Charades with a twist: guess the clue correctly and dash 400 meters across a resort to get the next clue. Try not to knock over any small children or Disney memorabilia.
After one year of coaching at Maret School, Jason Gordon's first order of business for the following season was to arrange a spring break trip to Disney World. The objective was twofold: 1. make sure the team practiced over spring break, and 2. build team camaraderie and togetherness.
It was a quick turnaround for a team that two years ago resembled a club team with not more than twelve kids. Upon Gordon's arrival, he immediately began fostering a sense of team unity while pushing the athletes towards the skill events: the hurdles, jumps, and throws.
The team that usually finished last in the MAC every year dug its way out of the basement to finish fifth out of six teams. The juniors on the Maret team began to see how much promise they had for the 2010 season.
The 2010 season was geared towards the MAC Championship Meet from the start. First it was fun in the sun and team-building exercises in Disney World. Then it was diving in with high-level competition at the Woodward Relays and Draper Invitational where they were able to witness elite level high school performances while competing with those in their league. Encouraged by how they stacked up against the other MAC teams at Draper, they began to truly believe that they would win the conference title.
Gordon's final address to the team before the big meet was on mental toughness. Every athlete who was expected to score points for the team was being asked to do a lot. Mostly all were entered in three or more events. He stressed the importance of the mental aspect of the championship meet, and explained that everyone would have a decision to make when pain set in. He told the story about how Joe Frazier was prepared to die in the ring on the night of the Ali-Frazier fight, and while he didn't want anyone to die, the message was clear. The athletes acknowledged they understood.
It started off with Ryan Simpson's win in the discus. Things continued to get better. Everyone who was expected to qualify for a final did exactly that.
On the second day, the duo of Isaac Sorenson and Garrett Brown swept the top two places in the 110-meter hurdles and the 300-meter hurdles.
If Frazier was prepared to die in the ring, Brown was prepared to at least eat a little dirt on the track as he dove to a painful second place finish in the 400-meter dash.
David Sneeringer experienced the pain that his coach spoke of as he pulled in as many points as anyone could ask for in the distance events. He placed second in the 1600 and 800 in strategic races where he let Sidwell Friends' John McGowan run out front while he outkicked everyone else in the pack. He also finished fourth in 3200 in his third event of the day before turning around and anchoring the 4x400 minutes later.
Walter Simmons took second place in the 100-meter dash, fifth in the 200-meter dash, and completed an unexpected 1-2-3 sweep of the shot put as Ryan Simpson won, Edmund Opong-Wadee placed second, and Simmons placed third.
At the end of the day, Maret had won four individual titles and posted 128 points on the scoreboard. The little school with 600 students in grades K-12 and no track to call its own won its first MAC track and field title ever.