Max Weiser has been waiting for this moment for nearly one full year, and now it’s here.
Weiser will take over the cross country program at Saxony Lutheran High School, replacing Larry Cleair, who retired following the school year. Weiser spent time as an assistant under Cleair last fall as the defacto “coach in waiting”in preparation of the new role.
“It’s going to be a little different,” Weiser said of taking over head coaching responsibilities, “I had been a track coach at Oran before, but never really thought about being the cross country coach, so it will take a little bit of getting used to in that respect. But I’m definitely excited to get started, it’s a new excitement really.”
But Weiser is not a stranger to the sport by any means. Weiser competed in cross country in high school at Saxony and then spent time as a runner at Southeast Missouri University.
The team began a running program in June and Weiser said that there has been about seven or eight runners show up at each session.
“We lost a lot on the boys side especially,” Weiser said. “But there has been a number of freshman coming to fill the roster and, I’m excited to see what they can do moving forward this summer and into the fall.”
Weiser has been focusing a majority of the time during the running sessions on speed work, getting faster in shorter distances.
“The kids do a lot of the longer distance runs on their own,” Weiser said. “So my focus has been getting them used to good, faster starts and then that should translate into better times during the season. A lot of the runners in the area can run a race in 25 minutes or faster, so we want to get our runners out of the middle of the pack earlier and distance ourselves better to set us up for the ends of races.”
Weiser has a comfort level already with the team that he believes was forged through being an assistant last season, helping him already build a relationship with the runners .
“I already know what each runner and what their strength and weaknesses are and what to expect from them and what they can expect from me in terms of coaching.”
Weiser also has a leg up learning from Cleair all of last season and if there was one lesson he learned from Cleair is was patience.
“Not everyone will be three minutes faster after the first practice,” Weiser said. “So I want to make sure that I don’t push them too hard in practice where the kids get burned out before we even have our first meet or are halfway through the season.”
That lesson feeds right into what Weiser wants to accomplish this year.
“We just want to build off that success from last season,” Weiser said.
“But it won’t be in one big jump, so we will continue to make small progression each day to make sure that we are at our best at the end of the season.”
Even though Weiser is confident that he can step in and do a fine job as head coach, there is still a little bit of apprehension and nervousness for the newly-minted head coach.
“Summer practice is a little different than in season,” Weiser said.
“But I’m excited to get going here and have some ideas about what I can do to continue Saxony cross country.”