1) How did you get your start in running? What other sports did you play besides xc and tf?
I got involved in Cross Country from a very early age, since I was in the 3rd grade. It was for the Catholic primary school St. Mary’s and I did it mostly to socialize with my elementary school friends. Later during the track season, I decided to try the 1600, and eventually got a bronze medal at the Diocese meet (Championships for schools involved in CYO track) for 3rd graders. After I finished that race, I remember being very proud of my little bronze medal. As well as cross country and track, I played water polo year round, and swam during the summer.
Eventually however, I started to show potential in distance running. It was during 6th grade Cross Country season when I realized this was my sport. Under the tutelage of my CYO coach Rich Vasquez, I began doing 2-3 mile runs on a daily basis, and was taught the importance and the how of building an aerobic base. I placed 4th in the Diocese Cross Country meet, and attracted the attention of Kevin McCarthy, who told me he was assembling a team called “The Pleasanton Heat”, and that I had the potential to compete at the USATF Junior Olympics in Lawrence, Kansas. I began training with my teammates in Pleasanton, including Parker Duel, Tyler Sorenson, Nolan Peterson, Connor McCarthy, the Schlacte brothers, Natalie Dimits and Sophie Hartley. Gabe Arias, Blair Hurlock, Cody Mayer and Adler Faulkner would also join the team a few years later.
Anyways, when I arrived in Lawrence, the USATF had prepared a treat for the athletes. It was the Olympic legend Billy Mill’s hometown, and he gave a motivational speech in KU’s amphitheater. Listening to him tell his story and speak gave me goose bumps. I decided this running thing was very unique, and that it made me feel very different than swimming or water polo did.
2) What were your track personal records going into high school?
Going into high school, I had personal records of
3) Tell us a little about your first two years in cross country at Las Lomas HS. What were your best performances?
I enjoyed my first two years at Las Lomas. Freshmen year I was surrounded by a group of upper class men who were fun to be around, and made my first year of high school very easy. My sophomore year I was a part of a less unified team, but we were young and as far as we were concerned, had the potential to set the state on fire. Although I felt lonely racing by myself up front with DFAL’s other athletes, I was proud to represent my team.
Two performances stick out in my head for my time at Las Lomas. The first was when I ran 15:52 at NCS, breaking Jake Schmidt’s Freshman course record. The next was my Sophomore year at the DFAL championships, where Vinson Compestine and I had a very close race.
4) What about your track seasons? What were your best races?
In both of my Las Lomas track seasons, my best race was always at the Dan Gabor Invitational. Freshman year I ran 9:41, as a Sophomore I ran 9:32.
5) What led to your transfer to Campolindo HS?
I only go through high school once, and wanted to increase my chances at being the best I could achieve in both academics and athletics. My initial interest to transfer to Campolindo was from the perspective of an athlete. The NCS had changed the Bylaws for intra-district transfers, changing it from sitting out one year, to sitting out until October 1st. Chuck’s army had just had the best season in NCS cross country history, with both the boy’s and the girl’s team setting the team record for accumulated times.
However I was still hesitant, because I didn’t want to make this big of a decision based solely on my sport. As I talked about it with my parents however, we came to the conclusion that a different environment, as well as the classes and programs Campolindo had, could potentially offer me a lot as a student and not only as an athlete. Thus I made the decision to transfer, and am very happy that I did.
6) What did you do differently this summer training wise leading up to your cross country season?
The mileage went up slightly at 65-70 per week. Besides a long run of 11-13 miles on Sunday, the rest of the week consisted of easy runs, with maybe two or three double days.
7) Since you couldn't race during September, what did you do during the month to simulate races?
I didn’t do anything special to simulate races. I did some mile repeats at Newhall park before my team mates ran the DFAL meet, but other than that Chuck told me to take easy days and to enjoy the races.
8) Training wise, what do you feel have been the biggest changes for you and what has been the biggest aid to your performances at the races?
Between morning core circuits, pool days, our weight routine and finally stretching regularly, Chuck’s training system has made me more of a complete athlete. Before, I would completely rely on my aerobic base to compete. To me, working on things like strength, running technique, and range of motion, only took away from my time running. At Campolindo however, these key parts of being a runner that I have ignored are being addressed, and have paid big dividends.
9) Going into the NCS meet, what was your race plan going into the race?
Going into NCS, very little pressure was placed on me. People expected me to be in contention, but I had not posted results that gave them reason to believe I could win.
As well as this, I was more concerned with helping my team win. Chuck told me that my job was to at the very least, finish top five, which I knew I could do.
10) How did the race develop and when did you decide to make your move?
The race started, with me sprinting to get to the front, running next to Fred Huxham, and staying there for the next 2.3 miles or so. Running next to Huxham, I felt very relaxed for the first two miles. When we hit the track (about 1200 meters left), we had separated from the rest of the field. The track was sloppy, with a thick layer of rain sitting on top of it, and the mud offering no consolation in terms of traction. In my head I heard Chuck say “Increase your cadence, so as to avoid slipping”, and so I did. As my cadence increased, I started to pull away from Huxham. I did not originally have the intention to pull away, but feeling amazing, I kept it going into the finish. I am still surprised on how good I felt throughout the race.
11) Tell us a little about competing in the DFAL and who are some of the runners that you looked up to as a freshman and sophomore?
Competing within DFAL has not been easy this year. Between Tyler Hanson and I, as well as the three competing schools of Miramonte, Acalanes, and Campolindo, we should be looking to make a very strong representation of DFAL at state.
Sophomore year, I looked up to Campo’s pair of Thomas Joyce and Carrie Verdon as idols. Between both of them dominating their races at NCS for Cross Country, as well as winning their races at the Azusa Pacific invitational for the mile, I was stunned.
12) Anything else you would like to add.
I’d like to thank all my coaches. Thanks Rich Vasquez and Kevin McCarthy for developing me as a runner before high school. Thanks to Cynthia Green and Dan Mattigon and Andrew Schrieber for being patient with me during my Las Lomas days, as well as handling the transfer with grace. Thanks to Chuck for telling me to increase my cadence, and thanks to my team mates on both the boy’s and girl’s side for being hip and cool.
Finally… watch out for Campolindo at state.
Thank you very much for your time Aidan! AJC