On a warm summer evening, they chased each other through a myriad of drills. Kids from the cross country team negotiated the course, jumped rope, did long jumps and mountain climbers, pushed Razor scooters using their non-dominant legs, and of course, did lots of running.
“Coach Hiro [Ikebata] and I designed the boot camp idea in order to recruit and get people interested in cross country,” Coach Sandy Laurence said. “We also wanted to sneak some great neuromuscular training in when they weren’t looking. Boot camp is a very hard workout. The kids today did 3x400s... They don’t realize everything they learned today.”
When the workout finished, the kids cleared the track of props before talking with the Woodinville Weekly.
Sophomore-to-be Dylan Hoopes sported a red t-shirt that read: Suffer Now, Summit Later. He was on last year’s team as a freshman, and learned more about himself as a runner.
“I got a lot of inspiration from several older teammates,” Hoopes said. “Watching them run, evaluating their form, and doing what they do to achieve good scores. Now I know some tricks around the course, when to speed up and when to slow down. And when to give my all to finish the race.”
Junior Chloe Fleuret sported the look of fatigue, after spending the warm day paddle-boarding in the afternoon and then finishing up with boot camp. As a captain this season, she feels the need to offer more leadership this fall.
“Whatever I can do to help out the team,” she said. “And to make sure that everyone is having fun out there, because that’s what it’s all about.”
Jeffrey Baldwin, a junior, possesses a 4.0 GPA and was lauded by Coach Laurence for his work ethic.
“I’ve been a hard worker in pretty much everything I do,” Baldwin said. “My goal this fall is to break 20 minutes in the 5K. This is my first season with the cross country team. It’s a new experience.”
Also taking part in the boot camp was ninth grader Shawn Kim. He’ll spend his days this fall in the classrooms of Timbercrest Junior High, but after school he’ll compete on the JV squad for Woodinville High School.
“I did track when I was in sixth grade but I haven’t done sports,” Kim said. “I’ve done speed skating for four and a half years. I feel a lot of anticipation for this fall, and I don’t know how I’m going to do because they’re bigger and older. I’m pretty good at running, but I’m not the best.”
As the kids dispersed and headed for home, Coach Laurence sat down for a few minutes on the green turf of the athletic field.
“The kids don’t realize that most of the training today was neuromuscular,” Laurence said. “We trained their brains, we trained their cells. We made a difference in their whole being. And they’ll be faster by next week’s camp because of it.”