Tuesday, August 14, 2018

All-time NorCal Cross Country Team (Boys and Girls)

Over the past few years, we have had some of the best distance runners in NorCal history. If we were to go back in history and choose the top 10 Cross Country runners (boys and girls), who would make the cut? What do you consider most important when it comes to making your selections? Times? Championships? Durability? National success? State Championships? Post high school success? What else?

To make that task a bit easier, here is a link with all the previous NorCal Cross Country teams that date back to 1976. If you scroll down a bit further, you will get to see more runners that date back to 1953. 
http://lynbrooksports.prepcaltrack.com/ATHLETICS/XC/alnorcal.htm

Coming up...

I will finish up the rankings for NCS Division I and IV. Feel free to comment on those divisions while I complete the articles.

In the meantime, you can check out all the pre-season rankings posted to date at this link:
http://www.crosscountryexpress.com/search/label/2018%20Pre-Season%20XC%20Rankings

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Complete History of Cross-Country Running: From the Nineteenth Century to the Present Day

For you history buffs, the book to the left written by Andrew Boyd Hutchinson is a one of a kind that will take you through the history of our awesome sport. You can check out the author's website here:
http://www.therealxc.com/

The author also commissioned an artist to hand draw maps of famous cross country courses throughout the world including Mt. SAC and Crystal Springs. If you are interested in purchasing one of those maps, you can find them here:
https://www.owendelaney.art/realxc-prints

Friday, August 10, 2018

Catching up with St. Francis, Mt. View coach, Philip Pompei...


An interview from 2016. Last year, the Lancers won the WCAL and CCS and State Division II titles before competing at the NXN meet in Portland.
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Today we chat with St. Francis, Mt. View coach, Philip Pompei. He is a 2008 graduate of the Lancers and returned back to his alma mater after graduating from the University of Illinois. His boys' team won the CCS Division II championship this past season after finishing 2nd behind Bellarmine in the WCAL final the previous week.

1) What was your sports experience before high school? When did you first get involved in running?
I played a bunch of different sports growing up including soccer, baseball, and basketball. My first love was soccer but I also played basketball up until high school. I started running primary so I could win the annual Walk-a-Thon at my elementary school (following in the footsteps of my older brother) and enjoyed it so much that I continued in middle school by participating in both Cross Country and Track & Field.

2) Looking back at your high school sports experiences, what were some of your proudest accomplishments?
 I was fortunate enough to be on two CCS championship teams during my high school career. First, as a sophomore in 2005 and again as a senior in 2007. Those two team victories up at Crystal Springs are my proudest accomplishments.

3) Who were your high school coaches and what did you learn from them?
 I was coached by Brian Curley and Mike Saso in high school.  I learned, and continue to learn, so much from both of them. Coach Curley taught me the value of summer training, not just to build fitness, but also to build camaraderie among teammates.  Since I started coaching, I have worked to develop a summer program that is both challenging and fun for our guys.  Coach Saso taught me to embrace a team-first mentality.  Whether it's in cross country or track, we want our guys to be competing for their teammates and focusing on how they can contribute to their team's success.

4) What led you to choosing the University of Illinois? What are some of your most memorable running experiences in college? Who was your coach and what did you learn from him?
I ultimately decided on Illinois because they had a solid Broadcast Journalism program, were located in the state where I was born, and were willing to give me a shot to walk-on to their Cross Country/Track team and compete in one of the top distance running conferences in the country.  Getting the call from the coach that I had made the team after my "try-out" was my first great memory of collegiate running. My senior year, I had a few break-through performances, the most memorable being at the University of Washington's Husky Invitational where I ran my 5k PR of 14:02 to finish second in my heat.  I had two coaches while in college, Wendel McRaven for my first three years and Gavin Kennedy for my senior year. I learned a ton about running, coaching, and life from both of these men. Most notably, from Coach McRaven, I learned the importance of consistency in training as a means of building confidence for competition.  From Coach Kennedy, I learned some strategies to build mental toughness in training that can translate to competition.

5) What were some of the biggest adjustments for you in terms of training from high school to college? What would you do differently, training wise, if you could run in high school again?
The transition from high school to college was tough. I was used to taking the whole winter off from running to focus on soccer so that first winter of training in Illinois was a big shock to my system.  Ultimately, my legs adjusted to the increased work load and I made a big jump in overall fitness.  I think the major change I would make if I could go back to my high school running career would be to stretch and ice more.

6) How did you end up back at St. Francis as a teacher and coach? What do you teach there now? 
I started volunteering with our summer program the last two summers I was in college. That experience inspired me to pursue a coaching position under Coach Curley as I began a Master's program at Santa Clara University. Unfortunately, his health forced him to retire the year I returned so that opened up the head coach's position along with a position in the Religious Studies Department.  I'm still working on my Master's in Pastoral Ministries, but even so, Saint Francis graciously offered me a full-time teaching position after a short stint as a long-term sub. I teach three sections of our Sophomore Scriptures course and two sections of Senior World Religions.

7) What was the state of the cross country program when you took over the team? What changes did you make from the previous coaching staff? What were some of the challenges during the first season?
Coach Curley managed a great program for more than two decades during which time we won seven section titles and one state title.. That being said, the team had struggled a bit during his last few years so there was definitely room to improve. The main changes I made were cultural.  I was committed to helping Saint Francis return to the level we enjoyed while I was a student-athlete. I received some push-back but for the most part, the guys knew me from summer training so they were excited to work hard and pursue some lofty goals. For some perspective, the seniors on the 2013 CCS Championship team saw Saint Francis fail to qualify for CCS when they were freshmen, finish 9th when they were sophomores, and finish third when they were juniors, before they led their squad to the title as seniors.
8) What do you feel went well for your boys this past season and what did you learn yourself? A side question, what did Craig Virgin tell your boys before their CCS race?
 I think our senior leadership was a big part of our success this year which was really lacking last year, having only one senior in our top seven.  We had a group of guys who knew what it was going to take to achieve our goals and were committed to doing everything possible to achieve those goals. Our ability to peak during Championship season affirmed our training program and taught me that we need to keep trusting that program. Craig Virgin came over to our team tent before our guys warmed up and shared with us the importance of our sixth and seventh finishers.  It was a poignant message because one of our normal scorers was a little under the weather entering the race so we needed someone to step up. That someone was senior, Preston Yadegar, who ended up fifth for us, and 25th overall.

9) What are your expectations for your runners in the summer? What do you feel are the keys for your team's success? What do you think your team could do better?
As I mentioned earlier, summer training is a big part of our program, both for building fitness and building friendships. I want them to enjoy time off from school and time with their families but I also hope that they recognize the value of the summer program enough to place it up near the top of their priority lists.  Our team is full of guys who work really, really hard and will do anything for each other.  We have a great time at practice but also know when to turn on the focus. There are always going to be areas we can improve upon. I think one of those target areas for the upcoming track season is going to be integrating the Varsity guys more with the rest of the squad so they can share their wisdom and model positive habits to the next group of Lancer harriers.

10) Who are your current and past coaching mentors? Who do you lean on for advice during the season?
All of the coaches I've mentioned thus far I consider mentors: Coach Curley, Coach Saso, Coach McRaven, and Coach Kennedy. Legendary Saint Francis Coach Tom Tuite has also been an amazing supporter and mentor to me since I started coaching. I lean most heavily on my own staff throughout the season for coaching advice, especially my brother and roommate Sam Pompei, who ran at Saint Francis and then UNC-Chapel Hill. I also bounce ideas off former college teammates who are now coaching at both the high school and collegiate level throughout the country.

11) Some quick hitters. Favorite XC invitationals? Favorite XC course? Favorite XC workout? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF workout? Favorite free time activity?
Favorite XC Invitational: Clovis, XC Course: Crystal Springs, XC Workout: 1k Repeats, T/F Event: 3200m, Track Workout: Ladder Workout, Free Time Activity: Reading Biographies

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you for all you do to promote our sport!

Thank you very much for your time Philip! AJC

Thursday, August 09, 2018

San Ramon Valley HS (NCS) searching for head XC coach

If you are interested in applying for the position, please contact San Ramon Valley HS athletic director Peter Scarpelli at pscarpelli@srvusd.net. 

Please pass this along if you know someone else who might be interested.

Monday, August 06, 2018

What is the toughest XC course in California?

I may have asked this question before will ask again. What do you think is the toughest XC course in California? This can be local or it can be in another part of the state.

On the opposite spectrum, what is the easiest (fastest) XC course in California?

Also, what makes a good XC course? What are some of your favorite courses? 

Extra credit question. What is the most impressive course record in Northern California?

Friday, August 03, 2018

What is a workout?

By George Allen, former Washington Redskins Coach

A workout is 25 percent perspiration and 75 percent determination. Stated another way, it is one part physical exertion and three parts self-discipline. Doing it is easy once you get started.

A workout makes you better today than you were yesterday. It strengthens the body, relaxes the mind, and toughens the spirit. When you work out regularly, your problems diminish and your confidence grows.

A workout is a personal triumph over laziness and procrastination. It is the badge of a winner - the mark of an organized, goal-oriented person who has taken charge of his, or her, destiny.

A workout is a wise use of time and an investment in excellence. It is a way of preparing for life's challenges and proving to yourself that you have what it takes to do what is necessary.

A workout is a key that helps unlock the door to opportunity and success. Hidden within each of us is an extraordinary force. Physical and mental fitness are the triggers that can release it.

A workout is a form of rebirth. When you finish a good workout, you don't simply feel better, YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF.

If you have something similar that you would like to share, please do so in the comment section below.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

CCS Time Comparisons thanks to Wilcox coach, Walt Van Zant

http://lynbrooksports.prepcaltrack.com/ATHLETICS/XC/2018/comparsn.htm

Please share your thoughts about the above comparisons in the comment section below. If you know of any freshmen that will have an impact on the above rankings, please share that as well below.

Donation to Cross Country Express Site

If you have enjoyed all the Track and field coverage this past season, a kind donation would be appreciated.  You can do so with the link to the right.  If you don't do online payments, you can email me at albertjcaruana@gmail.com and I will send you an address where you can send a check.

This site will remain a free service but as you know, a lot of time and effort goes into the maintenance of this website.

Thank you very much to those of you that have already donated.  If I haven't done so already, you will hear from me in appreciation.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

2018 NCS Division II pre-season Cross Country rankings

I will have a more comprehensive explanation of the rankings below in a moment but for now, here you go.

BOYS
1) Granada
2) De La Salle
3) College Park
4) Foothill
5) Heritage/Mission San Jose

Individuals
1) Connor Livingston De La Salle
2) Russell Sullivan Foothill
3) Tyler Hattori Granada
4) Maxwell Waechter Heritage
5) Seth Jeppson Granada/Arnav Arora Mission San Jose

GIRLS
1) Granada
2) San Ramon Valley
3) Monte Vista
4) Liberty
5) Clayton Valley/Freedom/Livermore

Individuals
1) Colleen McCandless Granada
2) Kelli Wilson Monte Vista
3) Kalea Bartolotto Granada/Kinga Bihari Granada
4) Gracie Dupuis/Sidney Isom Monte Vista
5) Tavella sisters (Kate & Emma) San Ramon Valley/Valenton sisters (Veronica & Viviana) Livermore

Feel free to comment on this division in the meantime. You can find what teams will compete in this division this season at this LINK.

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