Five Good Minutes With Buena Vista’s Andy Napier
What happened (or didn’t happen) last season, that drives you to improve this upcoming season?
The Men’s Team
- Men were 7th in 2012 Iowa Conference Championships and the Women finished 8th
The Men finished 7th and the Women finished 8th. We have eight teams in our conference. Winning is fun and thus worth trying to do. The next best thing is improving. We want to develop into a program that can compete to be in the top half of the conference in any given year and in the right years be competing to win.
Tell us about your returners and what they bring to the table?
For the men Alex Lamp has been our top performer for the last two years (8K PR 26:26). Ben Berberich was in our top 5 at the conference meet last year, he has really improved a lot. Tyler Peterson is another returning junior who was in our top five. We return four of our top five and six of the our top seven. Seth Woodson who ran 1:51 in the 800 last spring has a lot of potential to develop into a key cross country runner for us too.
On the women’s side Holly Nuetzman was BVU’s first girl to win a cross country meet in several years. Veronica King is another top five returner that should have an impact for us.
Tell us about the incoming class of freshmen. Will any of these youngsters be looked at for immediate contributions to the team’s success?
John Surber from St. James MN, a 4:32 1600 runner should be able to step right into the top five this fall. Steven Smith, Webster City High School is another freshmen who’s got potential to be in our top seven this fall.
Morgan James, a solid mid distance track athlete in high school will help us in cross country. Hannah Zimmerman, a junior college transfer (Iowa Western), should be in our top five. Courtney Muenchow and Mikayla Kobs have potential to be key pieces to the team too.
How do you approach recruiting? Is it Iowa kids first? Or do you look at the entire region? Give us some insight on how you recruit and why you do it that way.
I borrow a little of my recruiting philosophy from Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. I recall a number of years ago hearing him explain why he had so many athletes on his teams from Michigan whereas a lot of the other top programs in the nation where recruiting from all around the country. He said that success is better enjoyed when it is shared with those closest to us. So when the Spartans are making Final Four appearances and winning national titles that is something they can share in person with their family, friends, and loved ones. I don’t want to build a pipeline from far away if I can develop the potential and talent that is right here in our backyard.
I’ll take talent with a team first mindset from anywhere but I want to build up the talent of this state. I think there are a lot of very talented runners in the IIAC who only discover how talented they are when they get to college and start training and competing at this level. As a college coach in Iowa I see myself as personally having a vested interest in the general success and depth of the prep runners, the high school programs, and the general development of the sport in the state. The more we can get young runners in Iowa realizing there is no secret formula and that all you need to do is gradually outwork all those kids in the other states, the more great runners we will have the opportunity to bring into our program. I want Iowa runners because I want them to go back home and share with their high school teammates about what it takes to get better. I want Iowa runners so I can get to know there coaches and be a resource to them as they try and build the quality of their programs. I want Iowa runners because this is a great state, with great people, and great schools and there is no reason why we can’t succeed with home grown talent if its ready to commit, work, and sacrifice to see what they can be.
Where do you see your team finishing in the conference this year? The region? Nationally? And why?
I just took over the distance program here at the beginning of August. So this is year number one for me. I first want to give a lot of credit to the head track coach at BVU Jeff Brennan for elevating the numbers and quality of the program here over the last few years. We are not starting from scratch but we are still working on becoming a team that expects to be in the top half of the conference every year. I’m hopeful that we can move up one or two places on both the men and women’s side from our fall performances from last year. The bigger focus in year one with a new coach is really creating an infectious culture, one the people there love being a part of but also one that naturally attracts the kind of people that we are looking for, team-first-minded-competitors who are great students.