15 sec spread). Our fifth was not Kellie Anderson, who was probably the most ill of all our girls, yet she was running as hard as she could. Kellie finished as our fifth about a minute behind our 1-4 pack. Kellie has been part of that pack and looking great in workouts the last two weeks, so it was really a shame for her to be so ill. If she finishes with our 1-4 pack then we would have been right in the hunt for fourth.
I fully expect that we will regain our health and our team will put forth there best effort of the season in two weeks. We will have to if we want to meet our goals. Our region is one of the most difficult in the country. We had five teams qualify for the NCAA championships last year. That is 17% of the entire field from one region which is a lot. Most regions don't have more than 2-3 teams qualify. Talk to you in two weeks.