From Boerne to Rio — The Road to the Olympics

By Cheryl Van Tuyl Jividen

Cordillera Ranch resident Rose Monday is fully engaged in her role as the Women’s Distance Team USA Assistant Coach for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is her second time joining Team USA, as she served as the assistant coach for women’s distance for the U.S. Women’s Team at the Olympic Games in London in 2012.  

But the road to Rio started far earlier for Monday and three Olympic hopefuls. Maybe you’ve seen them doing hill training in the neighborhood or on the track doing speed endurance training at Champion High School under the guidance of Monday who is their personal coach — all 800 meter runners, Kendra Chambers from El Paso, Laura Roesler from Fargo, North Dakota, and Dana Mecke, a Spring Branch local who also runs the 1500. The three women will be competing in the Olympic Trials July 1-4 in Eugene, Oregon for one of the three coveted spots on the 2016 Olympic Team in Rio. As a testament to Monday’s coaching, only 32 800 meter runners from the US qualify for the Olympic Trials. Sponsored by Nike®, this is Roesler’s third Olympic Trials allowing her to do her training full-time. The other two women have jobs to support themselves.

Getting to the trials has been a long time coming says Monday, “We have been training in Boerne since 2011. Prior to training here, we trained in San Antonio at Reagan High School. Kendra, a graduate of UT, joined the group in September of 2014. I recruited Dana to UTSA from Smithson Valley High School in 2006. I continued to work with her every winter break. She fully joined the group in 2012. Laura, I coached in high school long distance in North Dakota. She graduated from Oregon in 2014 and moved to Boerne. All of them had very good college careers and that was the focus. It is a journey and the Olympic Games is part of it. All of them have been training for years.” It’s quite an accomplishment when you consider that Monday reports only one percent of college athletes makes it to the next level.

Training in Boerne’s climate has prepared the runners well for the Trials and the Olympics. Monday says, “The warm, humid weather is beneficial to increasing blood plasma, so training here is good for both places. It will be winter in Rio when we are there and the average temperature will be 72. It could be as high as 80 but not nearly as hot and humid as Texas.”

All three of Monday’s runners are race fit, well prepared and ready for the Trials. Roesler and Mecke have achieved the Olympic Standard of 2:01.50. To qualify for the Olympic Team, they will need to place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in the final at the Olympic Trials. Chambers is close to the qualification time, if she does not get the standard by the Olympic Trials, she can get it at the Trials but not after. It will take 1:59 or faster to make the team in the 800 meters. Olympic processing will take place in Eugene for the USA Track and Field team.

Following the Trials, there is a USATF training camp in Houston. There is also a United States Olympic Committee (USOC) processing camp in Houston from July 24 – August 2. All Olympians from all sports are required to attend. This involves ambassador training of Olympic protocol including how to carry the flag and international relations. Additionally, they have their Ralph Lauren uniform fittings and leisure wear fittings, visits to the medical and travel stations, and the official sunglass station.

These Olympics Games will be more difficult Monday predicts, “I feel the logistics are going to be more challenging compared to the Olympic Games in London, with language, and geographical proximities with mountains in the middle and an hour minimum to get to the stadium or the training facility from the Olympic Village.”

Monday will facilitate all of their workouts while at the Olympic Training Camp in Houston and in Rio. “As part of the Official Team Delegation Staff as Assistant Coach – Women’s Distance, my role will be to facilitate all training sessions among a myriad of other duties for 22 middle and long distance athletes during the training camp in Houston prior to our departure to Rio as well as during the Olympic Games. My goal is to create an environment that takes the pressure off of the athletes, allowing them to compete at their best and to come home with the most medals.”

The 2016 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony is August 5, and Track competition starts August 12. Make sure to tune in and honor the athletes’ and coaches’ long journey to Rio.

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