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FEATURED PROGRAM: Upper St. Clair High School, Upper St. Clair, PA

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

It's time to give credit where credit it due.


Each week, Coaching Distance will shine the spotlight on an exceptional high school distance program. This week's featured team is the Upper St. Clair High School Panthers from Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania.


UPPER ST. CLAIR HS

PENNSYLVANIA AAA


THE COACH

DOUG PETRICK

  • Boys & Girls Head Cross Country Coach

  • Boys & Girls Indoor Track & Field Coach

  • Boys & Girls Outdoor Track & Field Distance Coach




















ABOUT COACH PETRICK

Coach Patrick has coached at Upper St. Clair HS for 16 seasons with the Indoor & Outdoor Track and Field program and 14 years as the Cross Country coach.


Before coaching at Upper St. Clair, Petrick was a teacher at the high school.


On his previous experience, Coach Petrick wrote:

"...I would say that teaching is coaching and vice-versa. Working in academics definitely has helped create skills needed to teach athletics. Working with student-athletes is helping progress individuals and groups towards independence and learning, and hopefully setting up a structure and culture for everyone to enjoy the experience and succeed- however you may define it."


When asked what he enjoyed most about coaching, Petrick credited those around him, particularly his staff.

"I feel very fortunate to work with an amazing staff- Coach Chermak during Fall XC season; Coach Cosgrove and Coach Wagner during the Indoor TF season; Coach Cosgrove, Coach Wagner, Coach Malinowsky, Coach Rodgers, and Coach Yarosh during the Spring TF season.


Working with and learning- from both athletes and coaches- and being a part of the progression of the program are just a few of the reasons that I coach. The personal interactions and connections I've made through coaching keep me inspired and motivated."


THE PROGRAM

BACKGROUND


Upper St. Clair competes in Pennsylvania's Class AAA.


Coach Petrick wrote:

"We're very proud of our XC and TF Programs at Upper St. Clair High School. Each season, there is always a new dynamic with the mix of personalities and strengths of the athletes on our team. It's always fun to see how that unique blend shapes the goals for the individuals and the team.


Each season, the athletes have continued to raise the bar for the expectations, in a positive way, that helps keep everyone motivated. We've been lucky to have athletes- as catalysts- that have sped up this process along the way.


As coaches, it's very inspiring to see student-athletes grow as people, gain confidence in all facets of their lives, and become move invested in the program from day to day, season to season, and year to year."


CROSS COUNTRY

2021 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Both the Boys & Girls Programs finished in the top 6 teams for our District Championship for the AAA Classification.

  • Both Girls and Boys Team won the Mingo Classic XC Invite.

  • We also had one athlete- Jaclyn Martinelli- compete in the Foot Locker North East Regionals in historic Van Cortland Park.

2021 INDOOR T&F HIGHLIGHTS

  • We have two individuals qualify for the Indoor State (PTFCA) Championship

  • Dani Prunzik in the 60m and 200m

  • Jaclyn Martinelli in the 3000m run.

  • District (TSCTA) Championships Indoor Track & Field Medalists

  • 60m (2nd) and 200m (1st) by Dani Prunzik

  • 3000m by Jaclyn Martinelli (3rd) and Lydia Rhodes (6th).

  • Girls 4x800m (5th) (Molly Maher, Mia Skeel, Lydia Rhodes, Meredith Rhodes)

  • Girls Distance Medley Relay (3rd) (Molly Maher, Mia Skeel, Dani Prunzik, and Jaclyn Martinelli)

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: DANI PRUNZIK, MOLLY MAHER, MIA SKEEL, JACLYN MARTINELLI


THE WORKOUTS

CROSS COUNTRY TRAINING

Petrick: Here's a typical XC Week that Coach Chermak and I would structure towards the start of the fall season:


MONDAY

Easy road run (25-50minutes) with 5x10-20sec pickups.


TUESDAY

A day where we begin with speed development and then a workout that is more by feel- Threshold Run, Progression Run, or Fartlek by minutes. We wrap up with some strides on the track.


WEDNESDAY

Easy decompression run (25-50minutes) of campus loops where all ability levels have a chance to bond. We also are big advocates of Phil Wharton's AIF/AIS work so we do rope stretching as a group on Weds.


THURSDAY

Another workout that is more race-specific. Similar to Tues we begin with some speed development and if its the start of the season, we will do some sort of blend work. Oscillating between 5k race pace and mile race pace, with lots of walking and easy jogging in between each rep. The 5k race pace rep lengths get shorter as the workout goes on, and the mile race pace rep lengths get longer as the workout goes on. Then we wrap up with some strides on the track.


FRIDAY

Long run based upon minutes and with the group in packs based on a variety of factors- age, experience, injury history, etc. But the long run is the same out and back loop that can range from 30min to 90min based upon the date, experience, and progression of each group.


SATURDAY

Another decompression run (25-50min) typically on our home course or on trails at the township rec center.


TRACK & FIELD TRAINING

Petrick: Here's a typical Track & Field Week that we would structure. For track & field I train the distance runners after the first month of the season. It's a similar routine from XC, except for Tuesday and Thursday.


MONDAY

Easy road run (25-50minutes) with 5x10-20sec pickups.


TUESDAY

A day where we begin with speed development and then a workout that is chunked

  • Part1: Short Blend switching between 5k race pace and mile race pace

  • Part 2: Short Fartlek by Time

  • Part 3: Progressive Laps or Figure 8's on the turf starting easy pace and reaching 2mile race pace.

  • We wrap up with some strides on the track.

WEDNESDAY

Easy decompression run (25-50minutes) of campus loops where all ability levels have a chance to bond. And of courese, more rope stretching AIF/AIS work per Phil Wharton's routines.


THURSDAY

Another workout that is more race-specific based on what is the focus for that athlete currently- 800m, 1600m, or 3200m.

Similar to Tues we begin with some speed development.

  • 800m may do 3 sets of 3x150m @ 800m race pace

  • 1600m may do 3 sets of 3x200m @ mile race pace

  • 3200m may do 1 set of 3x300m @ 3200m race pace + 1 set of 2x300m @ slightly faster than race pace + 1 set of 3x300m @ 3200m race pace.

  • Depending on the athlete, we have walking, jogging, and floating into race pace. Also a "mental/physical" reset after each set that will involve walking, jogging, skipping and connecting with their teammates. Then we wrap up with some strides on the track.

FRIDAY

Long run based upon minutes and with the group in packs based on a variety of factors- age, experience, injury history, etc.


The long run is the same out and back loop that can range from 30min to 90min based upon the date, experience, and progression of each group.


SATURDAY

Another decompression run (25-50min) typically on the roads around our school.

If we have an invite on Saturday, then we may choose to dial back the Friday run by minutes/intensity based upon the athlete/time of the season/ and goals for the week.


FAVORITE WORKOUTS

Coach Petrick provided a detailed example of a multi-pace workout scheme he has been using with his athletes this winter.


Petrick: Currently, we really enjoyed doing this one on the week leading up to our Indoor Track & Field District Championships- it's short and sweet, but helps athletes focus on race pace feel and also changing gears as needed for racing situations.


Our Indoor Track & Field District Championships went well for athletes, so right now I'd call this a fave. We are a big fan of multi-part workouts....


SPECIFIC RACE PREP-

  • MiniBands & LM & LS + 2 easy laps

  • Speed Development 3x150m accels + 3x 30m max outs + 3x100m strides @ mile race pace

  • Part 1: RACE PACE pick one of the options as a specialist. Key is walking/jogging in between reps.

    • Option #1- 800m SPECIALIST 2 sets of: 3x150m @ 800m race pace.

      • Each 150m rep is performed as= easy 100m walk, 150m jog, then into 150m @ 800m Race Pace.

      • walk/walk + jog/jog + skip/skip after each set

      • set #1 is at race pace

      • set #2 is at slightly faster than race pace

    • Option #2- Mile SPECIALIST 2 sets of: 3x200m @ Mile race pace.

      • Each 200m rep is performed as= easy 100m walk, 100m jog, then into 200m @ Mile Race Pace.

      • walk/walk + jog/jog + skip/skip after each set

      • set #1 is race pace

      • set #2 is at race pace

      • set #3 is at slightly faster than race pace

    • Option #3- 3k SPECIALIST 2 sets:

      • Set 1 is 3x300m @ 3k race pace (third rep is slightly faster than 3k race pace)

      • Set 2 is 2x300m @ 3k race pace.

      • Each 300m rep is performed as= easy 50m walk, 50m jog, then into 300m @ 3k Race Pace.

      • walk/walk + jog/jog + skip/skip after each set

  • Part 2: Jog Easy/Relaxed 2 Big Loops IF NEEDED- but OK to skip this ***/walk + jog/jog + skip/skip

  • Part 3: PROGRESSIVE LOOPS 2-6 Small Ones (if doing 400m loops, then do 4 max, if doing Figure 8 loops on turf, then do 6 max...can also mix & match)

    • A) 1st Easy

    • B) 2nd Steady

    • C) 3rd Threshold Pace

    • D) 4th 5k race pace

    • E) 5th 3k Race Pace

    • F) 6th mile race pace

    • 3x 120m stride @ 800m race pace

    • 2 easy laps

    • Hurdle mobility drills

    • Pedestals 4 ways with 40sec

    • Myrtle

 


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