Falcon Cross Country Team Returns from Mammoth

Team picture on Mammoth Mountain beneath Woolly Mammoth

The 2011 Falcon cross-country team completed its annual Mammoth camp returning Aug. 13 after eight days of training. Coach Mark Evans took 48 runners up north.

The training camp began in 1991 with seven boys, one girl and three adults. It has steadily grown over the years with 2011 being the largest camp with about 100 participants including coaches and parents.

Varsity boys on a mile repeat run

The focus of the Mammoth camp is running, but it also is a team building experience, bringing the participants together 24 hours a day.

The runners trained twice a day. They were up at 6:30 a.m. and on the road by 7:30 a.m. The morning runs included long-time favorite treks such as Inyo Craters loop, Mammoth Rock run, Obsidian Hill run, Highway 395 out and back, and mile repeats in Shady Rest Park. Each day, after the morning run and breakfast, the athletes headed over to Cold Creek to soak tired and weary legs in the snowmelt creek.

After a refreshing soak, the runners returned to camp for a shower and some quiet time.

Team picture

A number of recreational activities were planned for each afternoon. Some of these included swimming and kayaking in June Lake, hiking around Convict Lake, hiking to the top of Lambert Dome in Yellowstone and visiting the earthquake fault and the Mammoth ski lift.

The afternoon workouts focused on easy mileage with stretching, drills and core strengthening work. This was followed by hearty dinners prepared by the parents at camp.

The runners spent most evenings in camp playing cards, reading and sitting around a campfire. One evening Coach Evans and the parents took the athletes up to Inyo Craters Overlook for stargazing. But perhaps one of the most enjoyable events was a visit to the Nike Storefront.

Group of boys and girls at trail head sign

The Nike people came to Wednesday’s workout and filmed the repeat miles. They then invited the team over to their store for the evening providing a pizza dinner and games for the runners to play. After eating, the team sang karaoke or watched their teammates and coaches taking part. A team T-shirt was designed and given to each runner.

The camp experience would not have been possible without the parents’ support. Parents transported the 48 runners to and from La Crescenta and Mammoth. They drove the runners each day, cooked all of the meals and provided the support and encouragement necessary for the runners to complete this difficult and challenging week of training.

Looking back over the week, Coach Evans said that he “believes that the goals of the camp were met.” He acknowledged the many challenging miles the athletes conquered but said that the growth of the runners as a team was equally important. The participants are closer, know each other better and are ready to better support one another during the upcoming 2011 cross country season.

Contributed by Dennis OLIVER