JACKSON County runners hope the miles they’re putting in now translate into stronger endurance and swifter times come fall.
At the very least, it’s a starting point.
“I feel like if you give me something to work with — some mileage over the summer — what we can do in three months during the season just increases,” Jackson County cross country coach Joseph Brubaker said of the teams’ offseason running program.
Brubaker said an average of around 10 high school runners have shown up for his twice-weekly sessions while anywhere from three to 10 middle schoolers are taking part in these workouts.
“We’re trying to get as much participation as we can,” Brubaker said. “It’s been a little bit better than past summers, which is encouraging — some new faces.”
Nathan Galloway, a rising junior who was the top miler this past spring for the Panther track team, is taking advantage of the program for dual purposes.
“I’m excited I’m doing it this year,” said Galloway, who hopes to work his 5K time down into the 16s. “It’s going to help a lot with both cross country and track season for next year. I think we’ll have a good shot at placing well at regions this year because we’ve got a good group of guys last year.”
In years’ past, the team devoted two days to distance. But now the team logs its longer mileage runs Mondays and reserves Thursdays for workouts on the track.
“I’m just trying to get them used to speed work,” Brubaker said of the track sessions. “Some weeks we’ve thrown in some circuit work to try to build in some strength.”
The better prepared the program is now, the better prepared it will be for August when the season starts.
Brubaker describes the girls’ team — state qualifiers the last six seasons — as in “reformation mode” following the loss of three consistent scorers from last year. But he said he’s encouraged by the new girls joining the team. Meanwhile, the boys’ program is “still trying to turn the corner,” according to the coach. But Brubaker said the numbers are good and talent should be better this fall.
Brubaker is optimistic about the new faces and returnees alike and is hopeful that both programs can reach state. But the process starts now.
“I’m encouraged with the people that are here and that they are willing to come out and give up some of their time over the summer,” Brubaker said.