"Take the downhills hard and survive the uphills" helps Cedar Cliff win the Great American ROC

There are a lot of strategies being employed by coaches this year as they look to get recognized, ranked, and remain ranked in the NTN/Harrier Rankings in their bids for a trip to Portland in December. Some are gradually heading for a late season peak where they hope to dominate their states and beat higher ranked squads. Others are putting a lot on the line early, like Pennsylvania's Cedar Cliff boys from South Central PA. "We want to win Great American" declared head coach Ken Roseberry last week. "We went to the check out the new course and train their several weeks ago. It was definitely worth the trip."

And that it was. The Colts won with a solid pack scoring 11-19-25-46 and 48 for 149 points and a win by 24 over surprising SE#8 John Randolph Tucker of VA, who placed four high in the race. The Colts' strategy was to take it out hard on the downhills and survive the uphills.

Assistant coach Matt Wagoner said the strategy was only a little risky. Plus, they loosened the reins a bit on their #1 runner Pat Caulfield to let him see what he could do. But not so much that it cost the team the win. "He went out faster than he has this year, and he struggled a bit later, but survived to get 14th, and that was big. If he had stayed back early, he might have gone faster. But he ran a great race."

And knocking off US#6, SW#1 Mt. View UT was important. "We saw them at the start so we could key off their jerseys. They could see them, and we needed to know who they were."

Wagoner said the entire team ran well, but said he continues to be impressed by Corey Creek, a junior, who wasn't expected to score this well. He's been the difference in each meet. "He has adjusted to the training, and he has really stepped it up. He just seems to be getting better each week."

Wagoner said that with so little time between the boys and girls ROC, he was on the course cheering on the Colts' girls when he heard the guys had won. "The race cart came by, saw my shirt, and yelled that we had won."

The coach was also impressed with his girls team, which was just 40 points behind St. Basil in the ROC. "The girls are better than they showed at Carlisle, and they are getting back."

The Colts will pick up their mileage again for the next two weeks and start adding the speed work later. They did some downhill 400's prior to Great American, but nothing like track 400's. That comes in preparation for their conference, District and State meets the end of October and the first Saturday in November.

"Winning States is still our main goal."

And, we assume, a trip to Portland a month later.