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Summit's Summer Practice

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

We are attending summer practices and although it is still summer, Oregon has started their official fall season last Monday. Summit is located in the Central Oregon city of Bend, Or. Summit has been a cross country powerhouse in Oregon which included the girls winning NXN in 2018 (second in 2019). Summit met a local park and ran the 4K course to prepare for an upcoming time trial. We spoke with Coach Kari Strang about the Summit program.

Coach Strang addresses the team

How often does Summit practice in the summer?

We were having two practices a week with coaches and one long run day which coaches did not attend.

Did Summit go to a camp this summer?

We actually have our team camp this coming weekend. We are going to Scout Lake. It is just past Sisters, Or by Suttle Lake. It has been a Summit tradition for a while, except for the Covid years. It is open to the whole team and I think we have 45 to 50 athletes going to camp this year. Until school starts, a lot of families have other commitments. We have runners of all abilities and ages going to camp.

What is the secret to Summit’s success?

I don’t know if there is any secret or magic answer. I think we try very hard to create a strong culture where people care for each other at all levels. Not just our top runners getting all of the attention, but really trying to foster that sense of connection all the way through. I think we are fortunate in Bend that we have people that are athletically minded and like to get outdoors. Their families reinforce that lifestyle. We have beautiful places to run which helps especially in the summer. Kids have great opportunities in that regard.

We have our challenges too and sometimes Summit gets the rap of having it so easy, but it is certainly not the case. The kids work extremely hard and put in the big things, but are trying to understand the importance of nutrition, sleep, hydration and the foam rolling.

We strive to keep it balanced for them and make sure that running is a big part of their life, but it is not their sole life. We are making sure they are continuing to have time and the freedom to do other things. We have several athletes who are multi-sport athletes and are really big into speech and debate and aquatics. We are trying to make sure they are well rounded and supported human beings. When they are here, they are present and feel a part of something special, but it is not something that is all consuming.

How is the team culture built at Summit?

I think it some of it is history and commitment. I think it is surrounding yourself with great people. We have really dedicated coaches that care a lot and willing to give a lot of their time. We try to reinforce just being great people. Having kids that are really great, kind and compassionate people that also want the best for one another. That shines through. We are trying to keep it real and keep it fun. We are not trying make it overly serious or overly demanding while still helping develop people to their full athletic potential. We recognize the full human is more important than that.

Check out the photo gallery of Summit’s practice HERE

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