DyeStat IL: Running in the City - February 19, 2013

Published by Mike Newman
Feb 20th 2013, 4:54am | 2864 views
Jones College Prep Coach Andrew Adelmann reflects on his team's state championship effort at Detweiller Park. (Photo Credit: Bob Geiger) Jones College Prep: 2012 IHSA Boys 2A State XC Champs Description

Coach Andrew Adelmann is coming off of coaching a state cross country team championship at
Jones College Prep in Chicago. This success did not come easily or overnight.
In the start of this series, Adelmann will look at how he developed a
successful distance program in that heart of an urban area.

"What does it take
to build a distance program in the middle of an urban environment like Chicago?
I am very humbled to have been asked to try to provide some of those answers in
this blog.

When I started coaching four years ago though, it was impossible to
start thinking about “what it would take” without first understanding “what we
would face,” and I suppose step one, as it probably should be for any program,
is to assess what you have to work with.

Located in the “South Loop” of Chicago, right on State Street, Jones
is a CPS selective enrollment high school that has only been around for a
little over a decade. Like any other Chicago public high school, we are all
part of the same sprawling Chicago Public League conference, famously known for
basketball, not so much for distance running.

Running in the suburbs at Lemont High School and then for Loyola, a
relatively well funded private university, I had a pretty good understanding of
what I thought were all the things it required to build a good
distance running program: resources, support, and a very specific type of
athlete. So, when I quit my job in “Corporate America” at the idealistic age of
23 to pursue my dream job of coaching high school cross country/track, I may
have been a little naive in thinking that I would immediately have all of that
at my disposal.

I did not. And neither do a lot of coaches in the city.

What we quickly realized at Jones though, was that every supposed
“obstacle” we faced provided a great deal of opportunity for us. By addressing
some of the fundamental deficiencies at the core of what we were trying to do,
we could strengthen ourselves at the roots to build something much greater and
stronger than we possibly could have had we not been forced to address such
weaknesses at the beginning. In doing so, we also came to understand that some
of the challenges we confronted daily provided a lot of natural benefit for us
as well, which has greatly helped us not only in training but racing as well.

So while the environment and difficulties that face many cross
country/track coaches in the city are not insurmountable, they are certainly
not to be ignored either, especially if you wish to find success at the state
level. It is just a matter of fact.

In future posts it is my hope to address
each of these issues individually (resources, support, etc.), not only to
provide insight on how we have built our program here at Jones, but more
importantly, provide testament to those challenges that face many of our
sport’s athletes on a daily basis within the City of Chicago."

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