Tinman- you said it about as well as it has ever been said. Each year we go through this, with a whole lot of people who have nothing but secondhand information beating up on a coach and program that has done more than other in the history of US high school xc to elevate the sport- and yes, I mean this, more than anyone else. Newton is a friend, my kids ran for him and I experienced what he does first hand for many years- I have nothing but respect for him.
I mentioned Don Sage, who is a close friends of ours, simply to note that even some of the greatest runners Newton has had have mananged to do that on less miles than what my kids put in. Not everyone is as fanatical as my kids were. Don put in miles, for sure- but I was not and would not suggest that my kids were better than him. They just love running and are now coaches themselves- and this is all Newton's influence. As for college, my kids found the 70mpw training they got pretty easy.
Answers (and Utah Jazz Karl Malone has a lot really right):
1) Do you attribute all the success and the usual "5 guys under 9:40" (or whatever unbelievable times that they run year in and year out) to the summer mileage and dedication, or rather to the fact that out of ALLLL those kids who come out for the team year in and year out, there must by (statistics say so) someone of SOME talent out there. Which do you think?
I think there is nothing special in the water in Elmhurst. Sure, if you get a lot of kids out you will increase the chance of finding good runners, but a lot of this comes from the feeder system, by which I mean that Elmhurst has xc starting in 6th grade and the coaches note the good runners early on, and then Newton invites the best to the summer running program between 8th and 9th grades. Dedication surely helps though. You have to be dedicated, let me tell you. My kids found college training easy after York.
2) How much do the kids that DO run 100+ over the summer run in-season?
In season, I would venture to guess that from season start to end (Aug 16 or so to Nov 12 around) they probably put in another 800 or so miles, but very structured miles.
3) Does York run indoors? (I don't think so, I read Newton's book a lonnngg time ago)
Yes, there is an indoor season, from January to early March.
4) Of the kids you've seen come through York, is it pretty much a sure thing that if they are willing to put in 1000 miles during the summer, they will be good enough for top 10 on the team? I know there are no "sure things" in running (or life) but what is your observation? Just wondering.
No. A number of the kids who put in the miles in the summer never made the top 10 and never ran the big invites. You would have anywhere from 15-20 kids run 1000 miles each summer. But you also never knew when someone would just all of a sudden hit it big. Jim Akita, who was never a top 7 runner at York, ended up nationally ranked in D3 for both 5 and 10k two years later for Elmhurst College.
5) When does "summer" start and end for these kids?
Starts around June 15 and ends officially around August 17-20.
6) How good is the girl's team?
Not too bad, has won state a couple of times in the past 6 years and medaled a couple of other times. Recent notable York runners from the girls were Celi Williams (U IL) and Maria Cicero (Boston College). Both were Footlocker finalists.