DtB got Wayzata boys cross country coach Bill Miles' impressions on his team and the season as his squad heads to Saturday's MSHSL State Meet. Last fall, the Trojans, who were ranked #2 in Class AA at the time, finished 3rd in the Section 6AA meet and didn't advance to State. This year, the Trojans are the 6AA champs and will carry the #1 ranking when the starting gun fires in Northfield.
DtB: Are you surprised by the success your team has had this year or did you know you had a really good group?
Miles: We had a strong nucleus back from last fall- three athletes in the 16:30s at Gale Woods- and lots of depth from track- eighteen athletes returning who had run under 5:00 in the spring. Then they had a strong summer with a lot of our athletes logging over 400 quality miles between Memorial Day and the first day of practice. As a result, I believed that we would be competitive this fall. This group has been able to avoid injury and illness and train consistently all fall. So, I'm not particularly surprised by their success.
DtB: Was missing State last year -- by very little and with a really strong team -- something that drove the squad this year?
Miles: I think that the successes we had last year helped motivate our athletes more than our coming up short at sections. We had great leaders on last year's team, many of them are running in college, and the victories they led their teammates to in invitationals and at our conference meet last fall gave our athletes more confidence this year. I really can't speak for our athletes, but my sense is that their focus has always been on this fall and not last year. We are more about enjoying the journey in the moment and not about the past or the future.
DtB: What do you do with your team this week to have them in the right frame of mind for State?
Miles: We try to keep them out of jail and emergency rooms. It's tough to run fast in shackles or on crutches. Other than that, we don't do anything special or different. They're bright kids who have run well in big meets all season. They know that the hay is in the barn and they don't need me playing any mind games.