Analysis: Loudoun Valley (VA) comes in with the number one spot after claiming two back to back NXN titles. Last year the team had the lowest score in NXN history scoring 77 points. They return two of their top five and three of their top seven from last year's. They will be losing some of the teams key guys from the past two national championship teams in Sam Affolder, Jacob Hunter, and Connor Wells. They have the numbers and coaching to be able to make a third national title run in a row. This year they will be led by rising seniors Carlos Shultz who was 30th at NXN and Kellen Hasle who was 52nd. The big question for Loudoun Valley is who will fill in for the seniors who graduated in 2019? We should be able to tell from the team's first few meets if they've reloaded as they were able to do from the 2017 season to the 2018 season.
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A preseason Q & A with co-head coaches Marc and Joan Hunter
How long have you coached (overall/at your school)?
1988-1998 South Lakes HS, Reston, VA, 2006-Present Northern Virginia Athletic Club (NOVA AC) Youth Club, 2013-2019 Loudoun Valley HS
What's your meet schedule?
- Sat. Aug 31 Great Meadow Invitational
- Sat. Sept. 7 PTXC 9 Inv.
- Sat. Sept. 14 Oatlands Invitational
- Sat. Sept. 21 Loudoun County Championships
- Sat. Sept. 28 Oktoberfest Invitational
- Sat. Sept. 28 VTCA Inv.
- Sat. Oct. 5 Great American Classic
- Sat. Oct. 12 Glory Days Invitational
- Sat. Oct. 12 Albemarle Inv
- Sat. Oct. 19 Third Battle Inv.
- Wed. Oct. 23 Dulles District
- Thurs. Nov. 7 4C West Regional Championships
- Sat Nov. 16 4A State Championships
- Sat. Nov. 30 Nike CC Regional (NXR) Championships
- Sat. Dec. 7 Nike CC National (NXN) Championships Portland, OR
What was one important moment over the summer with your team and why? (Camp/Preseason Meeting/Etc.)
We hold a 24-hr relay every year that serves multiple purposes: Morale-boosting, team-building, fund raiser, community outreach, exposure of our sport to underclassman at Loudoun Valley. I also met separately with both the girls Varsity and the boys Varsity about goals and expectations this year.
What's focus on training over the summer for the varsity squad?
Building our mileage back up, building our weekly long run, twice-weekly hilly runs (includes our long run), some light effort-based fartleks, lots of strides, building durability through our warm-up routine and post-run strength work.
Which athletes do you see as a probable five/top seven this season?
Carlos Shultz, Kellen Hasle, Kevin Carlson, Taylor Ney, Jeremiah Mussmon, Mateo Barreto, Christian Arellano, Josh Walker have separated themselves so far.
Which athletes have taken a bigger role in terms of veteran leadership?
We have no natural "Rah-rah" guys but have several that lead by example and are trying to be more vocal leaders who hold their teammates accountable to the LVHS XC standards.
How have they shown it/what will you expect from them in 2019?
We are very up-front about what we are hoping for this year from the boys team. Our goals for the boys: stay healthy and focused, enjoy the process, and win a 3rd National Championship. They are in full agreement with this performance goal.
Who are some new faces who will make an impact in 2019? (i.e. freshmen, transfers, runners who've improved)
We really have no new boys that should crack our top 7 or 8 this year.
Six weeks before the state championships, what's a staple workout that's readying this team for the postseason run?
Most likely you will find a workout on grass involving some mix of 1000 meter reps at CV pace (slower than 5K pace) with 1:15-1:30 jog recovery followed by some 200 meter hill reps and flat, shorter, fast reps. Total time to run the workout will be in the 60-75 minute range, depending on the kid. This is a workout that you will find in the rotation fairly regularly from early season all the way through to NXN, with slight variations from week to week.
What will success look like in 2019 for this team?
Avoiding injury/illness that causes lost training time, faithfully doing the little things that champions do (sleep, nutrition, etc), staying focused on the process of training, all of which is necessary to winning the National Championship.
What's the biggest challenge facing this team this fall?
Complacency. I have seen this happen in sports where a team loses its identity or rests on its laurels once they become champions. That's our real challenge now. We lost 57 % of our National Championship squad to graduation so if we want to 3-repeat we will need to step up and work just as smart and focused as our team did last year, perhaps even more so!
Is there a quote or a saying, or a purpose your team lives by? What is it and why?
We have adopted a motto since we started coaching at Loudoun Valley - "Win the Day". We have 7 process steps to claiming and owning this motto. The first three steps are easy, the next four take sacrifice. In short, we ask kids to be students, athletes and people of character; wake up every morning with the goal of winning the day from a character perspective.
What are three big goals for this team in 2019?
Stay healthy, train smart, win the Natty
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Projected Top 5:
|1||Loudoun Valley (VA)||35|
|1) Carlos Shultz||15:08.10||2|
|2) Kellen Hasle||15:22.30||3|
|3) Taylor Ney||15:37.40||6|
|4) Mateo Barreto||15:38.80||7|
|5) Kevin Carlson||15:56.90||17|
|Average Time: 15:32.70 Total Time: 1:17:43.50 1-5 Split: 48.80|
|6) Jeremiah Mussmon||16:15.50||34|
|7) Elliot Petersen||16:20.20||43|
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MileSplit50 Boys Team National Rankings Countdown
|RANK||DATE -- TEAM|
|Aug. 20 -- Farmington (UT)|
|Aug. 20 -- Loan Peak (UT)|
|Aug. 20 -- Kamiakin (WA)|
|Aug. 20 -- Hersey (IL)|
|Aug. 20 -- Davis (UT)|
|20||Aug. 21 -- Jesuit (OR)|
|19||Aug. 22 -- Clovis North (CA)|
|18||Aug. 23 -- Bishop Hendricken (RI)|
|17||Aug. 24 -- Southlake Carroll (TX)|
|16||Aug. 25 -- La Salle Academy (RI)|
|15||Aug. 26 -- El Paso Eastwood (TX)|
|14||Aug. 27 -- Lewis And Clark (WA)|
|13||Aug. 28 -- Dublin (CA)|
|12||Aug. 29 -- St. Charles East (IL)|
|11||Aug. 30 -- Tahoma Senior (WA)|
|10||Aug. 31 -- Christian Brothers (NJ)|
|9||Sept. 1 -- Wheaton Warrenville South (IL)|
|8||Sept. 2 -- Corner Canyon (UT)|
|7||Sept. 3 -- Dakota Ridge (CO)|
|6||Sept. 4 -- The Woodlands (TX)|
|5||Sept. 6 -- York (IL)|
|4||Sept. 6 -- FM (NY)|
|3||Sept. 6 -- Newbury Park (CA)|
|2||Sept. 6 -- Great Oak (CA)|
|1||Sept. 6 -- Loudoun Valley (VA)|