We arrived at Caldera High School on the first official day of the season. Caldera High School is located in the outdoor sport capital of Oregon - Bend. The school opened in 2021 and will be starting their third cross country season in their school history.
Today's practice plan was to run a 30 to 50 minute run and end the practice with strides and exercises. Charlotte Richardson is the head coach and she greeted the athletes by telling them that she is starting her 52nd year of coaching. She had her coaches introduce themselves and share one goal for the day. Afterwards, each athlete introduced themselves and explained one goal for the day's practices.
Coach Richardson is also a pioneer in women's distance running and raced the 1500 at the 1976 Olympic Trials.
Coach Richardson explained their summer program and the Caldera program:
During the summer season, how often did the team practice?
We started in early July twice a week, and then in August three times per week. The families in Bend are, for the most part, extremely active...hiking, climbing, biking, paddle boarding and on and on. Most of the kids come into the season with a good basic fitness! I love it! On the flip side they are often super busy during the summer and so it is hard to get the entire team together all at the same time! So they are in and out of town on so many different adventures!
What were some special activities the team did during the summer? We did a workout at Pilot Butte and had popsicles afterwards. We had a bagel breakfast after a long run but really we will start our team building and planning mid August when everyone is finally done with all their summer fun! I have had a core group of kids who have come all summer, and I am particularly excited for them! The season is going to be super fun and competitive! Next week we are holding a CHS XC Team Campout at Cold Springs Campground near the McKenzie Pass in Sisters. We have runs, talks, goal setting and games planned, and it will be a really great couple of days!
Since the school is new, how is Caldera building a team culture? It has been amazing! The whole Caldera HS Community is about inclusion and working together so it really fits into what we are trying to do with the XC Team! This is my 52 year of coaching, but I am astounded at what a challenge it is to create and grow a team from scratch! I have learned so much. Things I took for granted...an established structure and team culture, have had to be built. And in the beginning, two years ago, we had only freshmen and sophomores and no upperclassmen. Young students/runners had to quickly learn how to be good leaders! It was a steep learning curve, but they did it! And the runners and families have been very generous and gracious with their time and support! The kids have embraced the idea of being the "first" members of the cross country team! They want to make it really special for those who come after them. I am so grateful for this opportunity at this stage of my life. To work at a brand new school and help forge the future of Caldera's Cross Country and T&F Teams has been life changing for me.
What are some things the team is looking forward to in the fall season?
Racing! After training and not racing in the summer, they are excited to see where they are fitness wise. As a coach, seeing them race gives me more data to plan workouts for the future. We try to instill in them that each race is an opportunity and an adventure. We talk so much about setting goals and having a race plan, but we all know that each race brings surprises and challenges. So they make race plans, but also know they need to be flexible! Just have fun and do their best!
I know they are looking forward to getting to know each other in both an athletic and a social setting. For many kids, cross country teammates become the strongest bond they have in high school and often beyond. They love being together (and even tell me they love the bus rides!).
I think they are looking forward to heading to Eugene and Portland to run at the bigger meets. As a program, we have grown a little more each year and are able to compete at a higher level each season. That is so exciting!
To see the photo gallery of Caldera's practice, click HERE