KEEPING TRACK - Cross Country Team Success

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KEEPING TRACK - Cross Country Team Success

Written by Rod O'Donnell on 29 July 2018.

There is one unmistakable fact about the top teams in the 2017 state cross-country meet; they all have a strong history of championship meet experience. This is illustrated by the top five teams in Division I listed in order of their finishes and the number of appearances that they have made since 2000: Hudson (12); Hilliard Davidson (15); St. Xavier (17); Mason (11); Medina (12). Prior to last year’s meet, all of these teams have placed first at least once. The experience factor is also true in Divisions II and III in both the boys’ and girls’ races.

The success of these powerful programs can be attributed to several other factors:

-       Consistent coaching – All five of the Division I powerhouses have had either the same coach or are led by an individual who has been associated with the program as an assistant or an athlete.

-       A strong middle school feeder system where a running culture is established and nurtured.

-       A strong running community that many times includes an area running club and frequent local road races.

-       Parents who are supportive and who understand the components that are necessary to succeed.

-       Attentive media that provide coverage of the team.

-       A school administration that supports, appreciates, and understands the sport.

-       A schedule that is diverse and provides opportunities to compete against the best competition.

-       Team camps that are used as team-building experiences.

-       Good, safe areas to run.

-       Runners with a great work ethic who pass that trait along to their teammates. In the words of the team psychologist in the classic baseball movie, The Natural, “Winning is contagious; unfortunately, so is losing.”

-       Tremendous pride from all of those involved with the team.

Ohio has many outstanding programs that are led by some of the best coaches in the country. Support your local teams by attending their meets. By doing so, you will not only enjoy the experience, but you will let the athletes know that you appreciate their participation in one of the greatest sports in the world.


Yours in track,

Rod O’Donnell


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