Oak Ridge Cross Country Off and Running

The 2012 Oak Ridge High School varsity Cross Country team

The Oak Ridge Cross Country team is off and running and they’re producing excellent results. Coach Dennis Muehlstein has been coaching at Oak Ridge high school for a while now and we do believe his ship has come in. Guess what!  It’s chock full of talented runners that have bought into Muehlstein’s expert tutelage, and it is all systems go from here on out.

Oh, you say you don’t believe it? Here’s proof you nay-saying, settling for mediocrity, never raising the bar couch potatoes!

Friday Night Lights – August 31: 9th in Elite race and just 40 points from 4th place. Muehlstein’s #1 runner now was his #4 for this meet so the improvement is showing in a very short time. The Frosh team was 2nd in their division.

Lamar – September 7: Oak Ridge swept all divisions (V, JV, Frosh).

Oak Ridge Invitational – September 15: Varsity D-1 came in 2nd place, Varsity D-2 (top JV guys running against seniors) took 2nd place, and the Frosh finished in 2nd place

Willis Invitational – September 20: Varsity came in 2nd place seven points behind Katy-Seven Lakes, who are projected to be one of the better teams in the state. The JV won their division.

Cy Woods Invitational – September 29: Varsity was 5th out of 29 schools and the Frosh were 2nd.

This week, the team will be running in the Nike South Invitational at the Bear Branch Soccer Fields.

We’ve known Coach Muehlstein for many years, including when he was an assistant cross country coach at The Woodlands High School with the great Dan Green. We have seen his demeanor after several state championships – the man has never been this excited. “This is the best team I’ve had since I’ve been here. I have a great group of seniors and some amazing young guys”. he said, “As good as this team is, and as much as I love this group of seniors, we are going to be even better the next few years.”

The top varsity runners, Senior Justin Barrett, Junior Zack LaDoe, and Sophomore Luis Alvarez. are very tight time-wise.  As far as the rest of the varsity, at the Willis Invitational there was only 38 seconds separating the top 7 Oak Ridge runners. Over a 5K course, Coach Muehlstein says, “That is huge.”

As for the JV, the # 1 guy depends on who the odd man out is from the varsity that week. The War Eagles have had nine guys run on the varsity this year. The current top JV runners are Brandon Bush and Matt Wagner.

The Frosh team has three flat out studs! Daniel Solis has run on Varsity two of the five meets so far. Gustavo Sanchez and Juan Alvarez (younger brother of Luis, who is a sophomore on Varsity) would make for a powerful trio anywhere.

Assisting Muehlstein with all levels of the program is Oak Ridge Algebra 1/Algebra Honors math guru, Brandon Winter. This is not a paid gig for Winter, however, as he volunteered for the job. Cross Country does not have the luxury of employing more than one paid coach because the sport only requires a certain number of athletes. If you ever see Winter around campus when he isn’t arithmetically distracted, thank the man for being so giving of his time.

Muehlstein can’t say enough about his assistant, “Coach Winter does one heck of a job and in doing so makes my life a lot easier. The kids love him and he seems to be enjoying himself.”

Muehlstein is also overjoyed with the prospects of his spring track and field team. The 2012 team had over 215 athletes and yet Muehlstein only had three assistant coaches.

Muehlstein wouldn’t say if other schools are suffering from a lack of coaches in track and field so we took it upon ourselves. From several sources OUTSIDE of Oak Ridge high school, we found how many assistant coaches some other schools in the district have and checked out the participation numbers. One school has right around 200 athletes in track and field and employ FIVE assistant coaches. Count em… 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5!

We’ll worry about that when track and field comes around. For now, let’s enjoy the resurgent Oak Ridge War Eagle Cross Country team. This team seems to be taking the ol’ Cross Country philosophy seriously: “The faster you run… the faster you’re done!”

Count on the cross country team to be raising eyebrows now and on into the future!

See you at The Nike!!!

Comments to Doug Sarant at doug@oakridgenow.com

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Doug Sarant, Oak Ridge Now

Born and raised in New England, Doug promises he got to Texas as fast as he could. He earned the much needed "piece of paper" from Sam Houston State, proving to himself he could start and finish something. Doug's interests include coaching and playing any sport and still plays lacrosse competitively. He also enjoys going to dinner theaters, though he complains there just aren't enough of them in the area. Doug was brought up in a cultured environment, having suffered through dozens of symphonies and operas with his way too over-educated mother. At the end of the day, Doug is just a dad and husband and claims to be good at both.

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