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Archive for September, 2010

Dividends from Summer Training

Monday, September 27th, 2010

This has been an exciting cross country season in Alaska’s Interior, and some of the best individuals and teams in the state are from Fairbanks and nearby communities. Most of the top runners here have strong backgrounds as skiers. Last weekend four young athletes (a freshman and three sophomores) who trained with FAST over the summer asserted their presence at the Interior Regional Championships.

Lathrop has been the top boys team in the region both this year as well as last season. But on Saturday, West Valley broke through and placed five in the top seven.  Here are the four!

But not to be totally outdone by the “older” peers, the newest FAST members Sam and Tristan dominated the middle school circuit this fall, going 1,2 in all races and winning each race by a large margin.

FAST: A New Generation

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

This is a big transition year for FAST, with founder and coach Bill McDonnell settling into Anchorage with his family, Reese skiing with APU, David running and skiing for UAF, and Werner running, studying, and living it up on the Wasatch Front. That’s a tough act to follow, as those guys carved out an impressive legacy with their Fischer’s over the past five years.

FAST is onto a youth movement. Thankfully, however, we have the ever powerful Logan and dynamic Wyatt as returning veterans—if you count a second year J1 and first year OJ as grizzled (Wyatt could grow a beard on a good week)—to continue setting a high standard of excellence. And certainly  we’ll see old man Tyson, skier emeritus at 25, skiing in the maroon and white. Meanwhile last year’s JO qualifiers as J2s, Erich, Ema, and Kuba will be back as the core group of up and comers.

Even though a lot has changed we will continue employing FAST’s simple training and racing philosophy. There are no shortcuts to skiing success and FAST athletes need to work hard and consistently. The program also requires self-reliance from the athletes. As Bill likes to say, there is no hand holding here. We meet several times a week during the summer and in season, but much of the skiers’ training is on their own, or better yet they arrange frequent training sessions with each other when we do not meet as a group. The athlete’s choose their level of commitment, not parents, not coaches.

Moreover, based on last year’s experience, perhaps the most seamless aspect of this transition is that Bill and I have been on the same page when it comes to workout schedules and periodization to ensure that the skiers are ready at the right time.

I am looking forward to the upcoming season and to continue carrying the traditions of the first generation to this younger group of FAST athletes. And I look forward to continued interaction with Bill and the recent graduates, even though we are scattered about. So as we transition from our short summer and fall toward six months of winter, I’ll just reiterate Reese’s final blog post from last June, FAST is for life!

Finally, these guys set a heck of a standard. I am both honored and humbled to be part of FAST and will enjoy seeing the continued success of FAST skiers.

So let’s get skiing!