Winslow return their entire varsity squad from last year's AIA Cross Country State Championship. The Bulldogs finished 7th in the D3 Boys' race but have been adapting their training to be stronger through the end of the season this time around. Their scoring varsity keep a tight spread under a minute, led by Noral Cooper who ran 17:07 at Desert Twilight last year and finished 28th among D3 boys at State. They will also have a few newcomers fighting for varsity spots and could help them tighten the pack to challenge Prescott or Salpointe.
Coach Janeen Barton Says…
Who are your top returners?
We return five boys who all ran at State: Noral Cooper, Nolan Begay, Bryant, Navasie, Chad Belone, and Payton Nicholas
Do you have any impact freshman or new transfers?
We have a handful of freshman and transfers that have surprised us in the preseason and we're excited to see how they impact our varsity. Elijah Jensen (Jr.) transferred from Flagstaff with his brother Jeremiah, who is a freshman. We also have freshmen Kannon Boloz and Braedon Lincoln. Kannon did well at our middle school program and Braedon moved to Winslow from Wyoming where he ran 5:37 for 1600m.
(Left: Payton Nicholas finished 54th for the Bulldogs with a 5km PR of 18:07 - photo by John Hays)
What kind of mileage are you guys doing and what has been the focus of the current phase of your training?
We are still building our base and maintaining our fitness with a lot of strength training. We're probably running about 30-35 miles a week. As Co-Head Coaches, my husband [Coach Wilburt Barton] and I are pulling back on the intensity and focusing more on plyometrics and body weight exercises to strengthen their legs and their hips and avoid the injuries later in the year.
What advice do you give to any athlete who just ran the worst race of their career?
When an athlete has a bad race, I always like to encourage our athletes to build on their worst moments so that they can look back at them as a lessons or motivators.
What's the most important thing you want young people to learn through running?
When my husband and I started coaching, we wanted our students to know that there are opportunities available and life lessons to learn through running. If they can get through a workout in 100-degree heat, they can set their minds on getting back up when they are down and persevere.