LetsRun.com Pro Coaches Tour: On Athletics Club Coach Dathan Ritzenhein Looks Ahead to 2022, Back on Super Successful 2021

“The team is very important… We run this almost like a professional sports team.”

By LetsRun.com
January 18, 2022

We asked you what you wanted on LetsRun in 2022, and many of you said you wanted to hear more from the top coaches in America.

So the LetsRun.com Track Talk Coaches Tour is here. Once a week starting this week, we’re going to talk to a coach of a top US pro running group and see what’s on tap for 2022.

How did 2021 go for them? What were the highlights and what were the lowlights? Who got dropped from the team, who is new to the team? 

On Athletics Club Coach Dathan Ritzenhein

We’re starting our Track Talk coaches series with Dathan Ritzenhein, the head coach of the On Athletics Club (OAC). Below is our interview with Ritz with time stamps and an overview of the club below the video player. (If you’d like to hear all the interviews as podcasts, join the LetsRun Supporters Club)

On Athletics Club Overview

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Started: Mid-2020

The On Athletics Club hit the ground running in 2021, its first full year of existence. It produced four Olympians (Americans Joe Klecker and Alicia Monson in the 10,000m, Ollie Hoare of Australia in the 1500, and Alicja Konieczek of Poland in the steeplechase) and signed a fifth (Morgan McDonald of Australia in 5,000m, after he had made the Olympic team). With six NCAA D1 champions (Hoare, Monson, McDonald, plus Sage Hurta, Carmela Cardama Báez and Leah Falland) it has a lot of talent, especially for a relatively new club.

There was some heartbreak as well with Leah Falland coming up short at the Olympics Trials.

Key members (since the club only has 10 runners, we’re listing them all)
Ollie Hoare (Australia 1,500m World ranked #8 LRC, #4 TFN; PBs 3:32.35 1500, 13:09 5000, NCAA 1500 champ)
Alicia Monson (USA, 2022 USA Cross Country champion, 2021 Olympian, PBs 14:42 5000, 31:10.84 10,000, NCAA indoor 5000 champ)
Joe Klecker (USA, 2021 Olympian, PBs 13:06 5000, 27:23 10,000)
Leah Falland (USA, 9:16.96 steeplechaser, NCAA indoor mile champ)
Geordie Beamish (New Zealand, NCAA indoor mile champion @ NAU, PBs 3:37.57 1500, 13:12 5000)
Carlos Villarreal (Mexico, PBs 3:37.22 1500, 1:46.70 800)

2022 Additions (joined mid-year 2021)
Morgan McDonald (Australia, University of Wisconsin, 4 time NCAA champion — XC, indoor 3k, 5k, and outdoor 5k, Olympian PBs 13:14 5000)
Sage Hurta (USA, University of Colorado, NCAA champion in indoor mile, PBs 800 2:00.08, 1500 4:07.50)
Carmela Cardama Báez (Spain, University of Oregon, NCAA 10,000m champion, PBs 15:24 5000, 32:16 10,000)

Left team
Emily Oren 9:40.65 steeplechaser.

Our favorite quote from Ritz: (pro training tip #1):

“The mental part is so much of it. The physical part of training, a lot of people don’t do a whole lot of different stuff. Like it’s pretty basic, you know. You have to have the same things in every system to be successful. But really, if they’re confident and they believe in what they’re doing, you’ll see them be able to go to that place.”  (14:20)

  • Video timestamps
  • 2:23 Top moment of year
  • 4:10 Additions/Subtractions: The 2022 roster of 10 
  • 5:26 Does he view anyone as #1 on the team?
  • 8:14 2022 Outlook: Any concern about not being able to grow on super successful 2021?
  • 14:53 Rivalry with other US pro groups?
  • 16:58 Union Athletic Club vs On Athletic Club
  • 17:53 What’s the focus in 2022?
  • 21:08 Thoughts on 10,000m having its own US Championship
  • 22:22 What’s the #1 thing he learned in 2022?
  • 26:25 Picking the brains of other coaches Mick Byrne and Jerry Schumacher
  • 28:50 What did he learn from biggest disappointment in 2022