Scouting report with Bethesda-Chevy Chase head coach Chad Young. The B-CC program who is also coached by Chad's wife Emily has consistently been one of Maryland's best co-ed programs when measuring the success of both their boys and girls teams. Last year was a rare year for both teams to not be represented at the state meet with the girls failing to advance out of the always competitive 4A West Regional.
The boys team is led by one of the state's fastest individual returnees in Adam Nakasaka with PR's of 15:53 in the 5K and and 9:26 for 3200 meters. Josh Fry is also back as a very solid #2 runner with a 16:24 5K best and a remaining projected top 7 with personal bests under 18 minutes. Their squad should be in the hunt for the Montgomery County title and attempt to defend their 4A West Regional title as well from last fall.
The girls team dealt with a few setbacks and injuries last fall including missing Virginia Brown, who was a breakout star as a freshmen two years ago for B-CC. Brown will be on the comeback trail this fall looking to lead her squad back to being competitive once again at the state level.
Boys Top 7 Returnees
Girls Top 7 Returnees
1. How many years have you been coaching high school cross country (and at your current school)?
This year is my 13th year coaching and teaching - all at my current school. This will be Emily's 7th xc season coaching with me and it will be Oliver's 2nd.
2. What do you attribute as the main reasons for the success of your program?
I think success can be measured in many ways. I like to think that we are successful each year if we provide a positive environment for our student-athletes to learn about our sport and themselves and that they find confidence to become more independent in their training and motivation to improve. If you measure success by winning, we've done some of that, but it is sometimes just luck in who joins the team and how much talent you have. We build a positive environment by empowering our runners and giving them responsibilities that help us coaches manage the team. They lead and give feedback on drills and strength and help separate the team into ability groups for runs and workouts. They create videos, puffy paint shirts, design team gear, organize fun runs to get bread or ice cream etc. They help us make decisions that affect the team and we value their input. They help us keep out any negativity that enters our team environment and also help plan solutions to keep things positive.
3. What would be the best way to describe your style and philosophy of coaching and working with high school runners?
4. What are your core beliefs in your training plan and workouts for your cross country squads?
We first want to keep everyone as healthy as possible. We don't want to ramp up mileage too much while many of these runners are growing and maturing and risk injuries that will hinder their abilities to run down the line. Even for the college-bound runner, we want to provide them with a positive high school experience that is competitive, but that also leaves room for them to grow even stronger in college and beyond. Our goal as high school coaches is to ensure that they can move on to the next level - whether that be in college running, club running or just running for fun - still enjoying running and making it part of their lives for years to come.
5. How many runners do you return from your top 7 from a year ago?
Boys: Adam Nakasaka, Josh Fry, Kevin McAuliffe and James Cobau
Girls: Virginia Brown, Anaiah Little-Diop and Gabriela Jeliazkov
6. Who is your projected top 7 heading into the cross country season?
We had a scrimmage at Wootton on 8/17 and the top 7 are below, but as we know this can change a bit as the season evolves...
Girls: Gabriela Jeliazkov, Anaiah Little-Diop, Virginia Brown, Julie Kloner, Emily Schrader, Rachel Wilson and Juliana Capizzi
Boys: Adam Nakasaka, Josh Fry, Joe Viqueira, Kevin McAuliffe, Matt Coleman, Aidan Smyth and Michael Madrigal
7. Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
Our boys team captains are Henry Buron, Josh Fry, Kevin McAuliffe, Adam Nakasaka and Joe Viqueira. Our girls captains are Virginia Brown, Rebecca Hogewood, Laura Koye, Anaiah Little-Diop and Sabrina Romviel. They all have a lot of passion for running and competition and lead by example. Our leaders aren't always the fastest on the team, the most vocal, or those with the most experience but they do the little things each day and help us to maintain a positive atmosphere on the team.
8. Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?
Many of our runners who were not in the top-7 last season have been putting in good mileage this summer knowing that they will have an opportunity to step up. For the boys James Cobau, Ben Mather and Emerson Hemley and for the girls Sarah Cobau, Nadia Sadqi and Martha Spletzer have all logged more miles than in the past and are entering the season with even more confidence this year. Many of our incoming freshmen like Rachel Auerbach, Juliana Capizzi, Neva Jane Maldonado, Serene Kanj, Rachel Wilson, Julia Maged, and Olivia Roark have been logging their summer miles and did really well in our first scrimmage.
9. Any impactful freshmen or transfers to join the team this season?
Rachel Wilson and Juliana Capizzi cracked the top-7 on the girls side at our first scrimmage.
Joe Viqueira and Aidan Smyth also ran into the top-7 on the boys side and were part of our boys 4x800 relay from last outdoor track season.
10. What are the top invitational meets that your team will be attending this season?
Great American XC Festival
11. What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Injury prevention is always a big goal for us. We incorporate a prehab routine at practice each day to help build strength and avoid injuries during the season.
12. What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
Many will need to take on more responsibility after graduating 20 seniors from last year's team. I think if we have runners ready to step in to make an impact on the varsity team and also runners to step into leadership roles then we will have a great season.
13. What is a favorite annual or common pre-season workout or run for your team?
I love our team's Blue-Gold Scrimmage. We divide the team into what we think are even teams, but we always have some surprises. We use this as a team bonding event as well. It's a potluck dinner and a great opportunity for families to meet each other. Tempo/Fartlek runs on Beach Dr. in Rock Creek Park and any kind of hill repeats are common in our preseason as well.
14. What is a favorite annual or common mid-season workout for your team?
Once we really get going I like to work in longer intervals on grassy hills like 1k or mile repeats at ~5k pace either at Norwood Park or the grounds outside of NIH.
15. What is a favorite annual or common championship season or end-of-season workout for your team?
We don't workout on the track much during the xc season, but after uneven surfaces and rolling hills all season it's nice to get on to the track to feel fast. 8-12 by 300 or 400s a little slower than mile pace with short recovery is a go-to.
16. What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?
Our team goals are really up to the runners. We haven't talked much about the team goals yet but here's a start from perspective of the coaches:
- Stay healthy - keep up with prehab routine and do the little things each day to get stronger.
- Build and maintain a positive team atmosphere - this is whole team effort.
- For the boys I know they will want to be in contention to win at counties, regionals and states this year. The girls will be looking to rebound after not qualifying for states last year. This year getting to states will be a team goal.