"Our plan was to get them here and get them some experience. ... To have Dani get back and bring us back, with 20 meters to go, was incredible.”
Mark Wetmore they both have "very strong egos" so "have room in their self-esteem for other people to be successful."
She asked her coaches to answer honestly and tell her if she was "fooling herself" and if she was "done". They told her to keep going and now she says she's the fittest she's been in years.
“I just want you to tell me if I’m fooling myself. Am I done?” she asked. “I’ve had a great career, and I can walk away from it. I don’t want to be that person who thinks they have something more to give and they don’t. I just want you guys to tell me ... I needed to know right there because I didn’t want to go on fooling myself. They both immediately said, ‘We believe in you. We believe that a year from now you can be a totally different athlete.’ I really needed to hear that at that moment. ... I hear it—people tell me I’m too old or my best days are past me. That’s too bad they think that, but it doesn’t matter what they think. I’m not running for those people. I’m 100 percent focused on what I need to do, and whether I make the team or not, it’s been worth the journey to try.”
Wetmore: "They did everything we asked them to. Maybe when I got back tomorrow and process it, I'll decide I should have asked them to do something else. But they did their jobs. ... I'm proud of the women, proud of the men," Wetmore said. "Wish we had 10 less points on the men's side, but I know they ran their hearts out."
After getting sick early in the season, Saarel hadn't raced in a Colorado uniform all year until Regionals. Wetmore: “All along, the decision has been: Can we win the nationals without him? And I decided that, with the national championship, a lot of people never have a chance to win one at all, so it’s a little bit a violation of the gods to hold out a pretty good guy. So we decided to plug him in.”
“We knew in both races there were formidable opponents, teams that would be better than they had been all season long. We knew that we had a chance to win both, probably a slightly better chance on the men’s side, but we definitely aspired to do the sweep and it happened.”