They're Great But They Don't Recruit

The meteoric rise of Loudoun Valley onto the national stage has caused rumors and frankly a whole bunch of saltiness related to their greatness and transfers. Simply put, The LV Vikings are great but they don't recruit. 

This thread is also true for the likes of Nansemond River, Western Branch, Lake Braddock, Blacksburg, Maggie Walker, Midlothian, and many other programs over the last decade who have dominated at one time or another. 

Despite having a really good team two years ago, it wasn't until Loudoun Valley had Sam Affolder transfer in that the drama started. Yes, he is a huge name and yes it was a huge deal that he transferred in. The real story though is not one of recruiting, but one of shock. 

It wasn't until around indoor nationals the year before that the Hunters (Coach Marc/Coach Joan) found out Sam would be transferring in. They didn't believe it at first but of course were happy to have him and were ready to make the transition as smooth as possible. 

After one year at the Jungle he went from 15:17 to 14:58 in the 5K. That type of improvement is why athletes continue to transfer.  

That story is the exact same at Western Branch or any other powerhouse program. Would you rather be good individually or great individually on a great team with great chances at winning national titles? That is what this all comes down to. Athletes and their families want to be the best with the best. 

Aside from the fact that these schools don't actually ever recruit athletes there are two big points of proof for their success not from recruiting. 

The first is the way all of those programs build and cultivate talent. They almost always get their athletes to peak at the right time and perform best on the biggest stage.

Use Dajah Parker-Love for example who transferred to Western Branch from Churchland. She went from running 12.17 to 11.76 in the 100 in just one year. Or better yet, use Kevin Carlson who went from 16:38 to 15:47 in just a year. People notice improvements like that and want to be a part of programs that can get them to improve as well.

The second is that you can always trace a program's success back to one athlete, not to a year when they had a ton of transfers. In Loudoun Valley's case that was when Drew Hunter won the national title. His greatness helped grow the XC team from around 30 members (both genders) to well over 100! 

Success is sustained by depth. Having Colton Bogucki and Peter Morris on the same team as Drew Hunter meant that they knew what being "good" really meant. They had "real times" to aspire to and thus became great themselves. 

Loudoun Valley is a program built on achieving nearly impossible goals. They want their athletes to strive for the impossible by doing the work day after day. 

The reason these programs are great is not that they recruit but that they work hard and have the hardest goals in the entire state and are willing to attempt the impossible.