Riverside cross country coach Jim Myers said the only meet he had butterflies in his stomach for was the region championship. Before the race he told his boys “run fast.” After the race was over, his team had won the 8-AA region championship. The Eagles went on to finish sixth at the state meet.
For his efforts, Myers is The Times Cross Country Coach of the Year.
“I’m (tremendously) humbled on the award. I had no idea that we’d be that high in the state. (The boys) wanted to run, and they could run,” Myers said. “My team has won for me. The boys are my trophies.”
Myers has been the head coach of the cross country team for the past four seasons, and at the school seven years. Before then he coached in public schools in Kentucky, and said he didn’t have near the runners there that he does at Riverside. He said the quick turnaround of student’s sometimes hurts with a lot of people transferring out, but by the same token he’s benefited from new runners who transferred in.
Myers gave credit to the hard work his team put in throughout the season. He said it gave them the ability to win the region championship and finish sixth in state.
He also didn’t want his team to fall victim to complacency during the season. So, in order to counteract a runner’s comfort zone, he would pose his team this question as a whole, “Effort? Or, Cadillac-ing through (the season)?” He made his runners think about their work.
“I started thinking (after a triangle meet early in the season at Riverside) ‘guys, we got a shot (at winning region).’ As the season progressed, we kept getting ranked higher and higher,” he said.
Then he told them, “but we’re going to have to work, and if we want to be the champions, we’re going to have to take it because no one’s going to give it to us.”
They proceeded to place four runners inside the top-10 at the region race. Myers also gave his team a lot of credit for pushing and challenging each other to get better, and also, their perseverance helped build the team, he said.
“Coach Myers has been a great influence. (Coach Myers) said ‘Focus on the immediate race coming ahead. Not state, not region. You need to train hard. You’re not going to win region if you don’t train hard. You’re not going to make state if you don’t train hard,’” senior runner Taylor Calderon said. “Being here, I feel like Coach Myers really saw what potential we had, and pushed us to that potential. I thank him for pushing me throughout the season.
“On our hard days, we were always to the point of puking because workouts weren’t easy. At the time I was like ‘I hate this.’ He really showed me what hard work is all about and how determination is really going to help you succeed. If it weren’t for him, we might not have won.”