Scouting report interview with Springville head cross country coach Samantha Smith. Last year, the Springville boys broke through on the national stage earning an at-large berth to compete at the Nike Cross Nationals. Enough key pieces from their 2016 team success remain including two front runners in Grant Gardner and Brandon Garnica that Springville should be one of Utah's top programs and remain nationally competitive this fall.
The Springville girls also should be competitive and find themselves among the top half of the field in many of their major races with 5 varsity runners back.
Top 7 Boys Returnees (Full Team Scores Rankings)
|1) Grant Gardner||15:04.20||3|
|2) Brandon Garnica||15:16.70||7|
|3) Caleb Garnica||16:00.90||43|
|4) Zack Dalley||16:17.10||76|
|5) Adam Krieger||16:23.20||85|
|Average Time: 15:48.42 Total Time: 1:19:02.10 1-5 Split: 1:19.00|
|6) Carter Paxton||16:53.62||150|
|7) Devin Pancake||17:08.10||195|
Top 7 Girls Returnees (Full Team Scores Rankings)
|1) Ella Park||19:09.20||66|
|2) Mariah Skinner||19:18.40||77|
|3) Kaitlyn Gee||19:31.10||97|
|4) Katie Rex||20:57.80||241|
|5) Avery Baldwin||21:04.70||254|
|Average Time: 20:00.24 Total Time: 1:40:01.20 1-5 Split: 1:55.50|
|6) Abigail Cannon||21:29.20||295|
|7) Kate Chatfield||22:45.60||396|
Q&A Interview with Coach Smith (Springville)
1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
This is my 5th year at Springville, my 6th year total coaching.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
Honestly, I think a lot of our success is due to the culture that the athletes have brought to the program. When I started our team was really small but had some quality athletes who really worked hard and built a culture of hard work and consistency.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
As much as I love running, life isn't about running but running cross country can teach you a whole lot about life. Obviously, I want my athletes to be dedicated and work hard, but I also want them to remember why they run. If they lose the joy of running regardless of what level they are at, I have failed as a coach. I think my style of coaching reflects that. We work hard but we play hard as well. I'm also not afraid to tell them why we do certain workouts or what they can do to take things to the next level.
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
Build a good base, have quality long runs, and personalize training plans for each athlete based on their ability and goals.
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
On my Boys Varsity we are returning 5 of our 7 and on our Girls Varsity we are also returning 5 of our 7.
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
7th man is up for grabs by a few of our boys, specifically: TJ Roberts, Nate Martin, and Connor Hansen
7th man is up for grabs by a few of our girls, specifically: Katie Rex, and Lydia Felix
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
Boys: Grant Gardner, Brandon Garnica, Connor Hansen, and Santos Quintana
Girls: Ella Park, Avery Baldwin, Kaitlyn Gee, and Mariah Skinner
Honestly, our coaching staff could have chosen a dozen athletes to be captains because of how hardworking our team is this year, but these individuals are consistent, positive, and good examples of how when you work hard regardless of your ability great things will come.
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
That's a long list, we have a lot of young kids who have worked really hard this summer. I'm excited to see what the season has to offer them.
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
On the boys side we do have a lot of young boys, it will be interesting to see how they do by the end of the season.On the girls end of things our Freshman are going to be the lifeblood of our Varsity Squad. We ran 3 Freshman on varsity at the Highland invite and we have 2-3 more that are close behind.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
We are going to be going to Murray, BYU Autumn Classic, and Bob Firman
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
I think keeping the athletes healthy is number one. Just making sure we find the right combination of mileage and speed without injury is always tricky business.
12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
Our successes will come directly from the amount of effort these athletes put into the program. If they work hard, hold each other accountable, and stay mentally tough, there's nothing they can't accomplish.
13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
Carrying on the tradition of my high school coaches Brian Kuhlmann and Monte Marshall, we do a 4 hour relay every year where we divide the team in to teams of 7-9 and do mile repeats relay style for an hour. It's always fun to see how each team matches up to records from previous years.
14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
We have a few staple workouts we rotate through, from hill repeats, to 1000/1200 repeats to quality tempo runs. Things just get shorter and faster as we get closer to the end of the season.
15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
We do a workout called the Denny's workout that is always fun. It's a bunch of repeats starting with 1200's and working our way down to 200's getting progressively faster. After the workout, we go to breakfast, usually Denny's, hence it's called the Denny's workout.
16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
That's tough to answer. Obviously we have some big goals as a team and goals are meant to stretch you, so verbalizing these goals can be a little intimidating. Both boys and girls would like to try and take home a State trophy this year (a State title would be a first for Springville Boys), qualify for Nationals and place well at Nationals. Last year our main focus was just making it to Nationals and so once we got there it was a good learning experience that I don't think we were quite prepared for, Now that we know what to expect I think we can do a little better than last year.