Most of the members of this Senior High XC division (above image) attended summer sessions in preparation for their upcoming season. Five of the members ended as All-Star Athletes in November after beginning team training sessions in July before their season began.
Success seems to follow the Mansfield High School cross country team. Just this past year, the program won yet another conference championship. It sent five runners to the River Valley All-Star race, had three distance athletes recruited by colleges, and had one individual champion sign to run at the university level next fall.
According to the coach, all this has can be directly traced back to the dedicated athletes that put forth extra individual and team effort to achieve. Specifically, running when it’s hot, inconvenient, or on an independent schedule molds the resilience needed for a highly touted program.
“That’s why we do the summer running sessions,” Mansfield cross country coach John Mackey stated. “We have kids that want success. We have kids that want to move on to the next level. Success stories can unfold on any given day. So, we meet early as a team in preparation for the fall season. It gives us a chance to continue the individual schedules many have followed on their own since school got out.”
The Tiger mentor explained that new and old team members have the opportunity to prep for next season with team training sessions through the month of July. Starting on Monday, July 9 and running through the first week of August, group members can meet for workouts on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in the evening. Sessions begin at 7:30 PM at the Mansfield City Lake and last until pre-planned routines based upon individual needs are complete.
“In less than 30 minutes for the beginners, and no more than a hour for the veterans, we can get much accomplished,” Mackey informed. “We have a plan for the beginners all the way up to the college bound athlete. It’s a fun, relaxed atmosphere that caters toward team chemistry.”
Athletes were given individual workouts that they could follow beginning May 27. That calendar runs through August 11, the week before school starts. Those individual routines will continue even through the July group sessions will come into focus.
“It’s just easier to run with someone,” Mackey expressed. “Some of our athletes are already meeting up for their independent runs. We even had some run in the Mayor’s 5K race. The time together is just motivating. Besides, the team sessions are in the comfort of shade trees down by the lake with a breeze.”
At the end of the 4-week long group sessions, the team plans a reward trip to the Alma Aquatic Park on August 3. Runners that complete the required number of workouts or pass the endurance test will be invited to the family friendly day out.
“The runners that meet expectations we enjoy all the amenities of the water park plus a cookout with family and friends,” the coach announced. “It was so much fun last year. I think our kids really enjoyed it, and are looking forward to another reward trip this summer.”
The coach was quick to publicize that first time runners are welcome to training sessions so long as they have a sports physical. That includes any Mansfield boy or girl that will be in the seventh through twelfth grade next school year.
“We had a first time senior last season,” coach explained. “She started the summer running a half mile. By the end of the summer, she could complete a 3 mile run. By the end of the season, she made the all-star team and some small colleges interested in her athletic abilities. I’d encourage anyone to give it a try.”
Information about the Mansfield cross country workouts can be found on the school website. Also, Coach Mackey can be contacted directly through his school email address at [email protected].