Scouting Report: West Bend West

After returning five of seven from their 2014 squad, the West Bend West look like the team to beat in the state. Led by Matt Stoll, 22nd last year, they look to make a run to a State title in 2015. We caught up with Coach Scott Hammer who ran for West Bend West while in high school.

Top Returnees from 2014 XC Season (5K Times)

1) Matt Stoll16:04.10
2) Jordan Gehrke16:18.06
3) Max Hardy16:33.89
4) Luke Guttormson16:50.92
5) Tyler Kozlowsky16:54.02
Average Time: 16:32.20 Total Time: 1:22:40.99 1-5 Split: 49.92
6) Thomas Eichner17:17.43
7) Peyton Janto17:24.30

Top Returning 3200m Times from 2015 Outdoor Season

1) Jordan Gehrke9:49.30
2) Matt Stoll9:51.82
3) Peyton Janto9:56.94
4) Jaden Salinas10:03.86
5) Luke Guttormson10:21.47
Average Time: 10:00.68 Total Time: 50:03.39 1-5 Split: 32.17
6) Tyler Kozlowsky10:28.27
7) Roman Skurek10:43.12

Top Returning 1600m Times from 2015 Outdoor Season

1) Matt Stoll4:27.67
2) Jaden Salinas4:29.55
3) Luke Guttormson4:34.23
4) Max Hardy4:46.26
5) Peyton Janto4:58.02
Average Time: 4:39.15 Total Time: 23:15.73 1-5 Split: 30.35
6) Roman Skurek5:08.59
7) Garrison Kozlowski5:24.44

How has summer training been going for your team? What do you focus on during the summer months?

I believe we had a very successful summer running program. It’s always hard to get everyone together at the same time, but we did manage to get a core group of 20 athletes meeting to run every day. Our summer schedule mainly focuses on ramping up our mileage to the point our Varsity athletes are logging 50 - 55 miles a week by the time official practice begins. We’re doing this with a combination of easy “2 a days”, longer Distance Runs, & a combination of Tempo Runs, Fartleks and Hill Workouts.

Who have you been most impressed or surprised with their improvement and/or fitness from their summer training?

Right now it is too early to say…I’ll have a better feel for this after our Team vs. Alumni time trial this Saturday. However, all reports coming back to me indicate that our top 10 - 12 Varsity caliber runners all are very fit!

Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?

I’m fortunate enough to have leaders at every level, however our Senior leaders are the glue that hold this team together. Matt Stoll, Jordan Gehrke, Max Hardy and Thomas Eichner have taken it upon themselves to lead by example. They never take shortcuts and always are there to help coach the younger runners.

What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?

I think the biggest challenge is just keeping everyone healthy. With such a short season, a small injury here, an ill-timed illness there, can really affect the overall strength of your team. Fortunately, this year’s team is the deepest that we’ve ever had, which will give us more of a cushion than we’ve had in the past.

What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?

Our depth. I anticipate having 3 - 4 athletes averaging sub 16:30 and another 4 - 5 athletes in the16:30 - 17:00 range. If we can consistently run those type of times we’re going to have some success.

What are some staple workouts your team does during the season?

I’m a fan of tempo runs. We’ll get a 2 mile warm up in and then hit 2 - 4 miles of tempo pace depending on what point of the season we’re in. We’re able to do this at a park that gives us a perfect 1 mile loop so it is very easy to keep track on whether the guys are hitting their prescribed tempo pace or not.

What are your top 3 goals for this year's squad?

1) To collectively improve throughout the season and have FUN!

2) Win the WLT Conference Meet

3) Stay healthy so we can make a run at the State Title

When I went to do some research on your team I actually ran across some old results of yours. 21 years ago did you ever think you would be coaching at the high school you ran for?

At the time….no. Boyd Janto was such a young coach who had so much success in the 3 years I ran for him, I didn’t think he’d ever leave. However, work obligations brought him to the Madison area for a while and when I moved back to West Bend, I was disappointed to have learned that the program was really struggling. I jumped at the opportunity and challenge of getting the program back to where it was when Boyd was at the helm.

How, if any, has the sport changed since you ran for West Bend West?

No question about it….the biggest change has been the introduction of electronic chip timing! I still remember how at the end of each race in High School my Dad & Boyd crunching numbers on my Dad’s yellow note pad trying to figure out team results….and still doing this 30 - 45 minutes after the race! Kids & Coaches these days simply go to PT Timing on their smart phone and they instantly know how they did and where their team stands before the Awards ceremony takes place.