WATERTOWN, Wis. -- The Sabercats' 2020 cross country season has been marked by improvement. You probably remember the "Miracle" in Muskegon last month, when every runner on both teams set a PR. Things like that don't just happen. They take effort, persistence, intentionality, and a good deal of science.
Assistant Coach John Warnke has shouldered the bulk of the training regimen for the Sabercats this season, and thanks in part to Warnke's design, the Sabercats have put together 23 personal records over just four races. The runners are bought into Warnke's work, and the result has been focused momentum as the teams approach the national stage.
Warnke has them doing sprints, "tempo work" to improve their base speed, and he's even preparing them for the terrain and unique details of the course at Nationals. His preparation is detailed and specified.
"What we've been focusing on recently is getting ready for the terrain of Nationals and also the corners," Warnke said. "The course at Nationals has a lot of 180-degree-type corners, so we've gone to Brandt-Quirk [Park] and practiced taking those at speed to see what it feels like. Nationals will actually be really similar to the course in Muskegon that we ran earlier this season, and it's a very similar course to what we've been preparing on all season."
Jeremy Fopma speaks for the team in affirming how everyone views Warnke's methods and exercise design, saying that they trust Warnke and they are completely bought into the work he prescribes.
Naturally, Warnke puts the credit right back on the runners.
"It's been incredible - as we've gone throughout the season, we've seen tremendous progression in their intensity," Warnke said. "Just last week we did a relay workout and to see their intensity in that was just inspiring to watch and just seeing that competitive side develop has been a lot of fun.
"We've been focusing on different aspects each week [to prepare for Nationals]," Warnke said. "We've been focusing on being bold and running with confidence; we focused last week on giving God glory for what we do; and this week we focused on humility - being confident in what we do and respecting everyone else in the competition."
Warnke has given the Sabercats preparation psychologically, spiritually, and of course physically. They are ready to make some noise on Saturday, as both teams chase national titles at the 2020 NCCAA DII National Cross Country Championships.
Detailed information on the 2020 NCCAA DII National Cross Country Championships can be found HERE.