This month, Trinity Preparatory School wanted to highlight an amazing Coach who has made a significant impact on the lives of our Trinity Prep students. Sara Dowdy had a moment to sit with us and remark on her history and achievement with TPS.
1. How long have you been a coach?
I have been a coach for 23 years, all of those years at Trinity
2. Name all of the sports you have been a coach for.
I have coached both JV and Varsity boys and girls cross country as an assistant and head coach, and I have also coached middle school and varsity track as an assistant coach.
3. What classes do you also currently teach?
I teach 8th-grade science.
4. What inspired you to become a coach?
I was inspired by my high school coach. He was respected and admired by the entire team. He told us before every race, "Run as hard as you can, and when you don't feel like you can run anymore, let your heart take you the rest of the way." He died of cancer during my freshman year of college, but his legacy and passion for coaching still shine. Many of his former runners are coaches today.
5. Can you describe what a typical practice looks like for your team?
We have two "typical practices" a week - an easy day and a quality day. Easy days are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and are at 3:30 p.m. after school - we start with team drills, and then the team runs anywhere from three to eight miles together and ends with strides or sprints across the football field to work on finishing speed. Quality days are Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 a.m. We start with team drills and then go on a 10-15 minute warm-up run. Following that, we do repeats. On Tuesdays, we focus on goal pace. We run in the neighborhood next to campus, and their distances range from 800m to 2000m. On Thursdays, we run on the track and focus on speed. Lengths range from 200m to 400m. We always end practice with a 10-15 minute cool-down run. In the afternoon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the team does strength training in the weight room.
6. What are your core values as a coach?
Teamwork. Cross country can get lonely and it may feel like you are running as an individual, but you're not. Cross country is a team sport. They are learning that when they step on that start line, they are running for everyone else on that team. Every place counts. They can't get tired and give up - their teammates need them to finish the race. When a runner finishes a race, they know to go back on the course to cheer on their teammates as they finish. They do that at every practice too. I want to develop young adults who think of others, encourage others, have heart, have a love of running, and have a desire and drive to always do their best. I know I have done my job when I hear from my former runners. I love it when they reach out to me to let me know they finished their first half marathon or marathon and can't wait to tell me about it.
7. How do you view the relationship between academics and athletics?
I think both are incredibly important aspects of life, and students can excel and be successful at both - it's not one or the other. The discipline required to be a good athlete is the same discipline one needs to be a good student.
8. How do you feel about this year's teams?
This year's teams are both looking very good. The boys’ goal is to work together and have a smaller time gap between runner #1 and runner #5. The first meet was around two minutes, and this last meet it was around 1:30 - we need it to be around one minute. The girls have a front runner - Morgan - her goal is always to finish in the top three. The team goal is to work together to have runners #2-#7 all within one minute of each other. At the first meet there was a four-minute gap, but this last meet there was only a two-minute gap. Both boys and girls are working hard together to decrease that time gap. I have no doubt that they will get it by the district meet on 10/19. The goal for the season for both teams is of course to advance to the state meet on November 5. I am excited to see how the rest of the season plays out.