Wednesday, March 01, 2017

What It Takes to Be a Champion

This Friday, the #1 ranked basketball team in California (Archbishop Mitty) will face the #4 team in California (Pinewood) for the Central Coast Section Open Division girls' championship. In CCS, there is an open division which pits the best teams in the section against each other in their own division regardless of size. Mitty is a private school with 1748 students while Pinewood is also a private school with 204 students. There are other sports that also have open divisions but that is not the case for Cross Country and Track and Field. A point of discussion for another time.

Leading up to Friday's game, the San Jose Mercury News's sports writer Darren Sabedra wrote an article previewing the game which you can read at this LINK. What stood out to me were a couple of quotes from Pinewood coach Doc Scheppler. To me, his quotes spoke about the process (practices) and the dedication of his players that enabled them to make the open final.

“Going to practice is like walking into basketball heaven,” he said Wednesday. “Great girls. Great coaches. Great atmosphere. Everybody working together. Everybody loving each other. It’s really a true family, and I don’t use that term loosely from a standpoint of our team. They really do have genuine affection for each other — no jealousy, no pettiness, no cliques. I wish it will never end.”

It takes sacrifice to reach this level, Scheppler said, adding, “This is why you work so hard in the off season. You lift your weights. You do your conditioning. You do your skill work. You practice hard. You don’t go to ski-week vacation. You don’t go on Christmas vacation. Thanksgiving week, we’re practicing.

“That’s the cost of playing in this game. The game is the profit. There’s your profit. There’s your joy. A lot of teams don’t want to pay the price of getting to that game. The Mitty team is the same exact situation. They’ve worked really hard. They’re terrifically coached. They’re great athletes. The two best teams in the section are squaring off Friday. We’re going to be ready to go.”


Anonymous said...

Track & Field has no divisions. Thus is more difficult and the ultimate "open division."

I know it's not a popular thought but I really feel xc should have an open division. In basketball the top 8 teams are selected for the open division. They are guaranteed selections to the state divisional playoffs. Such should be the case in XC. Have an open division. Top 8 move on and are put in appropriate state divisions.

Albert Caruana said...

I agree on both your points. Leave track as is with no divisions. California has the best state meet in the entire country.

Have an open division in XC and let the best teams race each other at state. That way there is no questions about what teams should advance to NXN. Plus we would have a true state champion.

Anonymous said...

OK, but where would someone like Cooper Teare fit into that? He's one of CA's best individuals, but SJND is not nearly that quality of team.

Albert Caruana said...

I see what you are saying and the individual component is another factor. As with any structural changes as adding an open division, the hard part is figuring out the format.

Also, before anyone jumps on the previous poster, SJND has been a terrific XC and TF program but as it is currently, you have a nationally ranked individual runner on a team that is not nationally ranked.

Sal said...

An open division in XC will never happen. You heard it here first.

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