by JON DYKSTRA The Iola Register | August 28, 2016
IOLA – Allen Community College cross country coach Vince DeGrado didn't beat around the bush when talking about the importance of the season-opening Tramec Fall Classic cross-country meet.
"They have to let go of high school and thinking you have to run fast at every single event," DeGrado said. "It is hard for a lot of freshmen to let go of that. You have to be able to run a race and basically not care." Which is why Coach DeGrado had his team run a workout before the event started and DeGrado was very open before the meet with how little the results of these early season contests mean in the grand scheme of where both his teams could be headed.
"I need to get the volume in and I told them that," DeGrado said. "We did a workout and it wasn't anything terribly hard, but some of our girls aren't in shape yet to handle a workout and a race yet physically or mentally."
With all that being said, it is nice to win and the Red Devils managed to do that despite the obstacles that their coach put in front of them with the workout.
"Obviously my ego wants them to win, what coach doesn't want to win every meet, but I have to remind myself to follow the plan laid out regardless," DeGrado said. "The coaching side just says let's get some volume in, get a good workout and get back to training again. My ego wants to win everything."
The Red Devil men cruised to a win over Cowley College — DeGrado's former school — in the team race. Ricardo Banuelos and Philip Langmann finished 1-2 as individuals with Banuelos running a 15:50.07 and Langmann finishing with a 16:17.5.
Freshman Paul Becker — sixth — rounded out the Allen top-ten runners.
The women also top the top-two places in their race with Kaitlyn Shoemaker turning in a 14:49.76 and Abby Steinhauser running a 15:25.96.
Vicky Ibarra finished seventh. Gemma Gonzalez and Hannah Johnson to 10th and 11th to round out the scoring runners, but Allen was edged in the team standings by Cowley and had to settle for second.
"It is what it is," DeGrado said. "That is my former school, I don't want them to beat me, just as much as they don't want me to beat them. Since I've left I was able to get the best of them through the distance races the last five years, however that was the coach that replaced me, he no longer is around so the new coach they've got there has a proven record and I'm sure he'll be gunning for our program."
The Red Devils were without one of their top female runners Kristina Silvers with a sore shin. I had to rest Kristina and get her healthy for the long grind ahead.
Women's Results: Cowley – 27, Allen – 31, Highland – 90, Garden City – 102
Men's Results: Allen – 34, Cowley – 48, Highland – 51, Garden City - 101