Path to the Podium: Westminster Boys Win 4A State Title

Path to the Podium-Westminster Boys

What exactly did it take for a team to arrive at the moment where they are standing on the podium, clutching their prized trophy? In this article, Westminster coach Joe Tribble details the journey his boys took on their way to their State Championship in Class AAAA.

XC 2022

Any seniors that set a good example or laid the foundation?
Two seniors, Sam Maas and Jack Ramsey were both fine runners, both top seven on the State winning team in 2022, and above all they were good leaders for the entire nearly 50 runner team.  I am thankful to have coached them.  

Any good or bad results that motivated the team? 
We won Wendy's and this was a good motivator; just before Region we lost to Lambert at Coach Wood, and this inspired everyone to run their best at Region and State, and at State to be the All Class Champions which they accomplished.     

Winter 2022

Anyone that stepped up their training with XC already in mind? 
Almost everyone was running well during the winter, not just miles but consistency with training. And yes, I think the guys were looking ahead to the fall, but they also were smart enough to remember that they all needed to run well and fast in track season, and they did this.

Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome? 
Winter training went well, and I do not recall anything major that prevented the continued good training, as the guys got good sleep and stayed healthy.

Track 2023

Did anyone have a breakout season, or were there new additions that changed the outlook of XC?
Joseph Jacquot and Esfan Daya continued to lead the team, and Joseph's younger brother was beginning to run really well. Willem Mandel and Rohan Gazula were running fast at 800m.  Also several runners who would eventually be a large part of the 2023 CC success were having a solid season: Gideon Zemedhun, Tyler Robinson, Liam Loughead, Nicholas Guido, and Lucas Mepani. 

Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome? 
Not really, as the whole team ran well with multiple prs being run at almost every meet, a very good season. 

Summer 2023

Any new additions that changed the outlook for XC?
From the first few practices Gideon Zemedhun was running very strong. 

What were the early goals for the season?
As always our goal was to be the best team we could be, and specifically to win AAAA again and to be the All Class Champions again.

How did summer training go for the team?
Summer training went well, as everyone took the above goals seriously and trained accordingly. 

Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome?
Yes. Willem Mandel had a stress fracture at the the end of the summer, and Joseph Jacquot had a stress fracture in the first few days of the season, both injuries a huge blow to team morale; however, Esfan Daya led the way for the rest of the 45 plus runners who took up the challenge to keep training their best, rest appropriately, and get their sleep to be ready for the next day-all knowing that Willem and Joseph would return. 

Season 2023

Did anyone have a breakout season that changed the outlook for the team? 
Gideon Zemedhun, Liam Loughead, Nicholas Guido, and Lucas Mepani all ran strong throughout the season, and none of the four had been on the 2022 top 7 State team. Tyler Robinson also ran well all season.

How did early results compare to the team goals?
We ran well in every meet, winning the Kosh Klassic early in the season and Wendy's mid season.  The sound running from so many on the team was a great encouragement to all.

Did the team revise any goals?
The goals remained fixed as always, especially as Rohan Gazula was improving week by week and Joseph and Willem were overcoming their injuries and ready to return to some easy running.

Any setbacks/challenges that had to be overcome?
Yes. It seemed at one point that half the 45 runner squad was sick with one illness or another.  Westminster can be pretty intense academically, and when you add CC, as well as orchestra and robotics for some, not to mention the college application process for the seniors, it is easy to get a bit tired and even slightly run down.  But we got through that, and in the last few weeks the guys were healthy and strong. 

In hindsight, what are the key moments of the season that led to the State result?
Even though like the previous year we did not win Coach Wood, Joseph ran his first race of the season there and ran very well.  Actually the whole team ran pretty well, but we just needed a few more tough workouts and the appropriate rest and good sleep to be fully prepared.  The guys knew this and responded.  They were ready on November 4 for Victory.