Greyhounds' cross country sessions get them acquainted -- and in shape
Star correspondent

The Carmel High School boys and girls cross country teams are back to work -- already.
Although the first regular-season meets aren't until Aug. 16, the Greyhounds began voluntary workouts June 4 under the supervision of longtime coach Chuck Koeppen.
"The kids are not required to be there, but many of them choose to participate," he said. "When they show up for voluntary workouts, you know they're passionate and dedicated to the sport."
Since the summer conditioning is open to any current or incoming Carmel High School students -- not just returning cross country runners -- Koeppen said it may add new athletes to his roster when mandatory practices begin Aug. 3.
"It gives kids a chance to see what it's all about," he said. "If they enjoy running with us during the summer, they're more likely to join the team."
Many of the Greyhounds use the workouts as an opportunity to become acquainted with new team members and incoming freshmen.
"There's definitely a social aspect to it," said Logan Rosenberg, a boys team veteran who will be a junior in the fall. "We learn a lot about each other every day we're there, and that helps build team camaraderie for the season."
The summer workouts also help the runners stay in shape, which allows them to participate in more intense practices in August.
"If someone who hasn't been running shows up the first day and tries to do a hard workout," Koeppen said, "there's a greater chance they could hurt themselves or suffer an injury."
To make workouts more accessible for the athletes, Koeppen holds two practices Monday through Friday. The morning sessions begin at 8 a.m., and the evening sessions at 6 p.m. Runners can attend both if they choose.
"We try to work around their schedules, especially during the summer when kids have a lot going on," Koeppen said.
"If they have to work in the morning, they can come at night. If they work at night, they can come in the morning."
To keep the runners coming back, Koeppen makes the workouts easier and more informal than during the regular season. The athletes typically run between 3 to 5 miles each session.