Sunday, September 30, 2007

Norcal Rankings #4

Now that the Stanford Invitational is in our rear view mirror, we have a better idea of where most teams and individuals fall in the Norcal Sections (CCS, NCS, NS, OAK, SF and SJS). While it's easy to compare times and team efforts from yesterday's race, one cannot get caught up in the trap of simply ranking teams the way they finished yesterday. Some teams were missing individuals while others use Stanford as just another step to peaking when it counts, in November. As always, feel free to comment on the rankings below.

The following list will be updated throughout the season leading up to the California state meet.


Boys ....................................................Girls
1) Petaluma NCS...................................1) Carondelet NCS
2)
Woodcreek SJS.................................2) Carlmont CCS
3)
Jesuit SJS.........................................3) Davis Sr. SJS
4) Willow Glen CCS...............................4) Ponderosa SJS
5)
Amador Valley NCS...........................5) Campolindo NCS
6)
Skyline OAK ....................................6) St. Francis, Sacramento SJS
7)
De La Salle NCS................................7) Castro Valley NCS
8)
Davis Sr. SJS....................................8) Gunn CCS
9)
Los Gatos CCS...................................9) Mt. View CCS
10)
Carlmont CCS.................................10) St. Ignatius CCS
Honorable Mention (5 teams in alphabetical order)
Acalanes NCS.......................................
Aptos CCS
Bellarmine CCS.....................................Del Oro SJS
Grace Davis SJS
....................................Los Gatos CCS
Monte Vista NCS..................................Maria Carrillo NCS
Sheldon SJS.........................................Woodcreek SJS

Boys' Individuals
1) German Fernandez (12) Riverbank SJS
2) Mohammed Abdalla (12) Willow Glen CCS
3)
James Tracy (12) Del Campo SJS
4)
Philip MacQuitty (10) Palo Alto CCS
5)
James Attarian (12) Dublin NCS
6) Diego Estrada (12) Alisal CCS
7)
Nate Beach (12) Acalanes NCS
8)
Matt Duffy (12) St. Mary's NCS
9) Lance Wolfsmith (11) Sobrado CCS
10)
Brad Surh (12) Carlmont CCS

Girls' Individual
1)
Laurynne Chetelat (12) Davis Sr. SJS
2)
Jacque Taylor (10) Casa Grande NCS
3)
Nicole Hood (10) Carondelet NCS
4) Katy Daly (11) St. Ignatius CCS
5) Sarah Sumpter (12) Healdsburg NCS

6)
Deborah Maier (12) Ponderosa SJS
7) Stephanie Barnett (11) Leland CCS
8) Justine Fedronic (11) Carlmont CCS
9) Diana George (11) Livermore NCS
10) Samantha Hamilton (10) Half Moon Bay CCS

Feel free to comment on the list above. If you feel that a team or individual is missing or should be higher up on the list, please let yourself be heard. If you don't want your comment to be made public, you can email me at albertjcaruana@gmail.com

Only two days left to vote in the poll to the right. Vote NOW!

If you would like to contribute to this blog, please let me know. If you would like to write an article concerning cross country or any of the sections in Northern California, drop me an email.

Sunday Newspaper Stanford Coverage

High SchoolRoger's victory at Stanford Invitational lead's MA cross country team
Willow Glen runner looks strong at Stanford
Vaca runners fare well at Invitational
Fernandez runs away with victory
Ferrante shines at Stanford Invitational
Stanford/Ram Invite Coverage (Scroll down)
Cross Country (Justin-Siena)

College
Tollefson Wildcats' top finisher at Stanford Invitational; Bauhs wins
Robinson, Paneda Lead Cross Country at Stanford
Women's Cross Country Take Sixth at Stanford (SJSU)
Cal Men Second, Women Eight at Stanford Invitational
Cardinal Cross Country Sweeps Stanford Invitational

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stanford, Norcal and NCS Rankings




Another outstanding cross country meet on "the farm" today at Stanford. It was great to see most of the top teams and individuals go head to head or at the very least compete on the same course so we can compare individual and team times. While one meet, in the middle of the season, does not dictate what will happen in November, it's nonetheless a great barometer of where teams stand at the moment.

It was also great to meet many coaches and athletes today. Thank you very much for the positive comments about the blog. Please continue to get the word out about the blog so more people can contribute to Cross Country in Northern California. Those of you with team websites, please add this blog to your links.

I will have new Norcal Rankings coming out on Monday as I get results from other cross country meets as well. I will also plan on having the new NCS rankings by mid week.

Please feel free to comment on any of the races and/or performances from today's meets. You can also email me at albertjcaruana@gmail.com if you like. If you are a coach or athlete and you are interested in being part of a coach or athlete interview, please email me as well.

Complete results as well as combined girls and boys are available at the following link:
2007 Stanford Cross Country Invitational Results

For Dyestatcal's coverage of the meet including interviews and tons of pictures, check out the following page:
Stanford Invitational Coverage from Dyestatcal

Check out Flotrack's coverage of the Stanford Invitational at this link.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Northern California Newspaper Coverage

High School
Dons, Panthers enjoy run of success (East Bay XC Action)
Her internal drive runs smoothly (Stephanie Barnett, Leland)
Preps Plus: Names and News (Weekly recap of SJS)
Eric Olsen is faster than you (Novato sophomore profiled)

College
Double Duty (Caitlin Roake, former Carlmont runner)

Stanford Invitational '07

The Stanford Invitational will take place tomorrow on the Stanford Golf Course with the maps of the 5K and 3K races linked at the end of this post. Many of the top teams in Northern California will be attending along with a few teams from Southern California and out of state. The latest Norcal Rankings are listed here with the teams attending Stanford labeled in bold. Most of the remaining teams will be competing at the Ram Invitational (Westmoor HS) on the 2.4 mile school course.

New Norcal rankings will be posted on Monday. Best of luck to all teams and individuals competing this weekend. Feel free to include your predictions for either meet in the comment link below. Who is ready to make a major statement at Stanford?

Boys .....................................................Girls
1) Petaluma NCS...................................1) Carondelet NCS

2)
Davis Sr. SJS.....................................2) Davis Sr. SJS
3)
Woodcreek SJS.................................3) Ponderosa SJS
4) Willow Glen CCS...............................4) Carlmont CCS
5)
Carlmont CCS...................................5) Mt. View CCS
6)
Jesuit SJS.........................................6) St. Ignatius CCS
7) Amador Valley NCS
..........................7) Castro Valley NCS
8)
Oak Ridge SJS..................................8) Maria Carrillo NCS
9)
Bellarmine CCS................................9) St. Francis, Sacramento SJS
10)
Skyline OAK.....................................10) Del Oro SJS
Honorable Mention (5 teams added in no particular order)
Del Campo SJS..........................................Placer SJS
Maria Carrillo NCS................................Mt. Shasta NS
De La Salle NCS.......................................Aptos CCS
North Monterey County CCS.................. St. Francis, Mt. View CCS
Las Lomas NCS.......................................Campolindo NCS

Boys' Individuals
1) German Fernandez (12) Riverbank SJS
2) Mohammed Abdalla (12) Willow Glen CCS
3)
Philip MacQuitty (10) Palo Alto CCS
4)
James Tracy (12) Del Campo SJS
5)
Brad Surh (12) Carlmont CCS
6) Nate Beach (12) Acalanes NCS
7)
Matt Duffy (12) St. Mary's College NCS
8)
James Attarian (12) Dublin NCS
9) Diego Estrada (12) Alisal CCS
10)
Tyre Johnson (11) Palma CCS

Girls' Individual
1)
Laurynne Chetelet (12) Davis Sr. SJS
2)
Jacque Taylor (10) Casa Grande NCS
3)
Nicole Hood (10) Carondelet NCS
4) Shelby Golan (12) St. Francis, Mt. View CCS
5)
Katy Daly (11) St. Ignatius CCS
6)
Justine Fedronic (11) Carlmont CCS
7) Diana George (11) Livermore NCS
8) Deborah Maier (12) Ponderosa SJS
9)
Samantha Hamilton (10) Half Moon Bay CCS
10) Stephanie Barnett (11) Leland CCS

Schedule
9:00 AM J.V. Boys Divisions 3, 4, 5
9:21 AM J.V. Girls Divisions 3, 4, 5
9:46 AM Varsity Boys Division 5
10:10 AM Varsity Girls Division 5
10:40 AM Varsity Boys Division 4
11:05 AM Varsity Girls Division 4
11:34 AM Varsity Boys Division 3
11:58 AM Varsity Girls Division 3
12:30 PM J.V. Boys Division 2
12:48 PM J.V. Boys Division 1
1:06 PM J.V. Girls Divisions 1 & 2
1:26 PM Varsity Boys Division 2
1:51 PM Varsity Girls Division 2
2:24 PM Varsity Boys Division 1
2:49 PM Varsity Girls Division 1
3:21 PM Varsity Boys Seeded
3:44 PM Varsity Girls Seeded
4:15 PM College Races Begin

5K Race Course
3K Race Course

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Catching up with San Ramon Valley Coach Tim Hunter

Today, we touch base with San Ramon Valley Coach Tim Hunter. His teams have achieved consistent success during his time at SRV, highlighted by the 2002 Boys team, which won the NCS Division II title with an eye opening 23. One runner from that group, Scott Bauhs, won the NCAA Division II 10,000m. title last year running for Chico St. Thank you Tim for taking the time to answer the following 12 questions.

XC Race Alert: Along with SRV, Amador Valley and Monte Vista will be presenting a first year cross country event being held on Saturday, October 13th. They are looking for 10-15 teams and spaces are still available.
Information to the first annual event can be found at the following link:
1st Annual Tri-Valley Harrier Classic
1) How long have you been coaching at San Ramon Valley?

This is the 12th year at SRV for Cross Country and Track.

2) Describe your running and coaching experiences before San Ramon Valley. How did you get involved in coaching?
I have been running in some capacity for the past 30 years, when my Dad got diagnosed with high blood pressure and he had to start exercising. He brought me and my brother along for company. I have tried races from 5k to 50 miles and was not fast in any of them! I have coached only at SRVHS.

3) Who are/were your coaching mentors?
Tim O'Rourke, Ken Reeves, Walt Lange, and Pat Tyson. I talk to these guys all the time about everything. I got lucky and met these guys at the start of my coaching career and they have helped me understand so many things about coaching, teaching, and life in general.

4) Can you identify a runner or runners that took San Ramon Valley to it's current level of success.
The guys like Scott Bauhs, Dallin Rosdahl, John Martin, Justin Arnold, Tristan Blair, and the team of 2002 would be the obvious choices for the boys team. They won NCS and they raised the bar for the teams to come. They are now the legends that all of our teams chase and compare to. For the girls it was Katie Lee and Katie Murphy. They were huge competitors and they had a good team around them that made them even better in 1999.

5) Describe the summer training for SRV. Is there a team camp?
They meet at 8:30am in front of the gym and the captains have 4-8 different plans posted and they run the show. I come by as I finish my morning run to check with the group once or twice a week. Each day has mileage ideas and that gets them moving, the more structured in terms of how far each day has made summer running a lot more popular for us (organized summers came from Joe Kelly the great Peninsula-Palos Verdes coach, another mentor). We go to Mammoth for a week in July. We run a bunch of runs that Ken Reeves showed me years ago. We take 15-25 kids each year all levels of ability.

6) How do you find and attract students to run cross country? How big is your team?
It's hit or miss, some years it's big and some years not so much. I don't send anything out to the middle schools, if they come they come. I get a lot from track each spring to come out the next fall. This year we have our biggest squad ever at 90 kids.

7) NCS Division I appears to be loaded with 7-8 teams capable of qualifying to the state meet (top 2 advance). Have you ever seen a season this competitive for the state meet berths?
It is going to be brutal! I have not seen it this deep in Division 1 ever. Those two spots are going to hard fought victories.

8) Scott Bauhs has had some spectacular times and finishes running at Chico St. Did you have any inclination that he would run so well in college?
He is doing great things and is THE legend around here. During his senior year when he kept getting better at the end of the season, it showed that he was for real. I am not surprised by his success, Gary Towne does a great job at Chico State, and Scott is not afraid of anyone or anything in terms of racing.

9) Describe the training area around SRV. How often do you get on the track during cross country season?
We have a pretty good set up here in Danville. A nice linear trail right behind the school goes for miles, which is great for tempos and everywhere else has some kind of hill to it. There are a lot of trails of steep hills behind the school and within 4 miles is Mount Diablo State Park which has a ton of places to run. We stay off the track during Cross Country until end of October. We run at a couple of parks (800 and 1k repeats) and circle streets that make nice loops (2k or mile repeats). Try to have variety to keep them fresh.

10) What is your biggest thrill in coaching? Most outstanding achievement?
Biggest thrill is seeing the group become a team, it is the greatest when everything really gels. That 2002 guys group at NCS was special, they had one of those days where everyone ran their best together. Scott's 3200 at State was the most exciting race of my career, it still gives me chills!

11) This year was the 2nd annual West Coast Distance Clinic. How did you come about starting the clinic?
Tim O'Rourke and I had been talking about doing something up here and I finally did it! You'll notice that the speakers at the first couple of years are also my mentors! I couldn't ask for a better group of guys to run a clinic with. I hope it continues to grow in attendance because we will keep bringing in great speakers. Next summer is going to be a lot of fun.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for asking the questions! The internet has made this sport even bigger and more exciting over the past ten years. It's guys like you that promote it that are driving this big upswing Cross Country, keep it rolling!!

Thank you Tim! AJC

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Catching up with Carlmont Coach Jeff Gilkey

Today, I am posting an interview with coach Jeff Gilkey. Jeff is his 4th. year coaching at Carlmont HS and in that short span, his teams and inviduals have established themselves as some of the best in California. His boys and girls' teams are currently ranked 5th and 4th, respectively, in the latest Northern California rankings. Thank you to Jeff for taking the time to answer the following questions after he returned from the Pepperdine Invitational.

1) Your ran at Arroyo Grande HS. What was your running experience post HS? post College? today?

I actually ran at Arroyo HS in El Monte, CA. Tim O'Rourke was my coach, he is currently the HS Meet Director for the Mt. Sac Relays and Mt. Sac Cross Country Invitational, he also runs the AAF/LA84 clinics at Mt. Sac. We won the first CA State Meet in 1987. I finished 6th in the state in XC and ran 9:03/4:17 in track. I ran collegiately for Cal State Northridge and Cal Poly Pomona.

2) How did you get interested in coaching? Who are your coaching mentors?
I was interested in coaching probably from the time I started running. I helped Coach O'Rourke as a volunteer a couple of years but then moved to San Francisco for work. My main influence is Tim O'Rourke. I've also learned much from Jim Sackett at Cal Poly Pomona and Walfred Solorzano.

3) How did you end up at Carlmont HS? How long have you been coaching at Carlmont? What is your occupation?
I've lived in San Francisco since 1996 and really wanted to get into coaching - I finally decided to do it in April of 2004 and the next day the Carlmont job was posted on Dyestatcal. This is the beginning of my 4th XC season. I work for a non-profit organization in the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco. I have 2 great bosses, Tracy Brown and Winston Williams who allow me to get off each day at 1:30pm and work on Sundays which allows me to coach.

4) How was your first year experience with Carlmont? What was the transition like to you being the coach? Did you coach at any other schools or levels before Carlmont?
The first year at Carlmont was a learning experience. The team had finished 2nd in State the year before but graduated 5 of 7. That first year it was a huge upset for our boys to win the PAL championship. The girls finished 3rd in PAL and it was a great success. I'm a pretty intense coach so getting the kids to get used to me was difficult at first. The good thing was I had a very young team who hadn't run for anyone before.

5) Has there been a runner or runners that you can single out that raised the bar for Carlmont distance running?
There are 2 runners that changed everything for the program. Caitlin Roake, who graduated in 2006, only ran for one year but her influence on the team was immeasurable. Caitlin was the runner that did whatever I asked with no question and no one works harder than her. The other runner is Greg Surh. Greg was the first athlete to buy into my philosophy and he led the team from the beginning stages to some very successful achievements.

6) What do you attribute the success to for the Carlmont Cross Country teams under your guidance?
The kids willingness to work hard is the main reason we are good. I was part of a successful program in high school and I expected Carlmont Cross Country to be successful. It may not be "fun" at my practices, but I believe the fun is in working hard to achieve the goals you set for yourself.

7) You are familiar with the success Carlmont has had in the past under Loren Lansberry. Are the current runners aware of the past success of Carlmont HS?
I'm aware of Coach Lansberry in hearing and reading about his success at Carlmont. My runners are very aware of Carlmont's past. One of the first things Brad Surh asked me after he ran 4:10.42 in the mile was what the conversion to 1600 was because our school record in the 1600 was 4:09.40 by Steve Miller in 1970. Brad converted to 4:08.97 and his was the first individual distance school record not set in the 1970's.

8) It seems you have been picking your spots in terms of racing Brad Surh and Justine Fedronic. How is their season going so far in terms of their racing and training? Justine was injured at the end of track season. Is she completely healed?
Brad will be running at Stanford this weekend. The reason for the late start is because Brad's track season lasted a month longer than most runners. He did run our league meet and looked very controlled. I'm excited for him to meet some good competition. I have been taking things slow with Justine. She didn't come back until almost the end of July. She is running very well but unfortunately was sick on Monday and Tuesday of last week which affected her race at Pepperdine. Justine knows her most important races are in November.

9) What are your goals for this year's teams? How do you prepare your teams for the transition of running in CCS and then competing against some of the best teams in state at the State Meet?
The goals for the girls is to be one of the Top 3 teams in California. The boys goal is to be Top 5 in California. I try to have my kids travel and compete in the best races so they get used to the different competition around the State. California is a tough state and the kids better understand what it out there if they want to compete. We beat 4 NTN ranked squads from different regions (#4 NW, #5 NW, #5 NE, #8 SW) and ran much faster than the #5 ranked California NTN team and the girls were very disappointed with their races. I don't like them to be upset but I was also very proud of their attitudes because they know they can be better.

10) Have you seen the size of your team increasing following the success of your past teams?
On the boys side I have seen increasing numbers because of kids coming out after track and I also have 14 freshman boys this season. It is the opposite on the girls side. I have only 10 runners on my team and we have difficulty getting more girls to join.

11) How often does your team run on the Crystal Springs course during the season? Track workouts? Mileage wise, do you consider your team a low, medium or high mileage program?
We don't work out at Crystal Springs very much considering how close it is to Carlmont. I think a runner can psyche themselves out if they have a bad workout on a race course before they race. We haven't worked out as much on the track this season except for a few early workouts to understand pace. I have a few loops of varying distances in parks that the kids use for intervals. Mileage is based on the athlete. Mary Rhoades and the top boys run 60-70 miles per week while someone like Justine will top out at 35 miles per week.

12) If you can think of anything else that you would like to add.
Thanks again for all you do. I hope to talk with you soon.

Thank you Jeff. AJC

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Catching up with Campo's Laurie Finnegan


This week, we chat with Laurie Finnegan of Campolindo who is the defending NCS Division III champion as well as a 6th place finisher at the 2006 XC State Meet (State meet pic courtesy of Campolindo XC Website). Campolindo has a great tradition of success in Cross Country, which was started by Coach Chris Walsh and now continued by Coach Chuck Woolridge, formerly of College Park. I think you will find Laurie's answers to the following twelve questions to be interesting and very informative.


1) How did you get involved in cross country and distance running in general?

I began running cross country in 6th grade when I lived in London. When I moved to the U.S. on my 14th birthday, I was extremely eager to follow in the footsteps of legends such as Vera Ross, Lindsey Allen, April Dyer, and other successful female athletes in the DFAL. They were Goddesses to me, I wanted to become like them, I wanted to be fast, I wanted to be an example, and I wanted to be a legend. So, I started my freshman year at Campolindo High School and was scared out of my wits, but the girls were extremely welcoming, and I fit in right away. I immediately fell in love with Walsh's program and the goofy traditions of the Campolindo girls' team.

2) How is your season going so far? Training? Racing?
So far, the 2007 season has gone very well. I'm keeping my eyes on November, and visioning every workout and every race as a stepping stone towards my end of season goals. Each of these steps is necessary and needs to be focused on individually in order to piece all the puzzle pieces together to form the big picture. All I need to do now is stay patient, be smart, and lead my team towards what's coming in November.

3) Catherine "Sparky" Murillo was your training and racing partner for the past three years. Describe her impact on your running.
I love Sparky, and I miss her terribly. We are extremely competitive in all aspects of our lives, not only in running. Coming in as a freshman, I chased her and copied her every move- I wanted to be just like her. Entering my sophomore year, we were running workouts together, and became extremely close friends. However, any time a gun went off, we were out to kill each other, naturally. By the time I was a junior and she was a senior, we were team captains together, and practically sisters. Walsh referred to us as "the bobsey twins" and "the dynamic duo". We created our own language (or style of speaking, rather) and used it often. By this point, our personalities and goals were so similar that we bickered and fought constantly, like sisters. But, we always returned to the calm focus that is necessary for the level of training which we were running at. Sparky is my hero, she is my idol, I strive to be as fast, passionate and dedicated as her, and I can't wait to see her destroy at UCSB! I'm also looking forward to racing against her in college.

4) How was the transition going from coach Chris Walsh to coach Chuck Woolridge after your sophomore season?
I know that I have been extremely lucky about the transition from Walsh to Chuck, both being the coaches of state champions. I feel that physically, the transition has been perfect for me, going from a conservative freshman and sophomore year, and slowly building up to the level of training that I am currently at. I am also lucky to be divided 50-50 by these two very different coaching styles. Walsh introduced me to the Campolindo traditions, which I am currently trying to keep alive, as I am almost the last year of "Walsh Runners" on the Campolindo team. Walsh taught me how to run with heart and guts, how to love, trust, and respect my teammates, and how to run with the mind and soul of a true Cross Country athlete. He laid the groundwork for the mental aspect of the sport, and taught me how to prepare myself emotionally for any hardships I may encounter, athletically or not. Transitioning to Chuck, his training focuses primarily on the scientific side of the sport. We began to do drills daily, and words such as efficiency, stride frequency, velocity, lactate threshold, specificity, etc. began to creep into our daily discussions after workouts. Chuck constantly attempts to clean up my messy form, increase my efficiency and stride frequency, and teach me all about the science of the sport. I am privileged to have been coached by two polar opposites, as I now feel like a very well rounded athlete.

5) Describe your summer training. What did you do differently this summer? What was your mileage like in the summer? Currently?
This summer, my training circled around team runs and staying healthy. This week, we have just finished the first cycle of training, so this past week was our hard week, about 45-50 MPW and next week will be the beginning of a new cycle, involving easy days and scavenger hunt runs!

6) You had quite a finish to your cross country season last year with winning the NCS Div. III race and your 6th place finish at state. Did that meet or surpass your expectations?
Both races exceeded my expectations mentally, but not physically. Chuck had trained me to achieve both of those goals, so all I had to do was trust in my training, and to mentally prepare myself for the races. Winning NCS had always been a daydream for mine since my freshman year, never a realistic goal- until my junior year. NCS was a very thought-out race for Campo, each girl had their own job, and each of us executed our race plans perfectly, securing our win. My duty to my team is to complete my job for every race, and if I don't then I've failed myself and my teammates, and that's no fun! According to Chuck, my individual job at NCS was to win, so I did, without even thinking twice. My girls deserve the very best! After finishing the race, I didn't even realize that I had won until my former teammate and big sister Marie Casabonne ran over screaming at me. The moment of realization was intense, and only then did I realize that my 2-year-long daydream had become a reality. Whenever I think about everything that happened that day, both the good and the bad, I still get goose bumps.

At State, my individual job was to get top 18, but my personal goal was to get top 7. Chuck and I decided that my plan should be to go out relaxed in the first mile, in about 17th place, and then work my way up to my desired position in the middle mile. Halfway through the race, a feeling of fearlessness which I had never experienced before (and have not yet experienced since) crept into my mind and my heart. Energized from this feeling, I worked my way up through that middle mile, tried to hold on to my spot, and barely out kicked the 7th place runner at the end. I know that if I had not taken that chance in the middle mile, I would have barely finished top 20 or even 25. I finished in 6th place, saw a state medal for the first time (let alone received one), stood on the podium for the first time, and smiled until my face hurt. I couldn't help but smile, all of my goals for the season had been reached, and I had absolutely no regrets about the season. It was as close to the perfect season as I could imagine getting, which definitely exceeded my expectations.

7) Campolindo also won the team title after 3rd and 2nd place finishes your freshman and sophomore seasons respectively. Describe the difference between an individual and team championship.
My sophomore year, we were not only 2nd place at NCS to Miramonte (our school rivals in practically all sports) but we got 4th at state to Miramonte as well, barely missing podium spots. After NCS last year, the Campo girls team warmed down, wondering if we had won or not. Receiving my individual medal at the award ceremony was satisfying, but at that point, all I wanted to do was hear the team results. When revealing who the 2nd place team was, the announcer took his time- first mentioning how well the "cats" had raced that season, and how glad he was that they took 2nd place. But both the Campolindo Cougars and the Maria Carrillo Puma's are cats! We were going crazy, I couldn't stop fidgeting and shaking! When Maria Carrillo was finally announced as runners up, I began to cry uncontrollably. It was so embarrassing! I just couldn't believe we had finally done it. I was so proud of my girls! In all of the pictures, I'm all red and puffy with tears streaming down my cheeks- what can I say? I'm a big dork! I know that if we had gotten 2nd as a team again that year, then my individual medal could mean absolutely nothing to me. It would be sitting in my shoebox with all my other medals, instead of being proudly hung on my wall right next to my team medal.

8) Who are the closest challengers for this year's NCS individual title and for Campolindo for the team title?
Well, the Curtin twins from Maria Carrillo are ready to make some noise, as is the Maria Carrillo team in general. Other than that, I can honestly say that I have no idea what will happen at this point in time. It's all about who's ready in late October!

9) Have you narrowed your search for a college? How much will running impact your decision to what college you will attend?
I am definitely running in college, I'm just not sure where yet. I'm trying to keep my options open, as I am trying to find a good fit for myself both academically and athletically. I'm trying to keep in mind the question that Walsh often asks me: If God cut my legs off tomorrow, would I still want to attend most of the colleges on my list? It's a difficult process, especially with running mixed in!

10) What is your favorite training area? Workout? Race course? Competitor? Best tradition for Campolindo XC?
For LSD's, any Campolindo athlete will agree that Redwood Regional Park is heaven! My favorite workout is the 2x1600, 2x800 workout we run at Hayward HS the week before NCS. Everyone always runs fast, because we are peaking, and the crispness of the early morning air stinging your lungs really wakes you up. Plus, the satisfaction of warming down after a good workout while 10 other teams arrive to start their workout is always enjoyable. Actually, during this workout last year, Sparky tripped in a huge pile of mud during the warm-up, causing me to trip OVER her and ruin my nice white gloves, which are still stained! We're clumsy in the morning.

My favorite race course is the Woodward Park course, simply because it presents a different challenge every time I race there, so no one can ever really know that to expect! Sparky is probably my favorite competitor, although I always loved racing against Miramonte's Elaine Tanski because she is such a sweetheart. However, my new teammate Grace Orders is proving to be extremely entertaining to run with! Campolindo has so many traditions; it's extremely difficult for me to name just one favorite. However, the pre-NCS tea party is always a season highlight. Dress code requirements include: slacks, button down shirts, ties, and nice shoes for boys, and dresses and sun hats (if available) for girls. We drink tea, speak in British accents, eat scones, and act like the ladies and gentlemen that we are! Then, we proceed to run like savages the following Saturday at the NCS meet.

11) I am a freshman who has never run before. Why should I try Cross Country?
From my perspective, Cross Country has taught me values which I can carry over to all aspects of my life. Respect, endurance, friendship, loyalty, pain, fear, failure, success, faith, and many many others. In addition, no matter what speed you run at, running Cross Country in high school will be four years of fun memories which you will never forget. The bonds created between teammates who see each other's hard work pay off are unlike any other experience. There is a certain satisfaction in attaining your own personal goals, whatever they are, that can only be achieved through a sport of mental-toughness such as cross country.

12) Anything else that you would like to add.
I would just like to thank everyone who has made the past 4 years of my running experience so amazing for me. I'm going to make the best of this last year, but feel fully prepared to enter college not only athletically and academically, but as a person in general. I'll never forget the memories! Gal 6:9. COAST ORB STATE!

Thank you Laurie. AJC

Monday, September 24, 2007

Norcal Rankings #3

As we head into Stanford week, here is the 3rd installment of the top 10 Norcal (CCS, NCS, NS, OAK, SF and SJS) teams and individuals for boys and girls. Many of those listed below will race on "the farm" this Saturday giving us great match-ups and the first race of the season that we can truly compare the elite in Northern California.

The following list will be updated throughout the season leading up to the California state meet.


Boys .................................................Girls1) Petaluma NCS...................................1) Carondelet NCS
2)
Davis Sr. SJS....................................2) Davis Sr. SJS
3)
Woodcreek SJS.................................3) Ponderosa SJS
4) Willow Glen CCS..............................4) Carlmont CCS
5)
Carlmont CCS...................................5) Mt. View CCS
6)
Jesuit SJS.........................................6) St. Ignatius CCS
7) Amador Valley NCS
...........................7) Castro Valley NCS
8)
Oak Ridge SJS..................................8) Maria Carrillo NCS
9)
Bellarmine CCS.................................9) St. Francis, Sacramento SJS
10)
Skyline OAK...................................10) Del Oro SJS
Honorable Mention (5 teams added in no particular order)
Del Campo SJS.....................................Placer SJS
Maria Carrillo NCS...............................Mt. Shasta NS
De La Salle NCS....................................Aptos CCS
North Monterey County CCS.................. St. Francis, Mt. View CCS
Las Lomas NCS.....................................Campolindo NCS

Boys' Individuals
1) German Fernandez (12) Riverbank SJS
2) Mohammed Abdalla (12) Willow Glen CCS
3)
Philip MacQuitty (10) Palo Alto CCS
4)
James Tracy (12) Del Campo SJS
5)
Brad Surh (12) Carlmont CCS
6) Nate Beach (12) Acalanes NCS
7)
Matt Duffy (12) St. Mary's College NCS
8)
James Attarian (12) Dublin NCS
9) Diego Estrada (12) Alisal CCS
10)
Tyre Johnson (11) Palma CCS

Girls' Individual
1)
Laurynne Chetelet (12) Davis Sr. SJS
2)
Jacque Taylor (10) Casa Grande NCS
3)
Nicole Hood (10) Carondelet NCS
4) Shelby Golan (12) St. Francis, Mt. View CCS
5)
Katy Daly (11) St. Ignatius CCS
6)
Justine Fedronic (11) Carlmont CCS
7) Diana George (11) Livermore NCS
8) Deborah Maier (12) Ponderosa SJS
9)
Samantha Hamilton (10) Half Moon Bay CCS
10) Stephanie Barnett (11) Leland CCS

Feel free to comment on the list above. If you feel that a team or individual is missing or should be higher up on the list, please let me know. If you don't want your comment to be made public, you can email me at acaru@csus.com

Only two days left to vote in the poll to the right.

Scroll down below to the article about Palo Alto's Charlie Avis as well as the interview with Petaluma coach Jim Lynch.

Cross Country Runner Rides to Victory

“Cody and I hammered to get away and went through the finishing area with one to go and a 10 second lead. Ian and AJ tried hard to attack and bridge up to Cody and I, but the opponent would have nothing of it and found new legs to stick to them. Cody and I pushed very hard for the rest of the lap and turned onto the finishing straight with no one behind us. I wanted to roll across the line together but Cody was more fond of a mano-a-mano sprint. So we sprinted and I pipped him at the line for the win.”

Since this is a running site, you would think that description came from a cross country or track race, but in fact it is part of Charlie Avis’s own account of his victory as a member of the US Junior Cycling team this summer. The race was a culmination of six races in Belgium for Avis, who received his invitation to join the team following his participation in the Junior Nationals in Pittsburgh.

Avis, a junior at Palo Alto High School, is also a member of the school’s cross country team that, while better known for their #1 runner, Philip MacQuitty, will be one of the three favorites to win Central Coast Section (CCS) Division II title. In his first race this season, at the Gunn Alumni meet, Avis finished a promising 4th (1st on his team), which is quite impressive for someone who only seriously started running in August, and in light of coach Jeff Billing’s pre-meet instructions to run at 80%.

According to his mom Anne, Charlie ran before he could walk. As far back as he can remember, Charlie, seen here running at the Lowell Invitational) has always been a good runner, dating back to winning all the mile runs in elementary school. He joined the middle school cross country team at Crystal Springs Uplands and quickly established himself as the best runner in league. During his past two high school seasons, Charlie recorded promising 16:58 (9th grade) and 16:24 (10th grade) times on the famed Crystal Springs Course. (Photo courtesy of Gillian Lui of the Paly Voice.)

Avis currently rides for the AMD-Discovery Junior Cycling Team with much of his racing taking place in the summer. While cycling is not an official NCAA sport, many schools have cycling teams that compete in the Collegiate Nationals (Stanford was the national champion last year). A school’s riding team, while important to Avis, will be part of the consideration when it comes time for him to make his college selection. Ultimately, his goal is to turn pro.

His start in cycling took place after his 6th grade school year when his dad Greg bought him a road bike so he could join his father’s Sunday morning rides. His passion for cycling was further fueled during the family trips to France over three consecutive summers (2002-2004). There, he was able to watch Lance Armstrong dominate the Tour de France as he won this 4th, 5th and 6th consecutive titles.

With a history of injuries at the tail end of the past three seasons, Coach Billing has taken special care to not rush Avis back into running. Upon his return from Belgium, Avis started with a few days a week of running and worked conservatively toward the current 6 days per week. To keep his riding legs, Avis continues to ride twice a week including an occasional morning ride on Thursdays. Avis feels that the cycling helps his running aerobically, and with his “frail” legs, he can, without chance of injury, really push himself on the bike to supplement his training.

Avis is very excited and looking forward to the CCS race this year since it will once again take place on his favorite cross country course, Crystal Springs. With his experience on the course during middle school and high school, Charlie feels as if he knows the course better than any other runner. Along with MacQuitty and Avis, Palo Alto boasts 8 solid runners (1 junior, the rest seniors), which gives them a great chance to qualify for state along with pre-season favorites, Los Gatos and Santa Clara.

During the spring season, Avis is also middle infielder for the Palo Alto baseball team. In his opinion, the sport is a nice break from the wear and tear of running and cycling. It’s nice to see an athlete enjoy multiple sports during his high school career as opposed to what Patrick Welsh in USA Today called “the growing phenomenon of coaches and parents pressuring kids to specialize in one sport.” With the current balancing act among the three sports, Avis is very much looking forward to future improvement once he can focus on cycling in his collegiate years and beyond.

So what is the tougher sport you might ask? While a 5K run is quite painful, according to Avis, “nothing can waste you quite like a bike race.”

Photos courtesy of AMD-Discovery Channel Cycling Blog and the Paly HS XC Website.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Northern California Cross Country Newspaper Coverage

Woodside's Filipcik 4th at Lowell Invite
California teams run away with title (Iolani Invitational)
Redwood runs fifth in Lowell Invitational
Palo Alto's MacQuitty tops major meet (Lowell Invitational)

Only a few more day to vote for the best male xc runner in NCS.

Norcal and NCS rankings coming in the next few days as well as more interviews with some of the top runners and coaches in Northern California.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Catching up with Petaluma coach Jim Lynch

As the season progresses, I will be posting questions and answers with coaches and athletes from some of the top cross country programs in Northern California.

Thank you very much to Petaluma coach Jim Lynch (boys are top ranked team in No. California) for getting this project rolling with his in depth and informative answers to the following dozen questions.

1) How long have you been coaching at Petaluma High School?

This is my fourth cross country season at Petaluma High. I also took over last track season as Head Track Coach after three years as distance coach.

2) What were your own running and coaching experiences prior to Petaluma HS?
My own running experience developed over many years. I began recreationally after high school in the late 70's. From there I began to get more competitive in the early 90's. I really became a student of the sport from both the athlete standpoint to the physical components of training. I studied and learned through my own training and research. Through trial and error I developed a philosophy (based on the great teachers of the sport) of proper training. Being a Paramedic and having a good working knowledge of physiology I used those tools also to apply to training. I chose to begin coaching high school when my oldest daughter went to high school at St Vincent's in Petaluma in the late 90's. I assisted one year with cross country then started up the track program there in 2000. In 2003 our girls won the NCS Class A Championship. One year later in January 2004 I wanted a cross country program and Petaluma became available and the rest is history.

3) How was your first experience coaching with Petaluma HS? What was the transition like for you from the previous coach?
Very challenging. The program had done well with the girls and they had won some Sonoma County League Championships. However, I did not sense a real belief that this school and kids could compete at a higher level. I came with the attitude that we were going to achieve greatness and that meant deep commitment, effort, and belief in the system. One difficulty was the thought amongst kids and parents that we did not have the area to train. We had schools like Mario Carrillo, Montgomery and Santa Rosa that had the trail systems available and we had a regional park with 4 miles or so of hilly trails. My attitude back to them was how did Jim Ryun become what he did living in Kansas??? The other issues were the older kids and their thoughts on training and working hard, which included summer training and track participation. Basically become year round runners. I had kids who were afraid of that and some parents tried to run me out of town saying I demanded too much and made them work hard. (It would not be that far out of town because I live 1/4 mile from the school). Fortunately a wonderful Principal and Athletic Director who had belief in me and the transition they saw, gave me the support I needed to adjust the new attitude. I had asked for 3-5 years to get this thing off the ground my way. They supported that. I would not compromise my integrity and belief in what needed to happen. I would quit coaching before that.

4) Can you identify a runner or runners that raised the level of Petaluma Cross Country?
Without question after year one a young man stepped up and bought the package I was selling. Jason Grubb. He brought leadership and attitude from mental preparation, to training and racing that raised the bar. We also had the amazing group of young freshman Sterling Lockert, Brandon Felipe and Benjamin Stern along with second year runner Cole Yungert that became students and believers in what we were doing. They listened and trained and brought the attitude I was looking for to our program.

5) In terms of all the accomplishments from last year, did you feel like the team reached all of your goals? Their own goals?
Without question we accomplished our goals as a team and more. Our pre-season goals were to win the League crown, win the NCS meet and place top 10 at State. We had been 13 the year before. The boys said to me they wanted top 5. I did not discourage that but thought it lofty. They sure proved me wrong. Regarding their own goals I think they were young and really thought more team oriented. I think they really believed they could break the Spring Lake course record. With no competition at our league finals we fell short. However, yesterday we did it!

6) How are you dealing with all the expectations for this year's team?
How are the runners handling it?
Honestly, I do feel some pressure. I really believe that these kids could do something memorable this year. I also realize how long the season is and how important it is to train and peak well. I believe the system is in place for that to happen. We want to be our best come November. The rankings and hoopla this time of year to me means nothing. It is nice but we have seen the fall of many come November.

When I think of how proud I am of these young men nothing moves me more then their growth as young adults. This year I have been stunned that these young boys are now young men. They have matured beyond their years. They are confident, relaxed, and training well. They are excited at the prospect of the year to come. Our first race of the year we ran okay. Some boys were a little flat from training. What amazed me was the confidence they had in being aware of that fact and the attitude that they know we will be our best at the right time.

7) Does the team go to a summer camp? How often did they get to train together over the summer?
Yes we go to the Tahoe Donner area each year. Almost everyday they train together. The boys are close and they met together most week nights and weekends. It is made very clear to our athletes that the returning members to our team are expected to be at a certain level. They are given summer training programs. Practice schedule and workouts for the season are out in early July. They know what’s coming from Varsity to JV. They know they better be ready.

8) Do you consider your program to be low, medium or high mileage program?
This is one of those secrets. What I will say is I do not believe high mileage at high school level is the end all. I believe in progressive training over their years with us. Our Varsity boys for the first time ran a good amount this summer but their bodies were ready. To some it may seem high to others low. Each year our training goes up for each runner. I would say all in all were probably upper middle of the road but very consistent. Mileage is important, so is quality but most important is a healthy, confident high school kid not run into the ground.

9) Describe your training routes around your school? Do you stay mostly on the roads? Trails? Do you do track workouts during cross country season?
Shorter runs are done around residential areas. These are road runs. We are 10 minutes from our park trail system. I would say at least half our runs are on trails. It amazes me that the 4 miles of trails we have cover what we need to accomplish all our types of training. Yes we repeat some of our longer runs and workouts over the same soil but that develops toughness. We have a time trial course around the school. The only "track workouts" we do is some tail end of the season speed training. Otherwise workouts are around campus and on trails.

10) Have you seen the size of your team increase following the success of your past teams?
No doubt. Petaluma has historically drawn only 18-20 kids. This year we are at 36 kids. 26 of these are boys. This is the biggest team by far in school history. The one area that is hurting is in our girls ranks. I have worked hard to recruit girls. It is my one let down. We won two championships my first two years with only 7-8 girls. This year numbers are up and we are at 10. I think we are making good in roads in the school and I sense the girls program will be on the rise over the next couple of years. I also think we have girls now who want to compete and are eager to recruit. I think the next couple of years could be exciting for our girls. My daughter arrives in two years and she is already recruiting.

11) Describe last year's NCS race. Eureka gave your team quite a battle. Was that expected? Going into the race, who did you feel was your team's closest competitor?
I believe we ran a very good race. If you would have told me in advance of the times we would run that day and said would you take it, I would say yes!! I also would have thought a very convincing win. However, Eureka had a stellar day. They absolutely ran incredible. I did not expect it in the scouting I had done. I knew two could break our first five but did not see the next three guys. I felt De La Salle would be competitive. I also had attended the NBL Finals the week before and Montgomery had run unbelievable against Mario Carrillo in their finals. We ran the NCS meet at the hottest point of the day and I think both us and Eureka had two of the fastest team times of the day. So it ended fairly close.

12) If there is anything else you would like to add.
I began coaching because I believed I could make a difference in young people’s lives. The influence of my high school coaches left such an impact in my life I always felt a day would come I could return the gift. Kids respond to discipline, knowing their loved and the knowledge that someone believes in them and is going to make them work to their potential. I think more than miles and workouts the most overlooked aspect is the emotional and mental aspect of training kids. I truly believe this has been the heart of some success I have had. My heart is the place I come from and kids respond to that. I drill into the kids I coach that being the best you can be is what this is all about. Failure only happens at a personal level and relates to not being the best you can be. My emotional moments in this sport( I am very emotional!!) come from seeing kids achieve their potential no matter how small or great it is and watching the athletes I have had become productive and confident adults. High school athletics is the ultimate life experience. What a gift to be a part of that and have an impact in young people’s lives!!!

Thank you again Jim.