Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wide Awake -- Confident Eden Prairie Teams Ready for State

DtB tracked down Eden Prairie coach Jeff Lindlief to ask him about his #1-ranked girls squad. The Eagles have looked powerful from the early-season on in what appears to be an especially competitive girls Class AA year. Lindlief's inexperienced boys squad, not to be out-done, scratched its way back into the State Meet with an impressive late-season push that saw them finishing second in the wicked 6AA Section.

DtB: You've looked like a favorite for the Class AA title since the Faribault Invitational. At what point this season did you know you had really good team?

Lindlief: After last spring's track season, we knew we had a strong batch of returning runners, but weren't sure what type of CC team we'd be. We never felt we really put together a solid race until Lake Conference, as we were battling some illnesses, injuries, etc. That seemed to be the first time when each girl ran relaxed and with confidence.

DtB: It looks like there's a really deep field in girls Class AA. Are there certain teams that keep you awake a night?

Lindlief: Yes, many of them! Bob Ertl has his Lakeville North team looking unbeatable (as always!). White Bear Lake, Prior Lake, and Burnsville also have very good teams. Even though we got past Minnetonka in the Section, they always run very well at the State Meet. It should be a very exciting and close race on Saturday>

DtB: What are the sorts of things that have to go right for your team in order or State to work out like you hope?

I think it really comes down to two things: First, keeping everybody healthy and injury-free. Secondly, we talk a lot about being confident in our training and racing strategy. If those two things are in place and the training has been solid during the year, all you can do is race your best.

DtB: And a question about your surprising boys team ... What's the secret to making six-straight State Meets out of the toughest Section in the state, especially with this years unheralded squad?

Lindlief: This year's boys team has been so much fun to work with. With only one of our top-7 being a varsity runner from last year, they've learned many lessons as the year has progressed. They're a prime example of why cross-country is such a great sport -- kids who might not be superstars at first can work hard and dedicate themselves to improvement and it does pay off in the end!

Look for our interview with Bill Miles, coach of the #1-ranked Wayzata boys team, on DtB tomorrow.


Kevin Slator said...

Katie Moraczewski of White Bear Lake ran a 14:02 in the section final, which appears to be in the top 5 of girls 4K times nationwide. How is it that she's not ranked #1 in this state? No other girls havecome close to that time this year or any other year in this state, it appears.

nate said...

She is fast, but that course was faster. That is why CC times dont matter at all. If she was undefeated, she would be ranked #1, but she has been beat this year. Fortunately they get to sort it all out this Saturday.

Kevin Slator said...

Even if Goodrich gold course if flat and faster than other courses (and I have no idea about that), there's only been ONE 4K time better than 14:02 in the past 13 years even at the state meet (Elizabeth Yetzer's 13:59 in 2005). Cassy Opitz was nearly a minute slower at the 6AA section final (14:53), and Danielle Berndt's time was 43 seconds slower (14:45) at the 3AA section final. When you're that much better than the competition, even factoring in course conditions, it seems you should be #1.

nate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nate said...

Like I said before, times dont matter in CC. Cassy was a minute slower on a completely different course. And you cant compare state meet time either because they are from a different course too. Who cares about rankings 3 days before the state meet? It is not like they give the runners ranked ahead of her a head start. If she wins on Saturday I promise she will be ranked first at the only time of the year that it matters.