Monday, September 14, 2009

Catching up with Petaluma runner Hugh Dowdy...

Today we catch up with a runner who has made quite a bit of noise on the trails with some spectacular early season times, Petaluma runner, Hugh Dowdy. This past Saturday, Dowdy finished 2nd at the Ed Sias Small School varsity race behind national class runner, Erik Olson of Novato. He's taken over the role of team leader on the Petaluma squad following the graduation of the Lockert brothers (Sterling and Devin). Petaluma has won two team state meet plaques the past two seasons as well as 2 NCS champions in the past 3 years. With Dowdy leading the way this year, they are continuing the winning tradition established by the team in purple.

1) How did you get started in the sport of cross country?
To be honest, I started XC as training for the 400 meters; I started my sophomore year, after a year in track as a sprinter. Michael Carroll, now a sprinter for Claremont McKenna College had done just the same, and I looked up to him as a friend and a very strong athlete.

2) Tell us a little about your experience as a freshman on the team.
Like I said, I didn't start Cross Country till I was a Sophomore.

3) When do you feel like you made the transition to the runner you are today and began to feel like you belonged with the elite runners in NCS?
The transition period for me was somewhere in the summer between my sophomore year and junior year, when I decided I did not want to let go of Sterling, in any run. I tried, sometimes too hard, to stay with him in runs ranging from tempo workouts to easy fun-runs.

4) What changed for you in terms of training that helped you improve as a runner?
I don't quite remember any significant change in training during that transition, aside from a sheer increase in mileage, but when I started running with Sterling, intensity rose in my workouts, and emotion played a much bigger role.

5) Did you do anything different this past summer than previous summers with your training?
Again, aside from maybe a few more miles a week, summer training pretty well resembled that of last year, but I was a lot more on my own this year.

6) Petaluma had quite a senior group of boys last year. What are some of your highlights with that team?
The chemistry last year's team had was probably what is most memorable to me. While we had some flares, and arguments, the team had been growing closer over the past few years. There was the loss of a few key players to graduation, but more or less, it was the same old group, and we kept it pretty fresh.

7) Tell us a little about the transition to this year's team without those runners.
Well, the tightness of last year's team had its ups and downs, in that we were so locked in with each others' rhythms and how to run together, but it resulted in a separation of the Varsity team from the JV fellas. I was lucky enough to have a rather smooth transition between the two groups of runners, the leaving Varsity team, and the upcoming guys. Of course I have taken on a role of leadership as the most experienced Varsity runner, but the fire and devotion in the guys has a familiarity to it that also helped.

8) Favorite cross country workout? Favorite run? Favorite course? Favorite invitational? Favorite competitor?
My favorite workout would have to be either Mile Tempo Loops or Hill Repeats. As far as races and courses are concerned, I can't say I have a favorite. I think that is one of the drawing points to Cross Country for me, that each race, course, experience is totally different from the next. But to answer instinctively, Woodward is always an interesting experience.

9) What are your track and field personal records? What do you feel is your best race in track?
I feel like i have to start off with saying that I feel i did not find myself satisfied with anything I did this last year in track, that it was basically a wash. Having said that, my mile PR is 4:26 (sophomore; after 6 weeks of missed training due to tendinitis of the knee), and I ran 9:40(junior) in the 2-mile. Needless to say, I was disappointed in not breaking my sophomore mile time, and I felt like i left the season with a pretty insubstantial time for the 2-mile, and to be honest, I don't know what I want to focus on this coming year. For now I just have to focus on XC and staying strong and healthy.

10) What has coach Lynch meant to the Petaluma cross country and track and field programs?
Coach Lynch has meant everything to this program. Looking back a few years, participation in the sport was at a very low count with only the self motivated and extremely dedicated remaining. With a little luck in the addition of some very naturally gifted runners, and quite a bit of very dedicated research and forming of a training program (and various other aspects of the sport), Jim molded the team into a powerhouse not only in the NCS, but Statewide. And as you know, success fosters interest; resulting in a very populated Petaluma program.

11) What would be your advice for freshmen starting out in the sport of cross country who want to reach a high level in the sport?
To keep it simple, my advice would be diligence, and not to become over enthusiastic with training. Over training has been the decline of many a great runner.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Personally, i am just excited for my senior year of Cross Country and to see how it unfolds.

Thank you very much for your time Hugh! AJC


a400m_runner said...

Wow, this kid seems quite genuine. What kinds of times are the kids on the west coast running?

Sterling Lockert said...

I'd say hugh is more an elite runner in the state than just NCS. The state is stacked, but he's right up there with the best. Hugh well spoken ol' chap.
And the west coast times, to be a competitor in the 3200 i'd say sub 9:10 this year might get you top 10-15. lol. or in the case of last year 9:01 gets your 10th.

Albert Caruana said...

Are you asking about cross country times Mr. 400m. runner? Sterling gave you an idea of 3200m. times.

As for Hugh and where he stands at the state level, finishing 2nd behind Erik Olson should give you an idea.

Jim Crowhurst said...

From Jim Crowhurst
Here are some names you might recognize to compare where Hugh is at.
California's Woodward Park 5,000m course bests
Hugh ran 16:03 last year as a junior.
1. German Fernandez (Riverbank-SJS) 14:24 2007 State Meet
2. Marc Davis (San Diego) 1986 14:38
3. Eric Reynolds (Camarillo) 1982 14:39
3. Bryan Dameworth (Agoura) 1989 14:39
5. Jay Marden (Mission San Jose, Fremont) 14:40
6. Louie Quintana (Arroyo Grande) 1990 14:47
7. Tom Ansberry (Santa Rita, Tucson, Az) 1980 14:49
7. Calvin Gaziano (Castro Valley) 1984 14:49
9. Ryan Hall (Big Bear) 2000 14:50
10. Jon Butler (Edison, Huntington Beach) 1980 14:52

Bests from Hugh's area
Ryan Mack Ukiah 1998 15:23
Todd Trask Healdsburg 1986 15:24
Celedonia Rodriguez Elsie Allen 1998 15:25
Sterling Lockert Petaluma 2008 15:25
Rory McLeod Santa Rosa 2008 15:30

Albert Caruana said...

Thank you Jim for chiming in.

For those of you that are not aware, Jim Crowhurst does a fantastic job of collecting historical data for Redwood Empire runners. Let's call him the Hank Lawson/Walt Van Zant of the North Bay.

Check out his site at the following link:

An unbelievable resource for runners, coaches and parents in that area.

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