History Lesson #9: A Season Through Email Updates, Vol. 1-3
Over the past 3 seasons, I have sent out updates to our alumni after each race. This has become known as the Panorama Farms Project Newsletter. I had compiled the 2017 and 2018 newsletters into one document, but for some reason had not done it for the 2019 season. Well here it is.
I know that some of this might be hard to read as we aren’t having a season right now, and it’s a reminder of what we could be doing. But for me, I love remembering the times we have had. It’s a reminder of how proud I am to say I am a part of this program and what you boys have made it. And more than anything, it’s a reminder of the lessons we have learned away that can be applied in all aspects of life. This sport is amazing and we will be back! The hard work this fall will pay off!
History Lesson #8: What Can Happen When You Go All In
This week's history lesson is slightly different than recent ones. In a sense, I'm giving all of you a sales pitch for our program. What can happen if you go all in to the program and everything it encompasses. This means that you run every single day you are supposed to. Not only that, but you do the exact plan for the day, running, drills, strides, stretching, rolling, core, lifting, etc. You lead a healthy lifestyle outside your time at practice. Getting good sleep, even on the weekends, eating healthy, hydrating, etc. But more than anything, you buy into the core responsibilities that make up our program. You have the discipline that I discussed above. You communicate clearly with your coaches, your teammates, and most importantly, yourself. You approach each day with a positive attitude, even the days that seem to not be going your way. You believe in the team, but most importantly, you believe in yourself. You have courage. You are not afraid of failure and understand it is a part of the process to reaching your goals. Lastly, you show true empathy towards your peers.
It's been a fun ride over the last 5 years seeing how the boys have continued to progress and push what we believed was possible as a team. They have accomplished some truly special things. But, if you ask any of them, this did not happen by accident. It happened by complete buy into everything discussed above. In my entire life, I have not been around a more focused and determined group of people. It has been infectious. The exciting thing is that it still is a part of this team. I see it in the seniors, the massive junior class, the sophomores who seem so eager, and even from the freshman. I see a group that has been dealt a different hand but I also see a group that is more than willing to adapt. I'm so excited to see how all of you progress over the next 6-12 months, as athletes and as human beings. Big things coming! I can't wait to see how you all write your own history and continue to push this program to new heights! Remember, the success of the team does not only come from the top 7 but the buy in of the entire roster!
Below, I've listed a few things the boys have accomplished over the last few years:
The progression of the program over the last 5 years shown by graphs.
The first graph shows the number of boys we had under certain times for each season. As you can see we have gone from having zero boys under 17 minutes in 2015 to five boys under 16:30 in 2019. Our deepest year was 2017 and this team reminds me so much of that team, except we have the fast runners up front like in 2019.
The second graph shows the progression of our top five's average over the last five seasons. This average comes from our top five runner's season bests. In 2015, our top 5 average was 17:08 and this past fall it was 15:58.
The 2017 Virginia 5A State XC Championships: In 2017, the boys won the state championship without an all-state runner (top 15 finisher). Since the mid 80s, only 4 schools have won a public VA state team championship without an all-state runner. This includes both genders and all size classifications. The list is the 1988 Stonewall Jackson girls team (A champion), the 2004 Thomas Jefferson boys team (AAA champion), the 2007 Brentsville boys team (AA champion), and the 2017 Albemarle boys team (5A champion). Our boys did it with their tight spread of 19 seconds between our first runner, Harris, and our 5th runner, JD. In the last 20 years, only two teams have won a VA public school state title with a tighter spread, the 2008 Blacksburg girls and the 2004 Thomas Jefferson boys who had spreads of 16 seconds and 15 seconds, respectively. This didnt' come as a surprise as the boys put up a 15 second spread earlier in the season with their Albemarle Invitational victory. This is the 2nd lowest spread by an Albemarle Invitational champion since the race was moved to Panorama Farms in the late 90s.
The 2019 Albemarle Invitational: In 2019, the boys averaged 16:04 for their top 5 runners at the Albemarle Invitational, finishing 2nd to Loudoun Valley. Valley averaged 15:35 and 3rd place Western Albemarle averaged 16:03. Before the 2019 Albemarle Invitational, the fastest top 5 average ever at the farm was 16:23 by Brentsville at the 2006 Region II meet. The same race where I ran my high school PR. Albemarle's best top 5 average ever at the farm had been 16:36 before this meet! What a special day!
The 2019 Virginia 5A State XC Championships: The boys wanted to have a historic day and they did exactly that. Going into the meet, the lowest point total in 5A history was 76 points by Stone Bridge in 2015. The boys scored 52 points and won by 34 points, the biggest margin of victory ever. To put this in perspective, if we scored 6 runners and every other team scores 5, the boys still win by 9 points!
The Albemarle all time lists from the Panorama Farms 5k course and the Cup course: Albemarle has one of the best history's in the state, especially from the years 2008 to 2014. The names on these lists include national high school champions, national high school runner ups, ACC champions, All-Americans, and many D1 athletes. To see how our boys over the last 5 years stack up against these runners is really cool
Insane depth in the 3200m Over the last 10 years, only 4 schools have had 7 boys under 10 minutes in the same school year. The list includes, Loudoun Valley ('18 and '19), Blacksburg ('13), Chantilly ('13), and Oakton ('11). We also accomplished this feat in 2019, with Will Mackenzie, Harris Naseh, Stephen Smith, Cutter Huston, JD MacKnight, Evan Burns, and Joe Yung all going under 10 minutes. That's pretty good company to be with!
History Lesson #7: Alec Lorenzoni
This interview was a really fun one for us. Alec, my brother, was the man behind the scenes from 2008 to 2013. He was an assistant at Albemarle during this time having a huge part in the success of the famous 4x800m and runners like Adam Visokay. For me personally, I don't think any person has had a bigger impact on my life. He is the person that convinced me to coach at Albemarle instead of Western.
In this interview, Alec gives his background in the sport, including an inside look into his time running at UVA. We get a super inside look into the culture of the 4x800m and how Zach, Luke, Anthony, and Garrett were the perfect group for each other. Alec then discusses the success of athletes like Adam Visokay. We also get an inside look into his coaching philosophy. This is worth the listen!
The interview is broken up into 2 parts.
Part 1: Alec's history and 4x8
Part 2: Anthony's Senior year, Adam Visokay, and Alec's coaching philosophy
Alec with the 2011 XC Team
History Lesson #6: Ms. Tyson Interview
Another Albemarle history article, another great interview! This week we are lucky to hear from our athletic director, Ms. Tyson. I'm not sure how many of you realize how fortunate we are to have one of the best ADs in the entire state in Ms. Tyson. The athletic department at Albemarle is as good as it gets, and we definitely have Ms. Tyson to thank for that! For me personally, I feel incredibly lucky to have had her as a mentor over the past 8 years.
In this interview, Ms. Tyson gives a message of support to all of you. We get to hear about Ms. Tyson's past in sports and what led her to her current role at Albemarle. I LOVED hearing about this. We get to hear why she loves her job and what is so rewarding about high school sports. We also get to hear about a few of her most memorable moments from her time at Albemarle.
Ms Tyson with the boys team after they won the '19 state title
History Lesson #5: Coach Buz Interview
Another week, another great interview for our Albemarle History article. Like last week, this is a huge treat as we get to hear from legend, Buz Male. Buz has the label as one of the greatest coaches in Virginia high school history. In his career, Buz coached at Episcopal High School, Langley High School, University of Virginia, Miller School, and Albemarle High School. Through this interview we hear Buz's story from growing up in Charlottesville to his time at Albemarle High School. We hear how Buz grew into the legendary coach he was at Albemarle High School.
For me, this was really special because I can honestly say that, other than my family, no person has had a larger impact on my life than Buz. I was so lucky to get to coach under him for 3 years and I think I took more from his lessons than maybe any other athlete those 3 years.
Enjoy these two hours as Buz takes you on a journey through Virginia running over the last 50 plus years!
The last meet Buz coached at Albemarle, the '14 NXR Southeast Meet
Because of size, the interview had to broken up into 3 parts.
Part 1: Buz's childhood through Episcopal
Part 2: Langley, UVA, and Miller
Part 3: Albemarle
Buz and Coach Lorenzoni at the '15 State Meet
We didn't get to discuss the origin of the candy canes, so Buz shared the story to one of our greatest traditions!
History of Albemarle Cross Country’s Candy Caines
By Buz Male 7/6/2020
One day in the summer of 2010 a few of Albemarle’s more veteran runners started showing up at Panorama wearing red and white running shorts. I started asking the kids where they got the shorts and why were they wearing them. The only answer I got was, “ask Austin”. Austin McPhillips was the team captain and so finally I asked Austin the question. His answer was pretty confident. Buz, these are our new racing shorts. I said, whose decison was that? Well the team’s. If I remember correctly, and I think I do, I said, “Over my dead body”! Are they pink?
Well, that didn’t sit well with Austin. He wanted to know why and what difference did it make? Perfectly good questions as I look back 10 years later. However, coaches sometimes need to be stubborn and I picked this moment to be stubborn. I had picked out the new Patriot uniforms and I preferred the solid blue singlets and the solid red shorts. Although I’m not sure if I brought this up to Austin but personally I didn’t think they looked too “manly”. So, my natural response was, “maybe if you guys win a big invitational, we could disuss it, but for now they were ok for practice only. But I did add a huge incentive, promising to wear an XL pair of “caines” and “run” a 5k on the tough Panorama course.
So the season begins and “the boys’ finished 2nd at the Cup,2nd at FUMA, 7th at Maymont, 2nd by 14 points to Commonwealth District rival Mt. View in Nike meet in NC, So far so good for the old coach. But then the magic happened on our home course at Panorama Farms in Earlysville.
Led by Ben Deal (12th place), the Patriots won their 35 team Invitational, definitely qualifying as a “big meet” and the right to wear the RED and White candy caines. This team had a 39 second split from first to 5th runner. Austin McPhillips finished 14th, followed by Adam Visokay 18th, Ryan Thomas 22nd, and Chris Springer 31st. As Bronco Mendenhall would say 7 years later as the UVA football coach, “Earned,not given”. The team proudly wore their new uniforms the rest of that season and for years to come. Not only did they make a fashion statement around the state but putting themselves ‘out there” they seem to know that their new visibility needed to be backed up by even more competitive team performances. And that they did.
As promised, I donned my XL candies on the home course at the end of the season and struggled thru the hardest 5k of my life. As I was running, I noticed that Austin made sure there were several team members all over the course in case I needed help or maybe even to see if I cut a few corners.
Thanks to Austin and this whole team for beginning a new tradition for Albemarle XC. You all made your coaches proud for sure.
Once a Patriot, always a Patriot.
History Lesson #4: Coach Weisend Interview
Today's article might be my favorite yet. For this history article, I interviewed former Albemarle coach, Lance Weisend. Coach Weisend coached at Albemarle from 1983 to 2009, and he taught at Albemarle up until last school year. There are many Albemarle cross country traditions that Weisend started that continue to this day. Two of these traditions, camp at Graves Mountain Lodge and the course at Panorama Farms, are the main reason why a lot of you run cross country every year. We discuss the origins of both of these traditions in detail. I learned so much in this interview and know all of you will love this. It is a must listen!!
The AHS XC team during their first ever camp at Graves Mountain Lodge
The team about to start the Bear Run Time Trial at their first ever camp.
Team doing lifelines on the tennis court during '01 season
The AHS XC team during their first ever camp at Graves Mountain Lodge
History Lesson #3: All the athlete made docs!
I'm still working on scheduling interviews with coaches to discuss Albemarle history. For the time being, I'll share the student made videos of the past 3 years. The first, which I've already shared, is the documentary about our 2017 season. I love it so much. The next four are from last season and were made by our seniors. Enjoy! who wants to keep this tradition going?!
Dedicated: Albemarle Cross Country
The story of the 2017 Albemarle Boys Cross Country team.
Albemarle Cross Country | Summer Workout
An inside look at a summer practice from July 2019
Albemarle Cross Country | Summer 5k and Camp
Watch the '19 boys team as they work through their first week of offical practice!
Albemarle Cross Country | Ragged Mountain Cup
The '19 team takes on the Ragged Mountain Cup on August 27, 2019. The Cup is a 4x2mile relay race hosted at our beautiful Panorama Farms.
Albemarle Cross Country | Oatlands Invitational
The '19 team goes to Leesburg Virginia for the Oatlands Invitational. There are 3 races: Upper JV, Varsity, and Underclass JV.
History Lesson #2: Podcast w/ 2017 top 7 two days after their state championship
As I schedule interviews with old Albemarle coaches and alumni for history articles, this amazing podcast will have to do for this week.
Technically the 2nd episode of Coach Lorenzoni and Coach Alba-Cantone's short lived Run The Schools Podcast. Sorry for the first 5 minutes!
We interviewed our top 7 two days after they won the school's first cross country state title
The boys responses to our questions are amazing
It's especially fun to look back at our recently graduated seniors responses as young sophomores. We owe this whole top 7 so much!
Over the past 3 years the boys have been on a special run. They won the school's 1st cross country team state title in 2017, finished 3rd in 2018, and won the school's 2nd title in 2019. In '17 the boys won in a massive upset of Deep Run, in '18 the roles were flipped as Deep Run beat us in a massive upset, and in '19 the boys won in the most dominating victory in 5A history. Coincidentally, I started sending out updates to alumni after each race during the fall of '17 and have continued to do so for every race since then. Below are the reports that I sent out to alumni after the last three state meets. Since I haven't been able to link up with an alumni or former coach yet to do a history article, I figured I would just share these three reports with you so you can relive these last three state meets. Each of these seasons and meets that have taught all of us so much. It really has been the dream.
I'm so excited to watch you guys keep this run going and put your own stamp on Albemarle's history!
Also, if you click the Overall Albemarle History link below you can look at Albemarle's history at the state and regional meet. You can also see our top 100 lists for the 2 mile course at the Ragged Mountain Cup, the 5k course at Panorama Farms, the 5k course at WakeMed in Cary, NC, and the state meet 5k course at Great Plains. Thinking about where you want to be on this list is a great motivator as you begin your summer training.
History Lesson #1: The Run ('17 to present)
Adam outkicking two opponents in the last 400m of the AAA XC State Championships