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The Second on the Wall

In 1990, I established name-painting on my classroom wall for those students who had accomplished big goals while attending high ! The first was Dylan Gale, who I mentioned in my original article about the wall years ago on Inspire21.com. I have since written down some other outstanding achievements by students who strove to have their names painted on my classroom wall. This idea continued until my retirement in 2005.

The second name to go on the wall in room 201 back in 1991 was Randy Wentzel. Randy was a junior -country runner at the time and had fallen on hard times after having a sensational freshman year running long distances. He had not come close to the same results as in his freshman year. Randy, at the time, was training at 5 miles a day, but he saw little improvement in his performance. One day after class, I informed Randy about an article I had recently read concerning the training routine of Pete La Fontane, an Olympic distance runner who ran 125 miles a week in high school. Randy was in disbelief. He said, “No way!” I presented the article to him, and after reading it, he calmed down! I suggested he do a portion of that training and judge the training by the results. “What do you have to lose?” I asked.

He was quiet for a moment and then asked how many miles he should run a day. I suggested 15, which was 3 times his training routine at the present! I also mentioned that I did not know too many cross-country runners in our conference who were training at that level. To this, he agreed. Randy started to work! It was track season when he started. He ran 5 miles a day during our Concepts of Fitness Class and added 10 more during track practice. He had to continue this pace over the summer to prepare for the upcoming cross-country season. He said he did this faithfully, every day of the summer!

Randy kept up the same pace into the next cross-country season. During his senior year, Randy, who was coached by Rich Adkinson, shattered every cross-country record at our school and won every race he entered by sizable margins. He turned out to be one of the best runners in our state and received a college scholarship where he also had a great cross-country career.

Some people see things as they are and ask WHY? We must of things that never were and ask Why Not!

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About Jack Bottinger

Jack Bottinger
Retired teacher and football coach

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