Last year, the Casteel Colts finished runner-up in the D2 Boys race at the AIA State Championships. This November, they're hoping to come within striking distance against the Flagstaff at Cave Creek Golf Course.
The Colts carry a 38 second spread across their scoring runners which make them very formidable as a threat to break the Eagles' winning streak.
The Colts started their season off at Desert Solstice Festival, where both the boys' and girls' varsity teams finished third. A little over a week and a half ago, Casteel finished second in the Large School Varsity Boys' race at the Titan Invitational and followed up with a victory at their home invite, a week later. The girls finished third in the varsity girls' race, behind Perry and McClintock.
You can catch the Casteel Colts running at the Chandler City Championships next week at Tumbleweed Park, their Sectionals at Crossroads Park on November 8th, and then in the Division 2 races at the AIA State Championships in a little less than a month.
Coach Lemieux Says…
Like many coaches in Arizona you were a former student-athlete. Are there any styles or influences from your own career at ASU that you have applied to the program as a coach?
One of the biggest lessons learned was individuality. After having a pretty successful HS career, I struggled at the NCAA level, which was extremely emotionally and physically taxing. I learned that not all athletes perform the same way and need the exact same training, and also the importance of building good relationships with your athletes and team. I learned that each individual no matter their talent level is unique. This has helped me in coaching, because I can be more in tune with my athletes and what their individual needs might be, in hopes to help them reach their up most potential and ENJOY their experience in our program.
What advice do you give to any athlete who just ran the worst race of their career?
That's a tough question because my answer would be a little different for each one of my kiddos depending on who they are and what I have learned from them, but I would probably say something similar to this. "It's ok to be upset, sad, frustrated, disappointed or angry...for a short amount of time, it shows you care! Now, I want you to find something that you did well today, big or small and be proud of it. Now let's take what we can from your race and move forward, even the best of the best go through ups and downs in races. Now what are WE going to do to bounce back?"
With a program as young as Casteel, how have you built the Colt XC culture? Are there any traditions that you hope will stand the test of time for you guys?
I feel we have built the Colts XC culture by setting high expectations and working hard together to meet those expectations. I remember the very first season at Casteel we had only freshman and had a total of like 14 kids out for the team and I remember taking that small group of kids down south to run in the D2 sectional meet. We didn't have a kid that year that was even close to the front of that pack, and I remember having a coach come up to me and say "man, you guys really don't belong here." But that season and that race in particular was the starting point for our team. The bar was set and we knew we had a lot of work to put in to be where we wanted to be. We have worked with our XC family of athletes, their families, and coaching staff to create an environment that we all want to be a part of and to be successful.
One of my favorite traditions that I hope lasts the test of time is our annual Blue and Gold Race & Breakfast. We try to split the squad (boys and girls combined) into two "evenly" matched teams and let them battle it out on a 2-mile race course throughout our campus, in front of their parents/fan club, followed by a delicious breakfast burrito feast. We have a lot of fun and it's a great start to our season.
Another tradition that we finally got to start this past year, was having our seniors "bequeath" something to another teammate at our end of the season banquet. It is a lot of fun and hopefully inspires the next group of kids to continue making our program great with a little bit of humor and fun!
Steady-State run (15 min.)
Hill Ladder (3-4 x long - med - short)
Steady-State run (10 min.)
3 rounds of strength session (runner's lunges [15 each leg], side-steps [40-meters], full range squats [20 fast], pushups , fire-hydrants )
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