Scouting Report: Desert Hills Girls

Top 7 Girls Returnees: (Full Team Score Rankings)

1Desert Hills High School (UT) 51
1) Bailey Brinkerhoff16:36.601
2) Lauren Leukenga17:27.706
3) Lily Poulton17:40.9010
4) Chloe Kockler18:02.1016
5) Macie Barney18:06.3018
Average Time: 17:34.72 Total Time: 1:27:53.60 1-5 Split: 1:29.70
6) Trinity Schimbeck18:06.9019
7) Haley Rountree18:35.2040

Q&A with Desert Hills Coach Fielding

1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?

This is my 12th year coaching cross country. I was an assistant coach at Fremont High under Ryan "Chili" Ortega (he now coaches at Weber High) for one year and then became the head coach at Desert Hills when it opened in 2008. It has been great starting a program from scratch and seeing how far it has come since that first year. I can't believe this will be my 11th year at Desert Hills.

2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?

We really promote the TEAM and family culture. Everyone is welcome and we want everyone to be a part of our cross country TEAM. Since we are the Thunder we really preach "Thunder Family" in all that we do. We keep everything positive and try to motivate each other to be the best we can be every day. Young women buying into working hard and the TEAM aspect has created a lot of success for us over the years.  

3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?

I didn't run in high school or college and regret this. I started running in my early 20s and immediately fell in love with the sport. I went from not knowing what I was doing to being fortunate to run in the Olympic Trials for the marathon. My style and philosophy on coaching is that if you put in the work over time you will see the benefits. Success sometimes takes time and you have to be patient. It doesn't happen overnight. I am all about dreaming big. I want runners who have have big dreams and goals who are willing to work for them. It is so rewarding to see this in youth today.

4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?

We basically do a lot of what other teams do. Running is not rocket science. We are fortunate to have access to a lot of trails by the high school. We spend a lot of times on the trails. We found that this helps a ton with injury prevention for high school runners. We preach as coaches that "hills make us stronger." We do a lot of hill work and tempo runs over the summer. As the season progresses, we doing more progression runs along with mile repeats. Three things that have been extremely helpful the last couple years are 1-Yoga in the workout schedule, 2-Aqua jogging and swim workouts during the summer (it helps when it is 105 degrees), 3-Focus more on mental and breathing techniques.

5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?

All of our top 7 runners return this year.

6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?

We have a pretty good idea of who our top 7 will be but we have a lot of girls who will help us out this year. Bailey Brinkerhoff, Lily Poulton, Trinity Schimbeck, Samantha Nelson, Macie Barney, Haley Rountree, and Chloe Kockler are our top Seniors this year. Lauren Luekenga, Anna Powell, Serra Hook, and Amanda Marchant are our top Juniors. Madi Strasner and Kennedi Schimbeck are our top Sophomores. We are very fortunate to have a deep TEAM this year.

7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?

Bailey Brinkerhoff, Lily Poulton, and Trinity Schimbeck were selected as TEAM captains this year. All three of them work extremely hard and are all about helping others be better. They have been Varsity runners since their freshman year. They are veterans and know how everything is supposed to be. They motivate and push everyone on the TEAM to be be better every day. They epitomize what it means to be a student/athlete and servant leader.

8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?

Not one girl has stood out but what has been so impressive is how much depth we have and seeing the girls work so hard together. They are extremely focused on having a great XC season. They are having a lot of fun but have major focus this year on what they want to accomplish not only as individuals but more importantly as a TEAM.

9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?

We have a lot of new freshmen girls on the TEAM this year. They are working hard but may not see a lot of Varsity time due to how much depth we have from our upper classes. It has been fun seeing some of them want to push up with our top group every once in a while. The future looks good.

10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?

Three of our big invitational meets that we will focus on this year are the Utah County Invite (great meet put on by Timpanogos), Woodbridge Classic (Norco, California), and the Cedar Invite.

11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?

Just making sure we keep everyone healthy.

12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?

We have talked to the girls about not focusing on the state meet or Nike but rather focusing on one day at a time and being the best you can be each day. If the girls focus on the present and continue to have this mindset, the success at state and Nike will fall into place. We firmly believe this (especially this year).

13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?

Tempo runs in Warner Valley are the bread and butter for us in the summer. It is like our own version of Colorado's Magnolia Road. It is a dusty fire road and hilly. We also do 500m dirt hill repeats behind the school that add a lot of character to the TEAM during the summer.

14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?

We do a version of the Michigan Workout underneath the lights in September that is by invite only. It is a big deal for those girls who get invited to do this workout. Those who don't do the workout will come watch and cheer on the TEAM. We also get a lot of parents who come and watch. It is a lot of fun. We do this same Michigan Workout at the end of October or first of November in prep for Nike Southwest.

15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?

We like to do cut down mile repeats a couple weeks before our big end-of-season meets. Start at race pace for the first one and then finish faster on the last two.

16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?

1-Win Region

2-Win State

3-Top 3 at Nike Southwest