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Lincoln of Portland Summer Practice

Lincoln met at an evening practice near their high school. The school is in the process of being remodeled and is a few days away from the team being able to meet inside the school. Lincoln is located in downtown Portland and is close to the expansive Washington Park. The athletes warmed up to the park and ran repeat hilly loops. Athletes ran between two to six loops and recorded their times with Coach Eric Dettman. Coach Dettman shared information about the team.

How often do you practice in the summer time?

We meet three times in the summer. Monday and Thursday afternoons and then Saturday mornings.

Does Lincoln go to a team camp?

We do. A couple of weeks ago we went out to the coast at Tillamook where the Ultimook Running Camp is held. We actually invite other teams so this year we were with Cleveland High School, Wells High School and Clackamas High School.

What is the secret to Lincoln's success?

We are just lucky that we have kids who are super bought into the program. Our big kind of motto is 'Love Your Teammates.' Our kids are really great about that and they recognize that they are part of something that is bigger than them, they race for that. It is not just simply going out to run, but we are racing for a better cause. They really bought into that. There is no secret sauce with workouts or any that kind of stuff, but a belief in one self that is fostered within a group.

How does Lincoln create their team culture?

That is something we put in a lot of time and effort into. Every year we take a look at each group and starting with the seniors and think, 'What is this group need to be successful?' We try to empower those kids to pass it on to the next group and the next group. We have gotten to the point where we have senior boys this year who reached out and said, 'Hey I remember when XYZ kid mentored me as a freshman and I want to do that for someone else. Who can I do that for?' It is sort of just compounded upon itself and kids just buy into that notion of being there for one another and loving their teammates. It is a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun and it is really cool to see how each group seems to figure it out on their own.

We do a good job of trying to honor every kid so when mister whatever is a 29 minute 5K runner and they run 27 minutes. I will announce it after a meet and the kids will go nuts for that person and generally very happy. So there are things like that. From a team camp perspective, some teams will take their top seven or eight or whatever that number might be. I never understand that because, one, how do we know our top eight will be in November when we are deciding it in July or August? Secondly, I want number forty to hang out with number one and want those two to be best friends. I want number forty to look at the number one runner and think, 'I want to be number one.' Not necessarily as good as number one. They may not run as fast as an Aiden Smith or a Mateo Althouse, but to have that work ethic and to want to try and to care and do those little things. I want that person to emulate that. We talk about that at team camp.

We do a lot of fun team dinners and bringing people together. There is team tie dye and there is a lot of different activities that are athlete led which is super exciting. If it just comes from the coach every single time, it sometimes loses some of its value. When our athletes are saying, 'Hey we are all going to the pumpkin patch at this day and time, be there.' If you have 120 kids on your cross country team and 118 of them are showing up at that event, that's when you know you have something going. We are really lucky in that regard.

We had an athlete share a quote that is really powerful, 'The key in to believing in yourself is believing in the team. The key in believing in the team is believing in yourself.' This kid who had been a four year runner for us and 22 minute 5K kid, never varsity, loved the program with all of his heart.

Check out the photo gallery of Lincoln's practice HERE

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