In this video, we are featuring the Newton South girls' distance team. On Jan. 15, the Lions braved the elements - it was 15 degrees with a wind-chill factor in single digits - and mustered up a quality workout on the track three days after a solid night at the Division 1 State Relays where the Lions won the distance medley and were third in the 4x800-meter relays. How have the Tigers done since that workout six weeks ago? For starters, Newton South wrapped up the Dual County League posting an undefeated 5-0 mark during the dual-meet season and finishing second overall at the league championships. This past weekend, the Tigers finished fourth among 26 teams at the Division 1 State Championships. On Saturday, two of the runners from their distance core - Caroline Barry (two mile) and Lucy Jenks (mile) - are among a list of potential contenders for individual titles.
How about the workout?
The workout included opening with 1,000 meters at Lydiard, followed by 700 meters at goal two-mile pace, 700m at goal 5K for the first 200m and goal mile for the remaining 500m with a three-minute rest in between each interval. The workout then shifted indoors due to the extreme weather conditions. It featured 450m at goal mile with a three-minute rest, followed by 3x150m at goal 400m with a 90-second rest in between.
But before clicking on the video above, read a little bit about the Newton South programs and its fearless leader, head coach Steve McChesney.
For 34 years and counting, McChesney has coached high school track and field. He spent six years in Oregon and the remaining 28 years at Newton South where he's coached the boys (21 years) and girls (28 years) in all three seasons - cross country, indoor and outdoor track. During his long career coaching prep school athletes, McChesney has endured his share of success. He has produced 59 All-Americans in track & field and his girls' team currently own the New England indoor 4x800m (8:58.63) and 4xMile (20:25.90) records and the DMR (11:44.77) and 4xMile (20:23.2) outdoor marks. Some of the highlights on the cross-country trails include a sixth-place finish at the 2008 Nike Cross Nationals and the distinction of being fastest team ever at Franklin Park where he once had five of his girls break 19 minutes for the challenging 5K distance in the same year. In his nearly four-decade tenure, he was nominated three times as the Boston Globe Coach of the Year, twice as the MSTCA Coach of the Year and numerous other coaching accolades. In all, his teams have compiled a combined 1,021 wins and have won or placed second at the All State Meet 14 times in MA. Factor in his seven-year stint in Oregon, and that total jumps to 19.
Now a little bit about McChesney as an athlete. There's a reason he knows a thing or two about running. During his heyday, growing up in Oregon, he was a pretty darn good runner himself. He was part of a family of national-caliber runners that included his parents and three other brothers. His brother Bill was once a national college record-holder for 5K. In fact, the day that he set his mark his father broke the world-age-group mark for the mile in the same meet. As a high-schooler, the current Newton South coach had PRs of 4:15 for the mile, 9:04 for two miles, 14:41 for 5K and 30:50 for 10k on the track. He was the Northwest Two-Mile Champion. The now defunct meet included teams from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Canada. He was also part of a HS squad that once held the national 4xMile record. McChesney would join his brothers at the famed University of Oregon under the direction of legendary coach Bill Bowerman. While there he was a Pac-8 and NCAA qualifier. One of the highlights, he states, was finishing 1-2-3 (see photo below) along with Alberto Salazar and his brother Bill against UCLA in the 5K to clinch the Track and Field News Best Dual Meet team title. McChesney also ran professionally for six years and owns bests of 3:41 for 1,500m and 1:05 for the half marathon.