We asked Tahoma of Washington to share their summer season and how they built their success. Tahoma is in Maple Valley which is southeast of Seattle and is known for their strong boys and girls program. Parent Doug Dillon, who runs Tahoma's social media, shared photos and insight on the program.
How often does Tahoma practice in the summer?
We practice M-F. M, W, F are morning times where we do several kinds of workouts and stretching and T, Th are evenings with families invited to walk, run, bike along the trail which runs along the Cedar River. After our Tuesday and Thursday runs we all go icing in the river and then stretching. People bring towels. It's a lot of fun.
What was team camp like?
It was a blast! The kids get split up into teams with each team having an alumni as their counselor. Each alumni must be graduated by two years before coming back and participating. Most have college XC experience. This year we went to Bend, OR and floated tubes on the Deschutes River as well as white water rafting another day. We get to know our teammates. Typically we have about 60-65 runners sign up from a team of about 100. Of those that come it is a split between seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshman. That way everyone gets to know each other and the new incoming freshmen will have someone that they know on their first day of school.
We talk about nutrition, exercise, rest and being good teammates and good human beings. We have games that we play as teams against the other team and at the end of the week there is a team that wins the most points and is the camp champion. We goof off and have a lip-synching contest, play the game spoons, and have an all-around fun time mixed in with great workouts. We have a desert flag that gets passed on from senior class to senior class which is another fun tradition. We do cross country camps at different places depending on the year. We have really enjoyed Bend and Colorado and the opportunities that they provide for training and being together as a team.
How does Tahoma create a team culture?
Our motto for decades has been 'In everything you do, Make those around you better' that is instilled and talked about to every runner repeatedly throughout the year. Our coaches emphasize that. We are blessed to have four fantastic coaches!
What is the secret to Tahoma’s success?
As Nick Symmonds says in his Instagram and YouTube videos, the secret is...hard work, there are no cheat codes or short cuts. Holding each other accountable and having fun while doing it. Also having a great pair of running shoes is a must! We have dedicated coaches who spend a lot of time planning fun activities and a group of parents that support the program. It takes everyone working together to build a successful program.
During the season we have spaghetti dinners the night before every meet and we have a booster club that helps fundraise for our summer camp, and we do scholarships for every senior that is graduating if they apply. The scholarships range from $1000-$750 per student that applies. We put on a bear run in the summer for our community that raises a large chunk of money. We also do fundraisers during the year. All of this makes it open to anyone who wants to attend there are no financial stumbling blocks. We try to be inclusive to everyone that wants to join. Of course I am biased as I have had three kids benefit from this program. Even though I am not a coach and I do our social media I love the people that participate from the coaches to the parents to the kids. It has been a wonderful thing in our community.
I think many of the kids, whether they're state runners or not, benefit from the things they learn from this sport. Our Head Coach Jeff Brady has been doing it a long time! The two Head coaches before him were fantastic as well. Our program started back in the late 60s and early 70s with a math teacher who was fantastic that transitioned into Gary Connor who then brought Jeff along and then Gary retired and Jeff took over. Those three men laid groundwork that keeps the program on the solid footing. They have each made it about being a team, having fun, being a good person, and working hard.
Thank you Tahoma! If your team wants to share about their summer season and program, let us know!