What school fielded the best girls' xc team in CA in 2007 (and 2006 for that matter)? The answer is a clear and definite one and that is Saugus HS. They broke 7 course records during the '07 season including the CA state meet team record by 32 seconds. Their lone loss was at the Nike Team Nationals (NTN) race as they finished 2nd to one of the best girls' team ever, Fayetteville-Manlius HS. They will once again be the favorites to win their 3rd consecutive CA state meet division I crown as they return 4 out of their top 5 girls from last season.
The following is an interview with their coach, Rene Paragas as he was gracious enough to answer my questions. Enjoy!
1) How did you get your start in distance running and tell us a little about your competitive time in the sport.
2) What led you to choose teaching and coaching as your profession?
3) What do you think are the biggest changes in the sport of cross country that you have seen between your competitive time and now?
4) Who are your coaching mentors that helped you become the coach that you are today?
Plus I'm a big fan of Jack Daniels and Arthur Lydiard.
5) How long have you coached at Saugus HS and did you coach anywhere else before?
6) What was the state of the program when you took over? What kind of changes did you make and what did you keep status quo?
7) Can you identify a runner(s) that helped elevate Saugus to the level that it has reached today.
8) What do you think attracts students from your school to come out for xc and track? What do you do personally to get students to come out for your sport?
9) What workouts do you consider as keys to the success of your program? What does a typical week look like for your team?
Sunday: 3-10 miles very easy OYO
Monday: 5-7x mile Cruise Intervals
Tuesday: 90-120 minute LSD with surges
Wednesday: 60-minute recovery run
Thursday: 20min Track Tempo with 200m Reps afterward.
Friday: 60-minute recovery run
Saturday: 8-10 miles on hilly trails at high aerobic pace
10) Describe the training area around Saugus. Positives and negatives?
The positives of training in our area is that we have hills, a large grass park about a mile from our school, an all-weather track and a flat paved bike path with no signals that goes on for 5-miles.
The negatives is that it is hot, hot and hot! Just about everyday is over 90 degrees in our area until October with many days in the 100-105 degree range. It's also difficult to find runs that are not all pavement.
11) Tell us a little about your teams' NTN experience from the past two seasons. How do you get a team to compete well in the tough SS, the state meet and then NTN over a short span of time?
12) Anything else you would like to add.
Thank you very much for your time Rene!