Saturday, February 06, 2016

Former Urban HS runner Cole Williams runs 3:57.88 indoor mile as Georgetown grad student

At the BU Scarlet and White Invite. Cole ran a personal best 1:50.57 as a senior at the California state meet. He finished in 5th place in the final running 1:50.95. After high school, Cole continued to race at Occidental College for one season before transferring to Georgetown University as a sophomore. He ran 3:42.05 at last year's Payton Jordan meet which qualified him for the NCAA meet.

Here is my interview with Cole from 2011:

Rylee Bowen wins UWHS Invite mile in 5:00.07

Live Results link HERE.

Also check out live results at Cal All-Comers meet with lots of familiar names competing:

Northern California Section Track and Field records

Northern Section

Sac-Joaquin Section
SJS All-Time Records
Boys SJS Masters Records:
Girls SJS Masters Records:

North Coast Section

Central Coast Section

San Francisco Section
San Francisco Section Meet Records

Oakland Section

If anybody can help locate the section records for SF and Oakland, please email a link or the records to 

Out of all the sections listed above, is there a record that stands above the rest?

Friday, February 05, 2016

CCS & NCS Track & Field Records that may be in danger in 2016

North Coast Section
Current shot put record: Dennis DeSoto Santa Rosa 63'10.5" 1981
Earlier in January, Nathan Esparza Amador Valley threw 65'9" at All-Comer meet.

Current discus record: Darrell Elder Redwood 194'2" 1974
Last season, Nathan Esparza Amador Valley threw 177'7".

Current 400m. record: Chizoba Okodogbe Deer Valley 53.06 2010
Last season, Kirsten Carter Santa Rosa ran 54.24 as a frosh.

Current 1600m. record: Julia Stamps Santa Rosa 4:42.79 1997
Last season, Rylee Bowen Sonoma Academy ran 4:43.92 as a frosh.

Current 100m. Hurdles record: Trinity Wilson St. Mary's Berkeley 13.15 2011
Last season, Mecca McGlaston Dublin ran 13.18

Central Coast Section
Current high jump record: Jeff Rogers Overfelt 7'3" 1985
Last season, Darius Thomas St. Francis jumped 7'0" and Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant jumped 7'1"

Current shot put record: Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ 53'5.5" 2015
Current discus record: Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ 182'8" 2015
She is a senior this year and will have an opportunity to surpass both records this year.

If you feel there are other records that could potentially be broken, feel free to add those in the comment section below.

Cal Track & Field All-Comers meet at Edward Stadium

Live Results:

You can also check out past results from the Los Gatos All-Comers meets through Saturday, January 30th at this link:

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Jahvid Best talks returning to track after NFL career

Former Salesian HS (NCS) sprinter Jahvid Best returning to Track and Field after retiring from Football due to concussions. Best sprinted to 10.36 and 20.65 personal bests wind legal marks in high school (both NCS records) before heading to Cal Berkeley and the Detroit Lions to play Football.

Check out the following interview with Jahvid courtesy of Flotrack at this link:
Jahvid Best talks returning to track after NFL career

Documentary Video: Running for Pride - Liberty High School

If its alright, I would like to share my athlete's video with the XC community on CrossCountryExpress. He is a young and aspiring film maker and spent an insurmountable amount of time on the documentary. I believe his audience needs to be widened because of the amount of effort he put into this. The documentary covers our entire 2015 cross country season at Liberty High School. He recently entered an edited down version into the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards (HIIDA) and won "Best Feature - Student"! The director, editor, and student athlete of mine is Alec Douglas. The film is called "Running for Pride: A Cross Country Documentary".

A couple of video credits in this version of the film include short clips from YouTube from "JesuitTrack" and "Aggiemacks".

The video is a cool, 58 minutes long.. but it is a fun video and worth the watch. I believe that the greatest thing about this documentary is that so many other cross country teams can watch it and relate to it!

Thank you,
Eric Morford
Liberty HS Cross Country Coach

Monday, February 01, 2016

Uniforms at all-comer meets

This was posted by Hank Lawson and taken directly from CCS by-laws:
Section 3, Part B, Letter ECCS athletes, do NOT wear your School Uniform at any All Comer Track Meet, per CCS By-Laws. I would extend that to any athlete from any section. The following is taken from the 2015/2016 CCS By-laws.

"The school name, insignia, official colors, equipment, facility and uniforms belong to the school and may not be used in capacity other than in CIF competition as allowed within the CIF, CCS, League and school governing documents. If teams or individuals competing in or practicing with an organization governed by someone other than the CIF, use school names, school mascot names, school uniforms or anything that in any way identifies them with a particular CCS high school, they shall be considered a school team regardless of their affiliation with that outside agency."

Catching up with Santa Cruz High School coach, John Rembao

Today we chat with Santa Cruz High School coach, John Rembao. John is one of the best track and field coaches in California who has had success coaching jumps, multi-events and mid and long distance athletes. John has coached at multiple Universities (see below) which you will see below and has directed many events such as the recently completed 2015 USATF Club XC Championships at Golden Gate Park. You can read more about John and his coaching accomplishments at this LINK from the Santa Cruz Track Club. You can also check out this newspaper article about his work with three Chinese high jumpers at this LINK. The following is a lengthy interview but well worth your time if you have an interest in coaching the high jump as well as improving your expertise as a coach in any Track and Field event.

1) What was your athletic experience? 
I played sports informally until I went to high school. Did well on the President's physical fitness test in middle school. I participated in organized team sports when I attended high school. I went out for cross country and wasn't planning on running track until Coach Brock asked me to run one dual meet at the beginning of track season. After my first race on the oval, I decided track was for me. Mostly because I realized the results would be a direct reflection of what I put into running. That was exciting to me.

Where did you go to high school? 
Santa Cruz High School

Highlights and proudest achievements? 
I ran 9:14.3 for the two-mile (county and school record) which placed me second at CCS, 4:21.5 (school record) for the mile, and 15:18 on Crystal Springs XC Course. The two-mile record still stands at Santa Cruz High.

Who were the coaches that had the biggest impact on you?
The list is long. Every one of these coaches has had a significant impact on me and my coaching.
High School-
Nick Delurgio was the head track coach and was an extremely organized individual. I appreciated the care and thought he put into creating a well-managed team. He created a team handbook that I referred to often.  In fact, it was one of the reasons I created a training manual that I provided to my distance runners and jumpers when I coached collegiately.
Greg Brock was my personal coach.  Greg ask me a lot of questions which I then tried to find the answer to, through experience and research.  This method of asking questions, of myself and others, served me well as a collegiate coach. I had a genuine curiosity in the sport from a young age, and a desire to find answers.
Vern Gambetta. He was a close friend of Greg's, and I heard conversations between the two of them that inspired and motivated me to pursue track with a passion. 
Collegiate-everyone of the coaches listed taught me many things, but I point out the biggest lesson I learned from each of them.
Steve Miller taught through example how an inspiring leader can get people to do things they didn't even believe they could do.
Lance Harter was my first coach-to-coach mentor and exemplified a pursuit of excellence that stays with me today.
Gary Wilson taught me how to have fun, even in the most intense environments.  I relied on this lesson at the University of Texas, daily.
Bob Meyers mentored me in the high jump. He shared information, provided insight and encouragement. To this day, I think he is one of the most talented high jump coaches this country has ever seen.
Deanne Vochatzer helped me to understand that it was okay to make mistakes as long as you learned from them. 
Brooks Johnson taught me that a good coach can coach anything. I didn't believe him at first, but I found that by applying the same curiosity to the jumps as I had to the middle and long distances, I had just as much, if not more success.
Randy Huntington was my first mentor in the long and triple jump. He shared articles, books, and showed me patience as I learned the horizontal jumps. 
Fred Harvey and I have had more conversations, sometimes arguments, than any other coach I have ever known. He aggressively challenges me daily, without ever making me feel threatened. His ability to make people think about who they are, and what they are doing, helped me become a more focused coach.
Scott Evans reminds me that providing honest and truthful feedback to the athlete's in our care is how we honor them and make them better.
Curtis Taylor inspires me in his unrelenting pursuit of knowledge and excellence.
Peter Tegen probably one of the best coaches this country has ever seen, he taught me to look deeper than what other were saying about training and to challenge the status quo.
Joe Vigil took me to lunch at the Olympic Games in 1992 and from that point forward he has always been available to provide insight and encouragement. 
Frank Gagliano provided me, what I consider being the final piece of the middle distance puzzle. This awakening allowed an athlete to win seven Big XII championships in the three years that I coached her.
Lyle Knudson provided me with the opportunity to coach at the Olympic Training Center for ten summers. This experience made me a better coach and mentor and challenged me to under the material I was presenting at a high level.
Dan Pfaff and I would talk after practice for hours when I worked at the University of Texas. These conversations motivated me to keep learning. He was an encyclopedia of knowledge and these after practice conversations inspired me to keep learning.
Bev Kearney is one of the most competitive people I have ever met, and she was a recruiting genius. She was always thinking about how to be better in all aspects of coaching, and she challenged me to be the very best as a coach.
Gary Winkler is one of the most brilliant people I have ever met. How many coaches do you know who have written a math book? Gary took the very complicated language of training and developed what I understand to be the first Level II sprints and hurdle curriculum. He produced the chart, "Speed Inventory - Categorization of Methods and Means," which was part of the Level II curriculum for sprints and hurdle. This chart helped me to understand the nuances of speed work.
George Williams is one of the most productive and humble individuals you'll ever meet. As a very successful Olympic coach, why would he ask for advice from anyone? But that was he taught me was that you should never be too proud to ask people for help when trying to understand any event, better.
Milan Donley influenced the way I approach working with my son and his athletic development. He is such a great father and husband; I'd like to think he made me a better one.
Sheldon Blockburger is an intense coach who is one of the funniest people I have ever met. Sheldon taught me to be able and laugh at myself.
Boo Schexnayder have had many interactions over the years. His scientific mind taught me that having a plan and following it is how we learn and grow. He was also an inspiration when it came to running and jumping mechanics. Any coach who wants to be the best should search out his writings.  He is brilliant.
Jeremy Fischer is another brilliant mind who knows how to coach and motivate athletes to the highest level.  It is no mystery why he has coaches athletes to the Olympic stand; he taught me that you can never be too patient. 

2) Where did you go to college and what led you into coaching?
I went to Cal Poly, SLO. 
The first coach I had at SLO was Steve Miller. He was an inspirational man and expected excellence from his athletes. After my first year, I took a year off of school for financial reasons, and when I returned a new coach was running the track and cross country programs. The new coach was the reason I started coaching. He was not inspirational or organized, and he would make up workouts at the moment of practice. He was the complete opposite of Coach Miller. So, after a year of trying to make it work, I just realized that it wasn't going to work out for me, so I gave up my scholarship. I loved running, so I decided instead of running I would try to coach.

3) Where was your first coaching job, what did you coach and what did you learn from that experience?
Well, I had just relinquished my scholarship, so I walked over to the women's track office to ask the coach if I could volunteer as an assistant coach. The coach was Lance Harter. He asked me some questions, and we talked for a little while until he finally said when the practice was and that he looked forward to seeing me there.  

Lance had a large group of runners, so my initial position was to manage workouts for the developing athletes in the group. Working with the developing athletes was one of the most significant coaching experiences in my career. Lance would provide the workout, and I would implement them. If I had questions, I would ask him.  I learned how to manage a large group of people, and he encouraged me to read a lot of training articles. Over time, I developed relationships with the professors in the exercise physiology department where our athletes tested for MaxVO2 and anaerobic threshold. I appreciate the fact that Lance was never a micro manager and he also provided me access to other successful coaches, some of which I provided in the list earlier.

After six years of assisting with Lance, I was asked by the men's track coach to work with the 800m and 1500m runners. 
The biggest lessons I learned from my first job were
1. Be a cheerleader for every athlete's improvement and celebrate it. 
2. Treat every athlete as an individual
3. Always do what is in the athlete's best interest. It would eventually be in my best interest when they succeeded.
4. Be a good role model for my athletes. Work hard so that they would work hard. Be passionate so they would be passionate.
On the administrative side, I learned how to put on cross country meets and track meets. And I mean I did everything! 

4) Where did you coach after Cal Poly SLO and what were some of your different roles at each University?
University of Arizona
I was responsible for all aspects of the men's and women's jumps at Arizona. I am pretty sure I got this job because my wife had made the Olympic team in the high jump, and Arizona had a storied history in the high jump that they wanted to extend. Having had experience at Cal Poly putting on meets, I also had some operational responsibilities the Pac-10 XC and Track and Field Championships, the Regional and National Cross Country Championships

University of Texas
I was responsible for all aspects of the women's cross country team, middle and long distance runners and on the field, the women's high jump. I was responsible for monitoring our weight room development. I had some operations responsibilities with the Texas Relays. I was also responsible for starting the Texas Invitational, which one year, had an Olympic caliber 100m field because of Dan Pfaff's training group. I was also responsible for developing a budget for women's track and field at the request from my head coach.

Southern Methodist University
I was the women's head cross country coach, Meet Director the WAC XC Championships, and responsible for all the jumping (men and women) and running (women) events on the track. I was responsible for recruiting all of my events.

Stanford University
Director of Operations and coached events as directed by the head coach. I was responsible for all aspects of travel, recruiting lists, official and unofficial visits, alumni outreach, and budget development and management. But, my biggest responsibility was meet operations, hosting the Big Meet, the Stanford Invitationals, both Cross Country and Track and Field, and the Pac-10 Championships in Cross Country and Track and Field, and Regional Cross Country Championships.

University of California, Berkeley
I was responsible for all aspects of the men's and women's jumps (long, triple, and high jump), meet management (Big Meet, Brutus Hamilton and Pac-10 Championships), and all aspects of travel, and budget development and management.

5) What led you into coaching the high jump?
While I was still and athlete, I met this girl (Sue McNeal) icing her shins in the ice whirlpool in the training room. She was the best high jumper on the team. Because her event coach took another job, she struggled her last couple of years at SLO. By the time she was going to graduate, we were dating. When she graduated, we talked about moving to another place where she could train. She proposed the idea of me coaching her. I wasn't sure about this plan, mostly because I wanted to marry her more that I wanted to coach her. Also, I was coaching distance runners, and what did I know anything about the high jump. I just didn't think it was a good idea. But she was persistent, and I reached out to Bob Meyers (mentioned earlier) at Arizona, and he agreed to mentor me. It wasn't smooth sailing, at first. But between Bob's mentoring and Sue's innate knowledge of the high jump, it eventually worked out. She jumped her personal best in 1991, jumping 6'5 1/2", a 3 1/2" improvement over her college best and made her first World Championship Team.  The next year she made the Olympic Team, and in 1993, she made her second World Championship Team. That is the short version of how I became a high jump coach.

6) Throughout your coaching career, who have been your coaching mentors that you feel had the biggest impact on you as a coach?
If I had to narrow down the list above it would be 
1. Greg Brock
2. Fred Harvey
3. Gary Winkler
4. Brooks Johnson
5. Sheldon Blockburger
6. Jeremy Fischer

7) From your experience in coaching the event, what are the essential elements of being a good high jumper?
From a physical perspective, a well trained high jumper needs to have stamina, strength, speed, suppleness, and skill. In terms skill, a jumper should be able to have a consistent run-up.  A quick penultimate response. A good lean back and away from the bar at take-off touchdown. The ability to synchronize the free leg and arms (there are many successful versions of arm use) at take-off.  And, patience and flexibility on top of the bar.

8) What does a typical week look like for a high jumper? 
We practice together three days a week. The athletes practice a few days on their own to lift and run. So a typical week is
Monday - Speed, jump, and power development
Tuesday - Strength and intensive tempo
Wednesday - Recovery
Thursday - Speed, plyometric training on the runway
Friday - Strength
Saturday - Jump, power development, speed endurance
Sunday - Recovery

How often are they jumping? 
We jump three days a week, but one day is a plyometric focused day, where they are learning horizontal jumps mechanics.

How many jumps in a typical session? 
The number of jumps varies with the experience and development of the athlete. It can range from 6 - 24 depending on the individual. Once the quality starts to fall off, we stop jumping and move to other aspects of our training.

What is a typical track workout? 
A typical Monday would start with 800m of skipping and jogging, and then they would perform a comprehensive warm-up that includes many skills I am trying to teach for all the jumps. The warm-up last about 40 minutes and has a general conditioning aspect to it.
We transition to fly work on the track (30, 40, or 50's). The number varies depending on the weather and time of year. We then do three sets of turn-runs, focusing up building tempo. Run-run-jumps, focusing on low foot carriage and quick feet. Circle runs, focusing on foot mechanics and running with an open stride. U-runs, focusing on approach rhythm and turn and take-off points. Scissors, focusing on approach rhythm and take-off and free leg mechanics. Then we do a variety of short or long approach jumps depending on the time of year. And then we'll finish with some power development that can range from back-overs into the pit, medicine ball throws or overhead back, or underhand forward shot throws.

How many days in the weight room? 
Three days a week in General Prep. Two to three days a week in Specific Prep. Two days a week in Competition Prep. One to two days a week in Competition phase.
What are the key lifts in the weight room?
Cleans - variations from thighs, shins, and floor
Snatches - variations from thighs, shins, and floor
Squat - front and back, full and amortization angles

9) What are some common errors that you see in many high school jumpers and what can they do to fix those errors?
The most common error I see in high school jumpers are
1. planting parallel to the bar. 
The first can be as simple as telling the athlete to plant toward the back corner of the pit in the direction they are running.  I know this is a simplistic instruction, but it is clear and makes the request executable. Sometimes lack of strength can be the reason plant this way. Small numbers of single leg squats can really make a difference in leg strength.
2. running to the bar with no lean
The approach can be too wide for the jumper. I see a lot of small high jumpers who have wide approaches.  Unless the jumper is fast to the bar, a wide approach is probably not going to work out very well because they will have no lean at take-off. The athlete is running too slow to the bar. Creating lean with no speed is difficult. The athlete is unsure of their path to the bar. If they have inconsistent approaches, the athlete may not be strong enough, or they haven't practiced their approach enough, or both. Sometimes, when initially developing strength, skill is impaired until the athlete adapts to their training
3. planting with a bent leg
I have found this issue falls into one of two categories. The athlete believes the way he/she will go up is by purposely bending the knee, or the take-off leg is just plain weak. Jumping is a result of amortization and the loading of the take-off leg, is a natural occurrence The leg is going to bend when an athlete jumps, assisting in this bend (amortization) usually results in the athlete moving toward the bar quicker during take-off, when they should be going up.
4. not understanding what to do with their arms leading up to, and during take-off.
High jumpers are successful with single arm leads, double arm blocks, and 1 1/2 arm blocks, and some even with little to no lifting of the arms. I would do the one that is most natural to the athlete, at least until they are jumping high enough to warrant some change. The arms can provide some helpful elements at take-off. One is to raise the center of mass, create force into the take-off leg, and provide lifting direction at take-off release. Working on arms takes lots of practice and patience. There is timing involved that is challenging to master.

10) You have had a lot of success as a coach. Can you name a few of the ones that stand out to you?
Sue Rembao - High Jump - World Championship Teams in 1991 and 1993, Olympic Team in 1992, Personal Record of 1.96m (6'5")
Erin Aldrich - High Jump - 4 NCAA National Championships, 7 All-America honors, the collegiate indoor record of 1.97m (6'5.5"), World University Games 2001, World Championship Teams 1997, 2001, 2005, 2007, Olympic Team in 2000.
Victor Plata - Triathlon - Olympic Team 2004
Elizabeth Diaz - Middle Distances -  in three years, seven (7) Big XII Championships in the middle distance events indoors and outdoors (800m, 1000m, 1500m, and Mile).

11) What is your recommendation for a young coach that wants to coach one or more of the technique events in Track and Field?
Have a curiosity about one technical event you like and immerse yourself in it. It will help you become a better coach in your primary event(s), and eventually other technical events as well. Most importantly, take opportunities to learn from the best! Bob Meyers mentored me and helped me to find the shortest path to success. Of course, I had a lot of motivation to be good at coaching the high jump, which drove me to find answers. Bob wasn't always available, but he would always point me in the right directions. Without his knowledge and wisdom, I would have struggled to understand the high jump and it would have taken me a lot longer to know the event as well as I do.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Read a lot and share with people that have your passion. They will always want to talk to you about your chosen event. Keep looking for people to help you. We are all busy, but if you have three or four mentors, you can always get a little bit of time from one of them.

Thank you very much for your time John! AJC

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Northern California pre-season top 10 Track & Field athletes

Overall Top 10
10) Eli Givens Palo Alto (CCS) 10.79/21.54/Nate Esparza 62'5.5"/177'7"
9) Michael Gonzalez Lodi (SJS) 16'0/Erika Malaspina Pacific Collegiate (CCS) 13'2"
8) Darius Thomas St. Francis (CCS) 7'0"
7) Jurnee Woodward Vacaville (SJS) 13.84/41.10
6) Reonna Collier Vacaville (SJS) 13.47/53.85
5) Fiona O'Keeffe Davis (SJS) 4:45.68/10:00.85
4) Darius Carbin Mt. Pleasant (CCS) 47'4"/7'1"
3) Isaiah Holmes Oakmont (SJS) 23'9"/48'3.25"/7'0"
2) Mecca McGlaston Dublin (NCS) 13.18
1) Elena Bruckner Valley Christian SJ (CCS) 53'5.5"/182'8"

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Former Montgomery HS, UC Davis runner Kim Conley runs indoor 5K in 15:09

Her official time at the University of Washington Invite was 15:09.31 just missing her outdoor PR of 15:08.61 from 2014. According to Dave Monti, Conley has now run the following times in the last two months.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Ask me anything...

Feel free to post your question in the comment section below. You can also ask questions that can be answered by frequent visitors to this site.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Catching up with Mission (SF) senior runner, Salem Bouhassoun

Today we chat with Mission high school senior runner, Salem Bouhassoun. He ran PRs of 1:59.27, 4:20.88 and 9:14.67 during his junior track and field season. This past cross country, Salem had top 5 finishes at the Hoka One One Earlybird, De La Salle/Carondelet and Stanford Invitationals. Following his victory at the San Francisco Section meet (photo to the left courtesy of Thomas Benjamin), Salem finished in 19th place in the Division III race at the California State Cross Country meet. Salem's twin sister, Nour, was featured in an article titled "The Chilling Rise of Islamophobia in Our Schools." which you can read at this LINK that details the hardships of Syrian refugees.

1) Where were you born and when did you come to United States? How much of an adjustment was it coming to a new country?
I was born in Syria, in a small city named Swieda. I lived there for 14 years and immigrated here the summer right before my freshman year in high school. The biggest adjustment I had to go through was learning English so I can make new friends, meet new people, and figure out what I want to do with my life. It felt hard in the first couple months because I missed my friends, relatives, and country. But that motivated me even more to learn English faster so I can create a new social life for myself. I am glad I was able to overcome that quickly and adapt to my new environment within a year.

2) What sports have you played aside from cross country and track and field? When and how did you start running?
I played a lot of soccer as a little kid at school during PE classes or in front if my house. Sometimes my friends and I  would play with water bottles or soccer balls made out of socks just because we used to play all the time and sometimes we couldn't find soccer balls available. In 7th grade I found my talent in swimming after I learned how to swim in one day. I became so good at it and had the dream of coming here to the U.S to become a famous swimmer. But my parents couldn't spend money on me swimming and my school did not have a team so I had to choose a different sport. As a freshman I played soccer and then wrestling. The soccer coach used to make us go to some of the XC races so we can get more fitness that will help us in soccer, and thats is how I was introduced to XC. When I became a Sophomore, I decided to focus on one sport so I chose running to be active throughout the whole year since there are two seasons with cross country and track and field.

3) What were some of your highlights from your sophomore seasons in XC and TF?
It was very motivational for me to place 6th place at the all-city finals and make it to the State meet in Cross country even though it was my first year and I had only been running for about 2 months at that time. That was my biggest highlight in the sport and my teammates were so excited for me that they threw me in a mud puddle after the race. That proved to me that I have a lot of potential in the sport.

4) What about from your junior seasons in both sports?
As a junior, I saw a tremendous improvement after I learned that off season mileage makes a big difference on your season performance. I improved by 2 minutes and 18 seconds in XC, and went from placing 186th as a sophomore to 45th at state finals. In Track, I was even more fitter, and I was much more experienced when it came to racing. I also improved by a minute and 4 seconds when I went down from running 10:18 as sophomore to running 9:14 as a Junior. I was also the the city section champion in the 1600m and the 3200m which I consider a big accomplishment. I was very happy that I also got the chance to go to some very competitive meets and get the chance to race at state finals and against fast guys throughout the whole season.

5) What do you feel was your breakout race that put you on the running map in Northern California?
I think my breakout race was at the Arcadia invitational when I ran an unexpected 9:15. My previous personal record before that race was only a 9:29 so I was not really expecting to shave off that many seconds two weeks later.

6) How has your training changed from your sophomore year to now?
My sophomore year, I was only running about 20 miles a week with one workout, and sometimes only training 3 days a week. I used to come into my season out of shape. I also still did wrestling in between XC and Track during that year. But now, I average about 60 miles a week and I am always fit and ready early in the season from the miles I run in the off season.

7) Who coaches you and how has he helped you develop in the runner you are today?
My school never had a history with running. I was the only serious runner on the team as a junior with only a couple other runners who used to show up once a week for fun. I met Coach Octaviano Romero through my old teammate when I was a sophomore. He works for a sales company that is an hour a way from the city but is really into running and loves to coach. After his nephew graduated, he noticed my talent and decided to stay with me to coach me. He is working right now as volunteer coach for our school coaching me and one other sophomore named Mateo who has recently been stepping up.

8) What does a typical training week look like for you? Any double runs? Longest run? Typical pace per mile for most of your "easier" runs? 
A typical week in the middle of the season for me would look like this:
Monday: Tempo run
Tuesday: 8-10 easy miles at 7:00 min pace
Wednesday: Track Workout ( mile repeats, or 800m repeats etc..)
Thursday: easy 8-10 miles
Friday: day off or or easy 4-5 miles
Saturday: a race or another workout.
Sunday: Long run that ranges between 12-15 miles at a recovery pace.
Total miles would be about 55-65 miles.

9) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC meet? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track event? Favorite track invite? Favorite track workout? Favorite free time activity?
My favorite Cross Country course is the Stanford golf course. I love the grass there and the course is very flat and nice. Favorite XC meet is the State finals just because I always have fun going down to Fresno to see my fiends from other schools and race the day after, although I really hate the Woodward Park course. My favorite XC workout is long hill repeats, I feel that I was supposed to do more of those the past season. My favorite long run is running around Lake Merced then through Golden Gate Park. There are some nice trails and good trees to run by. I always meet a lot of runners on my way. My favorite Track workout is 400 repeats and we would usually do 18-20 of those at target 3200m race pace. My main event is the 3200m. My favorite track invitational is Dan Gabor. I love the feeling I get there and the weather, plus it is  the first Invitational of the year so I'm always excited for it. My favorite opponent is Eduardo Herrera (Madera South) even though I don't race him a lot or know him that well, but just because of how respectful and humble he is. I love my first opponent and section competitor Luis Aragon. He's very chill and our competition has made us great friends. Although I am looking forward to getting to know more elite runners that I will be running against more often this season like Sean Kurdy, Michael Vernau, Cooper Teare, and others. During my free time I love to swim. It brings a lot of memories to me. I also love bowling and I am really good at Yoga.

10) I believe you are in the midst of making your college decision. How much will running be a factor? What else do you feel is important for you when it comes to choosing your next school?
Running is going to be a big but not the only factor in terms of choosing my future school. I believe that I still have a lot of potential left in me and I want to make sure that I am picking the right program that will help me develop as a runner and help me achieve my future goals such as running and representing my country Syria in the Olympics. At the same time, I am looking at other factors like the academics, location, class size, cost and diversity. In the end, running will be a second priority for me as I want to focus on getting a degree at a medical school after excelling in a kinesiology or biology major during my 4-5 years at an undergraduate school. Therefore, I am looking at the best combination between all of these factors.

11) What are you most looking forward to this upcoming Track & Field season? What are some of your goals?
I am looking forward to staying healthy and injury free throughout the upcoming Track and Field season. Other than that, I think it would be nice and achievable for me to break the San Francisco section 3200m and 1600m records before I graduate, and maybe run a sub 9:00 for the 3200m and place top 10 at state finals if possible.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I am really thankful for my Coach Octaviano Romero who got me to be where I am today. I also want to thank you for reaching out to me. I love reading about other dedicated runners on this wonderful website and learn about their stories.
Thank you very much for your time Salem! AJC