Jonathan Gault is working on our NCAA xc previews this week, but in researching his previews he learned something that deserves its own story.
What do you think?
Unless this is just a way of Smith reducing pressure on Sahlman (and if so well done, bravo), I think this is overthink. I'm fine with not wanting to count on a freshman and not putting gobs of pressure on them but let's don't over think this. It's not that complicated. It's distance running. Coaching the #1 guy in the country isn't that much different than coaching the worst guy on the team. You train them properly, try to get them fit as possible and then let them race.
Yes with older guys and less talented runners you might try to force things occasionally (if they are a walk on and don't get in shape they won't have a roster spot and if they are an upperclassmen and don't reach a certain level, they will never help you so what's the point?) but for the most part it's not rocket science.
Now don't misunderstand me. I hate coaches that just throw eggs against the wall and see what survives, but Mike Smith is far from that type of coach. The guy has successfully coached a wide variety of athletes in a wide variety of distances. You train him for xc as one of the great mile prospects.
I predict he will race NCAAs and think he should race NCAAs.