Monthly Archives: October 2011

Starkville High XC Invitational

I haven’t had time to write anything on here lately, but the running is still happening! Lots of ups and downs the last few weeks, especially for Joseph. Two weeks ago he stepped wrong on some rough terrain while doing 1000m intervals and hurt his lower leg. Doctor thought it was some relatively minor ligament damage, but said he could run if he wrapped it, iced it, and was careful. This was just two weeks after he twisted his knee on that same leg on while doing the same workout on the same course! Bad luck I guess. The first incident was just before the Jesse Owens race in Alabama, which he PR’ed in, but really did not look good in. He was running with a strong limp. Coincidentally, I twisted my knee that same day. But, my knees hurt on any given day, depending on the weather, so I am more used to it. The worst part was that he finally seemed to be looking better after the Watson Invitational, and had arguably his best 10 mile run ever the following morning and the future was looking bright! Two days later, the new leg injury! Such is life I guess. Fortunately, the following weekend was an off weekend for us, with no meet. Even so, he decided to run a local 5k here in Starkville. He ran it, but at a tempo type pace, so as not to push it too much. That was good enough for about 17:10 or so, and he won the race.  A few other cross country kids from the team also ran. Damian Grady also ran and came in second with a time of 17:39.  I came in 4th with a 18:05, Ethan Musser was 5th with an 18:26, Nathan Gaudin was just over 20 minutes, and our buddy Steve Shaffer was 20:30 or so, which I believe was a PR for him!!

We did another 10 mile run the next morning, which was semi-cold. Only a few of the guys showed up with Ethan, Damian, and Steve joining Joseph and I. Everyone was slower this time, but we had a really hard week of running the previous week, so I was not overly surprised.  By the time Monday rolled around, Joseph was feeling sick, and I was feeling some twinges of it as well. We ran about hour that afternoon, but it was not as easy as usual. The next day we did a practice meet at the XC course so we make sure all of our volunteers knew what to do for the meet we would be hosting the next Saturday. As luck would have it, a storm was coming in and it was crazy windy and the temperature was dropping quickly. Everybody ran the course slow! Joseph lead the entire way until the last 400m, then Kamau caught him and passed him at the end. Neither looked remarkable, running around 18:40, which was about the pace Joseph had run 10 miles a week and a half ago. But, he was still visibly limping and was feeling much worse. The next day, Joseph stayed home to rest his leg, and to try to get over his cold or whatever he had. I went to practice the next day, but did not run myself, as I was also starting to feel worse. Thursday and Friday was fall break for the kids, so since Joseph and I were both sick, we took the next two days off. I was hoping the break would help him for our home meet the next day. As it was, we were tempted to not have him run.

Got up Saturday and headed to the meet. Joseph decided to run. Probably not the best idea, but he felt like his leg was feeling better. The cold was still there, but he medicated heavily early that morn! Well, the race started out good for him, and he lead the first couple of miles, with Andrew White from Tupelo right there with him. But, at the 2 mile mark, his body looked like it just quit, and he even looked delirious. He was about to wander off the course at one point, and I told him to look where he was going. Anyway, he fell back a good bit and had his worst race all year coming in 4th with a 17:15, 33 seconds slower than the last time he had run the course. Andrew White won with a time of 16:57, which was 15 seconds slower than what Joseph had run on this same course a month earlier. The second and third finishers were from JZ George and Pearl, and he had beat both of them in earlier races by about 40 or more seconds, so he was pretty embarrassed about not winning this race. Regardless, he did the best he could despite being injured, being sick, and having problems with some medicine and still managed to be our top finisher. Kamau almost caught him down the stretch, but he mustered some last minute energy and did not let him pass him. They finished less than a second apart! Damian was next in 6th place with a time of 17:24 (PR), followed by Ethan Musser in 12th (18:09), Stuart Woomer in 15th (18:17),  Aaron Remotigue in 19th (18:32), and Alex Ross in 23rd (18:50).  With the guys all packed together, they were able to garner enough points to win the meet, beating both Tupelo and Pearl! I don’t believe Starkville has beat Tupelo in over 10 years, so that was pretty sweet! And this time last year, Pearl was killing us. This time two years ago, Starkville was not even in the picture. So, yeah, tremondous day! Plus, we had both local papers out at the course, and they both did great stories about the team.

Varsity boys, 1st place!

Not to be outdone by the boys, Kate Mattox won the girls race, beating two other really good runners. She PR’ed on the 4k course running a 15:06! As a result of this strong race, and others she had recently run, she was named the Mississippi Female Athlete of the week by the Clarion Ledger!  Her sister Walker Mattox, Abigail Arinder, and Shanika Musser also ran very well, all PR’ing, and they were good enough as a team to place second.

Complete results for the meet can be seen at:

Since Joseph had such a problem with the medicine he took, I told him not to take anymore, and I did the same. Later that day, I went to the gym and lifted some weights. I could not take any more sitting around! I then ran a good 30 minutes at a decent pace. The next morning, Damian, Ethan, and Steve again joined Joseph and I for a run at 7 AM. With only two weeks until the state meet, we cut the run down to just over 8 miles. Ethan and Damian were pretty sore, and ran with Steve most of the way at a slower pace than usual. Joseph looked a lot better, and ran ahead of everyone. I actually felt pretty good too, and was not far behind. It was not our best run ever, but it was good. Nice to see Joseph looking better.

On Monday, we ran a steady 7 miles on the South Farm. After running with Kamau for a couple of miles, Joseph went off on his own for a while to do a 20 minute tempo run, then ran another 20 minutes, then he came back and finished up after the others.

On Tuesday, we went to the XC course for 16 X 400’s! Probably excessive considering we only have a week and a half before the state meet. But, they were not doing them too fast. This was one of the few days lately where I felt like Joseph actually looked better than Kamau with his 400’s, and in general, his form and general attitude was really good. If he can stay healthy for one more week, he could have a really good state meet on Nov. 5th! That is not to say that the others did not do a good job. Almost everyone did great. I was very impressed with some of the JV kids that I ran with for a change. Nathanial Houston (11th grade), Patrick Bell (8th), Issac Jackson (8th), and Clidell Sabree ran with me, and I thought this was probably their best workout ever.

Wednesday, Joseph and I ran a steady 8 miles, with mine averaging about 6:45 per mile, and Joseph probably around 6:30 per mile. Although we did not run together most of the way, I met him with a couple of miles to go and we cruised in pretty good. Our last mile was about 6:05 and it felt pretty good. The other varsity boys seemed more worn out and only ran about 6 miles, and at a much slower pace than they usually do. In fact, I could not even run with them today, they were going too slow, a pace which bothers my knees.

On Thursday, we did 12 X 200’s on the flat part of the XC course, preceded by a warmup run and followed by a 2000m cool down.  I guess you could say that today was the first day of reduced work before the state meet. Most of the guys did 200’s a little slower than usual, trying not to pull a muscle or something stupid. Pretty easy workout all in all. I mostly ran with Joseph today; albeit, a bit slower than him. We kept our breaks between the 200’s at about 20-25 seconds, with his 200’s mostly at 34 seconds. Mine were a couple of seconds slower. The other boys were running at a similar pace, although Kamau may have been faster. The girls, as usual, appeared to be going as fast as they could.

Tomorrow afternoon, we will be running an easy run at the MSU North Farm. On Saturday morn, we plan on running the Hannah Pote Run for Education at the Sportsplex on Lynn Lane in Starkville. Some of the proceeds will go to our team. You can register Saturday morning starting at 7 am. Race starts at 8 am. The 5k will be followed by a one mile fun run for kids in grades kindergarten through 6th.

This Sunday, we will be doing our run at 3 pm, and meeting at the South Farm parking area.

In other local running news, Austin White, a senior at Starkville Academy placed 5th in the MAIS State Meet with a time of 18:26!  Meggan Franks, a great runner now living in Starkville, won the Niagara Marathon last weekend with a time of 2:52! This time was good enough to move her to eighth place for Canadian women marathoners!

Starkville running is looking up these days!!!


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Awesome run today

I wasn’t sure how the guys would feel this morning following the race yesterday, but the five guys (yeah, you guessed it, the top 5 boys once again) who showed up to run  this morning were awesome!  Julie, Joseph, and I showed up the south farm and Steve Shaffer was already there ready to go. Grant and Stuart Woomer pulled up soon thereafter, although Grant rode a bike with us, as he has been injured.  Ethan Musser brought Damian Grady, then they got Kamau Bostic on the phone and told him to get out of bed and get on over there! He just lives around the corner, so it did not take him long to get there.

We took off, and as usual we started out slower to warm up, then gradually eased into it. The first mile was at a 7:37 pace (according to my Garmin watch), and we all basically ran that together. Then we picked it up with Joseph soon far in front of us. The other guys mostly stayed with me, and our 2nd mile was right at 7 minutes, but for the next five miles I averaged about 6:40, and Damian was ahead of us on the last couple of those before we stopped for a water break at McKee Park. We met Joseph there, but not for long. He had stopped for water and to stretch. We hung around a few minutes and did the same thing.  Then, we headed home at a faster pace for the last 3 miles. I averaged about 6:20 per mile, running with Damian most of the way until the last half mile or so, when he picked it up. Kamau, Stuart, and Ethan finished up about a minute behind me. Everybody had a great run today, better than most days really. Joseph average 6:10 per mile for his last nine miles, and close to 6:20 for the whole distance.  I think Damian was about 6:40 or better for the whole 10 miles, I was 6:45 and the other guys probably about 6:50. Steve was behind a little, but also ran well. Especially considering he had run 11 miles the day before on the trails in the Tombigbee National Forest. Since we finished relatively fast, we jogged for a few minutes to loosen up.

We again followed the run with a trip to McDonalds! These Sunday morning runs are really helping these guys, at least I believe they are! I wish we could get the next 5 boys on the varsity team to come run with us, but I guess not. It would have definitely given us a stronger team! Hopefully, none of our top 5 get injured, because the other boys are pinning their hopes on them.

Tomorrow afternoon, our schedule is changing, and we will run on the South Farm at 4 pm.

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MC Watson Invitational 2011

Whew doggies! We had a tough week of running this week!! From Sunday’s 10 miler, to Monday’s hour long run, to the mile repeats on the XC course on Tuesday followed by hill repeats, Wednesday afternoon run, and fast 400’s and 200’s on Thursday, we killed it! Actually, most of the guys, and maybe some of the girls, were still sore at today’s race from Thursday’s workout. Normally, this would not be a good idea, but we were treating this meet as another workout basically. So, that enabled us to get another good workout in during the week. Next week will be another tough week too, because we will not even have a meet next Saturday, so we can again work hard.

Even with everyone tired and sore, we did alright at the big MC Watson Invitational at Choctaw Trails, in Clinton, MS today. Lots of good teams, including some great ones from Louisiana.  Our varsity girls team ended up 9th out of 33 teams in the large school varsity race. We were once again lead in this 4k race by Kate Mattox who came in 4th overall with a time of  15:36. She got a shirt for her efforts in an award ceremony later, along with the other top 15 runners. Walker Mattox was our next finisher in 16:57, and she was closely followed by Abigail Arinder who ran 17:04. Shanika Musser was next at 17:47, then Anna Jackson in 18:19, Ashley Albritton in 18:41, Carys Snyder in 19:06, Meghan Wolf in 19:07, Sabrina Moore in 21:07, and Haley Jenkins in 20:24.

Our Varsity boys team placed 4th out of 31 teams with Tupelo being the only Mississippi team in front of us. Joseph was our top finisher placing 6th with a time of 16:45, a few seconds in front of Tupelo’s top runner Andrew White.  Like Joseph, Andrew is also a sophomore and a very talented runner. He sometimes runs faster than he did today, but this is not an easy course, and maybe this was not his day. Either way, it was good for Joseph to finish ahead of him today. That was a real confidence booster for him. Joseph, like most of our other varsity boys, had some really sore legs today and looked pretty worn out. I was glad to see him perform so well after the workouts we had last week. Joseph also received a shirt for his top 15 finish.  Kamau was our second finisher placing 21st with a time of 17:24. I guess he was pretty worn out too, because this was almost a minute slower than the week before. In fact, our next finisher, Damian Grady, almost beat him today with his PR time of 17:27 coming in 24th. Damian was ahead of him with 40 meters or so to go, but Kamau was not to be denied, and he sprinted ahead at the end. Our next few runners all ran together quite well with Ethan Musser coming in 54th at 18:26, Stuart Woomer in 62nd at 18:40, Aaron Remotigue in 66th at 18:43, Alex Ross in 74th at 18:51, and Jack Bryan in 19:02 (a great PR for him!!).

Kate and Joseph after the awards ceremony with their tshirts.

Back to it in the morning, with our weekly 10 mile run, meeting at 7AM at the South Farm parking lot.

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Another good week of running and a good time at the Jesse Owens XC meet

It hardly seems right, but yet another week has somehow flown by! How, where? And with these quickly passing weeks, the weather seems to have changed on us. Last Sunday morning we ran 10 miles at 7 AM without shirts; today, we all had long sleeves on!

This past week was another good week of practice. Most of the SHS XC kids are getting better week by week. Started out with a decent run Monday afternoon, with everybody running 6-10.5 miles. I think Joseph may have been the only one to run 10.5. He and Kamau looked great for the first few miles, then Kamau picked it up and Joseph slowed down a bit. He actually seemed a bit out of it, like maybe he was sick or something. I asked him and he couldn’t pinpoint it, just felt a little weak. But, he stretched and ended up running a good ten miles plus, which was more than the rest of us. Kamau continued to run well, and finished strong, probably having run 8 to 8.5 miles or so, and all at a decent pace (6:25ish?). All of the varsity boys did quite well.

We again headed to the MSU XC course on Tuesday afternoon, and again, following a morning rain, the course was almost too wet to run on. Instead, we utilized a somewhat mowed grassy area in between parts of the course to do 6 X 1000’s on. The route included a CRAZY hard hill at one end, and another decent hill at the other end. However, it was the downhill and flat sections that were the most dangerous because of the irregular footing, clumps of grass, and various unexpected obstacles. True cross country I suppose, but maybe a little too difficult for 1000’s. I know I twisted my knee awkwardly, as did both Joseph and Alex Ross. Both Joseph’s and my knees are still sore 5 days later! But, that’s part of it. Kamau again looked like a beast today, Joseph did pretty well, but still looked like he was struggling compared to previous weeks. He did not feel like he ran as well as he should have, so he did two extras! I also did two more, but not at his pace!

Wednesday was another easy day, more or less a repeat of Monday, but for most folks a little slower following the Tuesday workout. Kamau was sore from pounding it on Monday and Tuesday, so only ran about 30 minutes. The rest of the varsity boys that I run with went 45 to 55 minutes, except Joseph, who ran about an hour and ten minutes. He looked a lot better today, maybe starting to feel better, although his left knee area was sore from the day before.

We got in a decent workout on the gravel roads at the MSU south farm on Thursday. Following a mile warm up, we all did 8 X 400’s then 8 X 200’s. That was not easy on the gravel!! While we were there, Randy Follet (Ethan Follet’s father), who is an engineering professor at MSU, and one of his students tested a timing system that he and his students developed for our upcoming Starkville Invitational. How cool is that! Anyway, it appeared to work fine, so thanks to them!

On Friday, Julie and I grabbed Joseph out of school early, and we headed over to Moulton, AL for the Jesse Owens meet that was coming up the next day. We decided to go over early to walk/jog the course and avoid having to get up at 4 AM to drive over. The course is located at the Oakville Indian Mounds where it loops around a lake and through a nice forested area.

The next morning, we headed over from our motel in Decatur, and grabbed a spot for the team tent. The bus eventually pulled in, and everyone got down to business. Most of our varsity girls ran in the silver division, which was at 9 AM. They basically had to jump off the bus and start warming up! Their race went well, with most of the girls having PRs. We were lead in the race by 11 year old Shanika Musser who ran 21:05 (PR) and came in 36th out of 267 runners! Good enough for one of the elite runner tshirts that were given out to the top 50. She was closely followed by Abigail Arinder who ran 21:12 (PR) and finished 40th! Our next girls were Mary Elizabeth Stringer at 22:30 (86th), Ashley Albritton at 23:26 (135th), Anna Jackson at 23:29 (139th), Meghan Wolf at 24:11 (169th), and Sabrina Moore at 25:30 (206th). The girls team placed 13th out of 36 teams with an average time of 22:30. This was pretty good considering that our two fastest girls did not run with them as a team, but instead ran in the gold division.

We had our two fastest girls in the gold division, which is considered to be the elite race of the day. Seventh grade sensation Kate Mattox did not disappoint and ran the 5k in 18:42 coming in 15th overall out of 420 girls! She was awarded a medal in the awards ceremony for her top 15 place! Her sister Walker, who had twisted her ankle two days earlier, also did well coming in at 20:29 in 94th place.

Not to be outdone by our silver girls, our silver boys team placed 3rd out of 45 teams and received a substantial trophy for their efforts! The average time of our top 5 boys was 17:20, which is 2 minutes and 47 seconds better than the average time of the SHS boys at the state meet just two years ago! Talk about improvement-phenomenal!  Joseph and Kamau worked together as a team better today than any other time I have seen, except for a race in Lauderdale County last year where they were 1st and 2nd. They basically ran together for the entire race, with Kamau able to get a few second lead on him in the last 400m. Kamau had his best race ever and ran 16:28 (PR) coming in 4th place out of 338 runners. This was good enough for him to make the Milesplit US Elite second team, whose cutoff is 16:30. Joseph narrowly missed US Elite Status with his 6th place finish at 16:36 (PR)! Our next runners were Damian Grady who ran 17:35 (47th), Stuart Woomer at 17:59 (PR-73rd), Ethan Musser at 18:04 (PR-81st), Aaron Remotigue at 18:27 (PR-117st), and Jack Bryan who was 19:34 (199th). The most significant aspect of the race for us was the fact that our team finished ahead of Oxford and Pearl, both of which should prove to be our biggest competition at the state meet! They both did well though, and will keep improving, so we can’t let up now!

Coach Barnett, Stuart Musser, Jack Bryan, Coach MacGown (me), Damian Grady, Kamau Bostic, Aaron Remotigue, Ethan Musser, Joseph MacGown, and Coach Woomer


Our JV runners also did quite well in their races with most of them PR’ing (that is only a word in the runner’s dictionary). In the boys red division race, we were lead by sophomore Alex Ross who ran 18:46 (PR) and came in 56th place out of 429 runners!! Looks like Alex wants to run on the varsity team! He beat our 7th runner by about 50 seconds and was only 20 seconds behind Aaron. He was followed by Nathan Gaudin at 19:31 (PR, 125th), who also beat our 7th varsity runner. Next up was Duncan Watson at 19:49 (PR, 154th place), Tyler Hutchinson at 19:52 (161st), Daniel Ruff at 20:04 (PR, 176th), Christian Kingery at 20:15 (190th), Armon Borzjani at 21:34 (PR, 305th), Marshall Adair at 21:35 (PR, 306th), Issac Jackson at 21:49 (PR, 323rd), Terrance Bond at 22:12 (PR, 344th), Nathanial Houston at 22:14 (PR, 346th), Clidell Sabree at 22:20 (PR, 353rd), Bryan Roberts at 22:30 (PR, 359th), Keshawn Pope at 22:34 (PR, 367th), Peyton Wolf at 22:56 (PR, 378th), Alec Cartwright at 23:07 (PR, 384th), Jacob Wood at 23:12 (PR, 388th), Patrick Bell at 23:33 (397th), and Garrison Arinder at 23:56 (PR, 407th). The JV boys team was 21st out of 33 teams.

In the girls JV race, we were lead by Carys Snyder who ran 24:03 (PR, 58th). She was followed by Haley Jenkins at 25:21 (89th),  Nicole Johnson at 27:33 (143rd), and Kennis Kingery at 28:15 (151st).

Full results for the meet can be viewed at:

We had another great 10 mile run this morning! With cool temps, we all wore long sleeves, and a couple of the guys even wore long pants! This morning it was only Steve Shaffer, Stuart Woomer, Ethan Musser, Joseph MacGown, and myself running the 10 mile loop. Coach Woomer and her husband Mark also came along, but she ran on her own and Mark rode his cool daddy bike on the South Farm. The rest of us ran the 10 mile route we had been running the previous few weeks. Today was a bit slower, since the guys had run a fast race yesterday. Even so, at the end of the run, I looked at my Garmin watch, which indicated that I had run at a 6:55 average. Joseph ran with us off and on, but picked it up pretty good at about 7 miles, as did I. My last 3 miles were a 6:13 minute per mile pace, and his were faster than mine. He probably average around 6:40 per mile today, and the other guys probably ended up at about 7:10.  I think everyone felt pretty good after, although Joseph said his knee/leg still felt weird. He did think that it felt better after picking the pace up though. Need to keep an eye on it. He also stopped at about the 3 mile mark for a couple of minutes to stretch his calves, which he said were really tight from the race.  I did not run a race, so I felt great!

Ready for another week of practice. Next Saturday we will run at the Watson Invitational at Choctaw Trails in Clinton, MS. This will be another great race with lots of team from MS and some from LA, and possibly other areas.

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