1) What was your own athletic experience? What high school did you attend? Highlights?
I participated in XC and Track starting my senior year in high school. I attended Clayton Valley. During cross country, we placed second in the section behind eventual 3rd place state meet Livermore team (1994), going on to finish 5th in state. In track, I ran the 800, 1600, and 3200. I went on to run at DVC and then Chico State. I picked up the steeplechase during my freshmen year in college, having moderate success including a trip to the state meet my sophomore year, and a few all-conference awards in junior college and at Chico.
2) Who were your coaches before and during high school and what did you learn from them?
I was coached by Ron Silveira and John Millar in high school, Kevin Searls and Jim Costa at DVC, and Gary Towne and Kevin Selby at Chico.
I learned an enormous amount about running and life through my coaches. I was very lucky to have exceptional coaches throughout my running career. They were all very knowledgeable and patient. Although I started running relatively late (senior year in high school), it changed my life in dramatic ways. I highly doubt I would be a teacher if it weren't for running, and I certainly wouldn't be a coach. I learned how to work hard and be a dependable teammate. I learned how to compete with good sportsmanship, and I learned how important a role a coach can play in a young person's life.
3) Aside from coaching, what else do you do at Clayton Valley? How long have you been at the school?
I have been at Clayton Valley since spring 2012. I teach world and US history in the Clayton Arts Academy. I also teach Sociology and coach track.
4) What was the state of the two programs before you started coaching?
Clayton Valley was a solid program for years under Michelle Howisey, and a year under Greg Fister, especially on the girls' side. I inherited some very motivated runners and a solid team culture which I have tried to carry on.
5) What changes did you make that you feel helped getting the cross country team heading in the right direction?
I was fortunate to have five years of track and cross country coaching experience at Oroville High School, before I started the job at Clayton Valley. I had a great deal of success at that school, coaching alongside Michael Buchanan, including three division IV section championships between the boys and girls. That experience was very valuable in learning how to motivate a team, temper my own expectations as a former college runner, learn how to include runners of all abilities into the team, and transfer my own running knowledge into coaching ability. My experience at Clayton Valley has been an extension of that. I'm proud to be able to coach at my former high school. We experienced some very competitive league seasons that last few years and I have been happy to coach against coaching greats like Peter Brewer and Gil Llacuna. The competition is always friendly, and I feel like everyone in the former DVAL prioritized the interest of the student-athletes regardless of the teams they were on.
6) What were some of the team highlights from the 2015 season?
Sophomore Kelly Osterkamp and senior Claire Olson had solid improvements to finish First-Team All-League DVAL. The boys won their first league title since 1994, going on to place third in a squeaker at NCS for Division II. First year runner Dylan White finished 5th at NCS with a big PR. My team worked as hard as any team I have ever coached or been part of, so it was rewarding for them to experience deserved success.
7) What are your expectations for your team during the summer? Team camp? What are some of the incentives for your runners to get the work done during the summer?
My biggest expectation, especially for returning runners, is for the team to put in the work to make success a possibility during the season. I understand that summer is a time for family and vacations, and I encourage my athletes to get our and have fun over the summer. I also remind them that if they aren't running, there are plenty of people that would love to grab their spot, especially on varsity. We do a Mt. Diablo hike at the beginning of each season and try to fit in a pancake breakfast, a BBQ, a movie night, and a few other social events to keep the teams' enthusiasm up. We run a time-trial to make varsity and to run in uniform shortly after practice officially begins in the fall. Although positions aren't static for the season, the athletes know that coming to the season in shape is a huge advantage.
8) Who are your coaching mentors and who are the ones that you bounce ideas during the season?
Without a doubt, the person I bounce the most ideas off of is my wife, Deborah (Osteen) Munch. She also ran at CV in high school, having an exemplary high school career and going on to run at Nebraska. She went on to coach at Southern Mississippi, before she came back to the Bay Area, coaching track at CV for eight years. We ran together for a year in high school and reconnected through track, in 2012 at Clayton Valley, when I became her assistant distance coach. We just celebrated our two year wedding anniversary. She has a masters degree in sport psychology and is definitely the brains behind my operation! I keep in close contact with former CV XC coach Michelle Howisey, who is a huge fan of the team. As far as mentors, I use workouts and ideas from all of my former coaches and give them great credit for any of the success I am able to achieve from my runners.
9) What does a typical week look like for your team during the season with a Saturday invite? Typical workouts? Weekly Mileage? Ancillary work?
We don't shy away from hills. In fact they are one of the strongest keys to our success. I wouldn't say we are a high mileage team, but we do have at least two high intensity workouts a week, in season. The last few years have been very competitive in the DVAL, so we had to focus on league meets. With the huge new league we will be in, we will be looking at a few more invitationals to participate in. We do core work at least twice a week, something that we are expanding on this season.
10) What do you feel are the keys to being a competitive distance runner in high school?
I learned this after conversations with my former coach Kevin Searls, twenty years ago: If you want to be a good distance runner, it has to be one of the most important things in your life! Most people have room for about three major things in their lives. As a successful student athlete, if those aren't family, academics and your sport, your are either truly exceptional, or you are probably skimping pretty heavily on one or more of them. Of course, when you add dating into the mix, it can be a huge help that cross country and track are usually co-ed!
11) The North Coast Section divisions have dramatically changed from past seasons. Do you feel like division II will be more competitive this coming season?
Yes, division II is going to be very competitive. Monte Vista was a Division I powerhouse last year, and it will be fun to compete against them. Moving around the enrollment numbers in a more equitable manner for each division should really help the NCS in the long run to compete with other sections. The new Diablo Athletic League is going to be very competitive as well.
12) Anything else you would like to add.
I'm happy to be part of the running community hear in the North Coast Section. I feel that I am surrounded by extremely knowledgeable coaches and elite athletes. I try to constantly remind my athletes of the importance of good sportsmanship in the running community. We are competing against ourselves as much as anyone else, and you never know which one of your competitors may be on your team in the future. My hope is that my student athletes will go on to have a life-long relationship with running regardless of their ability.
Thank you very much for your team Anthony! AJC