* The Desert Vista girls after their 2020 D1 State Championship Win.
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The Desert Vista Girls start the season ranked 21st on in the MileSplit50 National Rankings, so it should be no surprise that they start of the season ranked No. 1 in Arizona. The team will be led by returning state champion Lauren Ping and rising senior Katie Sigerud. Sigerud finished as the D1 runner-up behind Ping at the state meet in 2020.
We reached out to Desert Vista Head Coach Megan Ping to see how her team's summer training went and to get a feel for what this team looks to accomplish over the 2021 season. Read the full Q&A below and check out more preseason content here.
Division 1 - Girls 1st
Top Retuenrres From Sate: 4 of 5 and 5 of 7 From State
* The Desert Vista Girls with the 2020 AIA D1 1st place team trophy.
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Q&A With Coach Ping
How long have you coached (overall/at your school)?
This is my 2nd year at Desert Vista. I helped coach at our old high school in MN for a few years and I have also been the camp director at Project Gold Running camp for the last 6 years.
What does your team's meet schedule look like this year?
We're starting out in flagstaff, then headed to Woodbridge, next desert twilight, hopefully, Clovis, Tempe city, regionals, state, NXR & hopefully NXN
What was one important moment over the summer with your team and why? (Camp/Preseason Meeting/Etc.)
We did not have a particular moment but we have a very solid team. We had consistent training all summer which is key to a great season.
What's the focus on training over the summer for the varsity squad?
Which athletes do you see as a probable five/top seven this season?
, Katie Sigerud
, Bailee Christofis
, Emily Littlefield
, Brooklyn Hanania
, Emi Ito, Marlee Billeter
, Aspen Busby, Chelsea Condon
, Bella Klein
, Savannah Kveton
, Anna Lowman
Which athletes have taken a bigger role in terms of veteran leadership?
How have they shown it/what will you expect from them in 2021?
We expect discipline, dedication, commitment & consistency.
Who are some new faces who will make an impact in 2021? (i.e. freshmen, transfers, runners who've improved)
Four to six weeks before the state championships, what's a staple workout that's readying this team for a potential postseason run?
Proprietary blend ;)
What will success look like in 2021 for this team?
5 girls under 18:30 with 2 low 17, or below
What's the biggest challenge facing this team this fall?
Getting enough sleep. We practice at 5:15 AM every morning so time management is crucial. Also, breaking through any limiting beliefs and being able to run at their true potential.
How has the last 1.5 years affected the team with any covid/mask/ social distancing restrictions you may have faced?
We feel very fortunate that we had "mostly" a normal season last year, except we could not leave the state for competitions. Dave Shapiro serves on our AIA board for cross country and track and he found ways to make meets work while social distancing & following all of the covid guidelines. He also held a very normal championship state meet. So we were very fortunate here in AZ.
Is there a quote or a saying, or a purpose your team lives by? What is it and why?
Win the step you are in. It's the BIG things and the little things...whether it's nailing a super tough workout or making sure you're eating and drinking enough throughout the day to keep up with energy demands. All of the steps count toward our ultimate success.
What are the three big goals for this team in 2021?
Win the step you are in, Stay healthy & have fun!