Record times at Woodbridge Invitational
As the sun set behind the hills of Norco on September 18, the Laguna Beach Cross Country team arrived at the Silver Lakes Sports Complex for their second meet of the 2018 season, the Woodbridge Invitational. The 38th Annual Woodbridge Sketchers Cross Country Classic is the largest cross country meet in the nation, with over 350 schools across 15 states.
The pinnacle of the two-day invitational was the Dough Speck Sweepstakes Race, which had 9 returning state champions and four national qualifiers, making this year the most competitive race in the meet’s 38-year history. Among the nation’s best teams was Laguna Beach High School. First up were the boys. At the start of the race, the leaders went out in a blistering 4:32 mile. Seniors Sebastian Fisher and Ryan Smithers ran side by side the entire race, averaging just under 4:53 per mile, throughout the 3-mile course. Both Fisher and Smithers finished in the top 35 and ran well under the modern school record, clocking a 14:38 and 14:40 respectively. Following closely behind was Senior Zack Falkowski (15:08), Sophomore Mateo Bianchi (15:20), and Senior Cal Neilson (15:21), all posting times that would leave their mark on Laguna Beach High School’s all-time top ten 3-mile list.
Boys Cross Country Team in record books as fastest team in LBHS history
In his second cross country race ever, sophomore Will Compton closed out the Breakers’ top six by running a phenomenal time of 15:51, solidifying his spot on the CIF Southern Section’s number one ranked team, LBHS. As a team, Laguna Beach ran a team time of 1:15:07, establishing themselves as the fastest team in LBHS history. The Breakers were the top Orange County team, as well as fastest small school (Division 4/5) team in the 38 years of the meet’s existence. Coaches Scott Wittkop and Tommy Newton-Neal were very pleased with how the team stayed relaxed and competed in the electric environment of the Sweepstakes race. Coming off of a meet victory up in San Francisco, the LBHS girls cross country team was also invited into the Sweepstakes race at Woodbridge. They also clocked the fastest team time in the school’s history with a time of 1:31:21. Senior Hannah Konkel broke the school record in the 3-mile running a time of 17:31. Both cross country teams are currently ranked in the top 5 of CIF Southern Section and will run their next race in Central Park at the Sunset League Prelims meet on Sept 25.
Linked below is a list of cross county racing flats. Cross Country flats are lightweight/aggressive shoes that are designed for racing on cross country style courses (2miles - 10k).
Also, there is a list of Garmin running watches that the coaching staff would highly recommend for our runners. Depending on the watch, they will tell you run pace, distance, speed, time, laps, heart rate, etc.
Our first race is now under our belts. For freshman they now have a PR (personnel record) and have an idea what races are like. Our returners had a good day with 90% setting new PR’s. Just to point out a few, Dane and Omid ran 3 minutes faster than last year and True and Timmy ran over 2 minutes faster than last year at the Great Cow. Rookie Will Compton lead the team in his first ever cross country race. Those that did not race had a great workout and cheered on others as they raced. I am very proud of the effort of all our boys.
-- Coach Wittkop
Fartlek + Time Trial
The Adventure Comes to an End...
The first day of our extended stay in Ireland was very low key. We let the kids hangout in their rooms and recover from our 15 hour travel day. We took Sunday off from running and ran through several city parks for our recovery run the next day. On day 11, we ran to HOWTH for a recovery run on the cliffs. We went shopping and played Gaelic football in the park as well. On our last day in Ireland we did another great workout in Phoenix Park and took the train to Rainforest Adventure Mini Golf. We played lots of Mafia, card games, got stuck on a train, went to the National History Museum of Ireland, and played ships and sailors in Merrion park (tempo park). We all had a great time on our adventures, got some great training in, and are ready/excited to come home!
Back to the States...SIKE!
Today was the last day of our trip! We started with an early morning tempo on the track. Solid workout across the board. We then showered, packed, and headed out to Dublin Airport from Galway. After a three hour bus ride we made it to the airport where we had to go through two security check points and customs (we lost several rollers, tool kits, and were patted down). Once through, we all got on the plane and were in the air headed home when the pilot came on the speaker and said that there was a maintenance safety check that had been completed but not signed off by the manufacturer (and could not be completed at LAX) so we must turn the plane around and head back to Dublin. At this point, we were 3.5 hours into our flight and had to make a uturn above Greenland. On our way back to Dublin they gave us ice cream... so that was cool. Once we arrived in Dublin, we got everyone’s luggage (everyone except Coach Shah’s, which is still lost) and headed off to the hotel (arriving just before 12pm). Total travel time for the day: 15 hours. We are staying at a very nice hotel called the Davenport Hotel with rooms, breakfast, lunch, and dinner comped by AER LINGUS. We will have half the team fly home on AUG 18 and the other half on AUG 20.
Recovery Day at the Aran Islands
After some tough training and a lot of traveling, the boys finally got a day in Ireland with no running. We took a boat to the Aran Islands and rented bikes to cruise around the islands. Boys team had the day to sightsee, play on the beach, get hot cocoa, and explore the island. In the evening, we ate dinner (chicken and rice), played ball, watched the girls music video, and had a rap battle. Sadly, Tanner Burton left with his family a day early. The boys sang the teams theme song of the trip (Country Roads) to send him off. Tomorrow, we leave for the airport.
Sunday Long Run
For this weeks long run, we traveled deep into County Galway to the Portumna Forest Park. This park was an ideal long run location because we were able to get in 11 miles on winding dirt single tracks through the forest. After stopping for some food and water at the grocery store we let the kids have a few hours of down time, then it was off the the city of Galway for some exploring. When we got home the boys challenged the girls to tennis/volleyball and indoor/outdoor soccer. For dinner we had pasta.
Rise and Shine it's Running Time!
With a tight schedule, we had an early morning run to start off the day. The boys did a quick 5-7 miles at 5:30 in the morning so they could get on the road. Once on the road, everyone slept on the bus until we arrived at the world famous Cliffs of Moher! We walked along the cliffs, to the castle, and took a lot of pictures. From there, we took a 15-minute ride into Doolin for a traditional Irish lunch at a local restaurant. With our bellies full, we made it to our last stop, Galway. For dinner, the team walked through downtown Galway and picked a spot that looked good. Tomorrow, the team will do their weekly long run and explore the city.
Day trip to the Blarney Castle
After yesterdays tough workout, the boys earned a well deserved recovery day, which was a short run on a field at the local athletic club, followed by some quick strides and core/ band work. From there, everyone was off to the Blarney Castle! The team scaled the spiraling staircase to the top of the castle, where we all hung upside down over the edge of the castle to kiss the Blarney Stone (we all have good luck now). We walked through the fern gardens, the poison gardens (where they kept many dangerous plants), and the caves under the castle. Once we got back to Cork, both teams held team meetings to discuss their goals for the upcoming season. We will depart for Galway after the run tomorrow morning.