Always looking to keep his sixth-ranked D2 team on its toes, veteran Shorewood boys cross-country coach Dominic Newman switched up the schedule a little bit this fall.
And got a little bit more than he bargained for in the process.
The Greyhounds went up to Wisconsin Dells on Sept. 30 for the rare nighttime-start Nightfall Cross Country Classic on the Spring Brook Resort Golf Course and came away the winners in the 14-team boys field.
Newman noted that the kids had fun, and it was an interesting experience to race on a course lit by floodlamps
"(It) was a huge success," Newman said. "It was a breakthrough meet for many. I hope that the athletes enjoyed it as much as I did! "
The only frustrating thing about the whole event was that there was just a little problem with the math when it came to the length of the scheduled 5,000-meter course — a pretty big discrepancy in fact, one that Newman worked hard to put into context.
"It’s hard to measure our progress sometimes, but that’s our sport," he said. "So sometimes the best we can do is measure ourselves by the performance against teams we raced in the past. Did we beat them by a larger number; did we improve our team average? Or did we simply meet our team goal that we discussed the night before?
"The course was (only) 4,780 meters. So what does that mean? Well after talking to a few coaches and using conversions, I would say add about 45-50 seconds to the times. Would we be comfortable adding 60 seconds? It really does not matter, we ran a great race as a team."
The results seem to verify that, as the Greyhounds turned in a 59-point total for their victory. Deerfield/Cambridge was second with 98 and Freedom third with 115.
Shorewood put three in the top 10 of the close to 100-runner field as Leo Fowler was fourth (15:48), while Cole Baumann was sixth (15:48) and Henry Kuhlmann ninth (15:53). Other scoring runners included Kai Gietzen in 19th (16:16) and Ray Oechler in 21st (16:19). Also running were Victor Gould in 26th (16:29) and Will Vuyk in 31st (16:36).
Newman said it was a solid evening overall despite the course snafu.
"Cross-country can be a very frustrating sport," he said. "Courses can vary in length, difficulty, and the weather can and will always be whatever the weather wants to be. In a sport where we time our runners down to the hundredth of a second, memorize our times and strive to improve each and every time we step to the line, it can be exciting to see a fast time relating to a PR or aggravating to read a slow and ugly time on the clock as you cross the line.
"We will build upon this meet as we head into the championship phase of the season. The Shorewood Invitational will give us a more accurate picture of our times (to be held, Saturday, Oct. 8 at Kern Park)."