Coach Handshoe Needs YOU!

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Caleb Pearce-Huffman, Reporter

Out of curiosity and interest, I sent an email to the coach of Sahuaro High’s cross country team, Kevin Handshoe. In this email, I asked him about his terrific team: when are their upcoming meets, how he’s structured training, how he’s kept in touch with his players. I asked how he’s been, when his team can run together again, and for new students: methods to join his squad. Fortunately, he generously answered me plentifully, leaving me feeling very fulfilled. Here’s our conversation through email.

For starters, how would a student sign up to join your team this year?  He responded punctually with, “To start, if anyone is interested in XC they can email me (see below for email) with interest or even ask one our awesome athletes about the program. I usually respond within a couple hours as do most of the athletes. We can give them all of the information on where to look and how to go about the process of filling out the necessary paperwork.”

How is training structured?  He said, “Training is all individual based at the start. I really like to focus on several things in the pre-season so my athletes are properly taken care of. I first need to know what is the athlete’s sport knowledge of XC and how many years have they done the sport. This really helps narrow down what their body and mind are ready for. I, for instance, cannot have a Freshman who is new to XC be expected to run as fast or as long as my Seniors who have experience. It all comes down to their developmental age. I’ve been running for about 16 years and using my knowledge and experiences from Middle School, High School, College, and Post-College I can and have effectively steered my team to be successful and also minimize athlete injury.”

When I asked when his team will be able to run together again, he replied, “We are currently in the process of getting everyone back on campus and running. There are specific rules we must follow due to Covid-19 so we are being careful to reintroduce everyone safely.”

I admit to missing my cross country days  in middle school, so I wondered when meets will begin. He let me know, “Well that depends on how many athletes we will have on our teams. We need to have at least five on each side (Boys/Girls) to be able to participate in meets. Once the athletes are heat acclimated and have a decent base for mileage, we should be able to start meets by mid-October if things stay the course.”

Out of courtesy, and curiosity of course, I asked Coach Handshoe how he’s been. He answered me with, “Currently I’ve been doing pretty well. Even though I haven’t seen the team yet, I have been running on my own every day after work and keeping myself busy with projects around my house. Also recently getting a dog has helped get me out of the house more and get additional exercise with either walks or even jogging with the dog.”

I concluded by questioning how he’s kept in touch with his beloved team. He responded, “We have a GroupMe which is a chatting app that we use to stay in touch. Most of my athletes have smart phones and can use this app to know what’s going on with the team. I also use this to share documents with the team. These documents usually are training sheets for the athletes or are used for important information either from the school or deciding where we practice during the summer or on the weekends.”

Coach Handshoe is clearly eager to resume coaching his team. To conclude his email response, he made sure I share his email which is [email protected]  I suggest, if you plan on emailing him to join, that you also fill out a form for the school here. For any inspired students, go for it! You’ve got this year in the bag.