Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Ask Me Anything...

I enjoyed the first two rounds of questions so moving this back to the front and I am open to answering any questions you may have.

Ok, I might regret this (kidding!) but if you have any questions for me, go ahead. I am enjoying answering all the questions so keep them coming.

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

How did you get started in coaching track/xc? Any advice for someone who wants to coach?

Albert Caruana said...

I had just graduated from college and found out that San Mateo HS was looking for a XC coach. That was at the beginning of summer. At the beginning of August, I found out that the job was still available so I went in for an interview and ended up getting the job.

I was only 21 at the time and had to learn on the job. I think starting out as an assistant is probably a better option. Find a good program in your area and email or call the head coach to see if they are looking for assistants. If you really want to be a good coach, there is a ton of information out there and most experienced coaches are happy to help young coaches by answering any questions they may have. Read books and go to clinics.

Thanks for starting this out. Good questions.

Anonymous said...

Do you think school wi benopen in August. With the governor just saying no NFL games will likely be played in CA what are the odds we will even have fall sports this school year?

Albert Caruana said...

Another good question. I don't think anybody can answer that question right now but we all hope we can get past this so we can all return to doing what we love.

Anonymous said...

What have been one or two of your proudest coaching moments?

Anonymous said...

Do you think there's a way for teams to train and even have modified or virtual competitions (ie, postal 2 mile, or?) while under health guidelines?

Anonymous said...

What is the highest high school coaching salary you’ve ever heard of?

Albert Caruana said...

I have been very lucky to experience many proud coaching moments but the one that really stands out to me was when my girls' 400 relay ran 48.68 at the NCS MOC to finish in 3rd place and qualify for the state meet. It was very unexpected and a great thrill.

I think coaches learn how to be creative with what is available so the answer to your question is definitely yes. Runners are still able to go outside and as long as you are consistent, you are going to hopefully maintain your fitness as best as possible. I understand that we are under much different restrictions than we have faced before and once this is all over, we are going to see who the truly dedicated runners are on each team. As for virtual competitions, it seems like most tracks are not available now so perhaps efforts over a certain length of time might be the best option at this point. You can also map out certain distances and test yourself that way.

Since you didn't specify the sport, I would say Texas football coaches. There are many of them that have six figured contracts.

Anonymous said...

Ok... highest paid HS cross country / track stipend you’ve heard of?

Also for some it’s not about dedication. Some parents are not letting their kids run and if you live in CA and you have to be running solo or with people who live with you or you are breaking the law. The fact some coaches and parents are disregarding this is why if I was a betting man we will not have a fall sports season and likely not be starting school on time. Run solo but lets follow the shelter in place do we have a fall season.

Albert Caruana said...

I am sure there are some XC and TF coaches that get over 10k for each season.

If you can't run, then figure out what you can do indoors. You can do step-ups on stairs. You can do body weight exercises. You can do yoga. Jay Johnson has a ton of videos on YouTube which you can find here:
https://www.youtube.com/user/coachjayjohnson/videos

Anonymous said...

Can we get some more coach/athlete interviews? Especially some of the people mentioned here?

http://www.crosscountryexpress.com/2020/02/coachathlete-interviews-coming-up.html

Albert Caruana said...

Ok, I am on it.

Anonymous said...

1. Do you feel private schools have an advantage over public schools?
2. Why do people gate Toro Park so much on here?
3. What do you feel is something that needs to be changed in XC/track.

Albert Caruana said...

1) I attended a public school, coached at public schools and currently coach at a private school. I think talent is everywhere and the most important ingredient for a good program is the head coach. Check out all the top programs in the state and more than likely, there is a coach at those schools that has established a level of success for many years.

2) My best guess is that most of the visitors to this site are closer to the Crystal Springs course and prefer that course over Toro Park.

3) A couple of changes that come to mind. The divisions at the XC state meet should be the same for all sections. I believe there should be an open division at the XC state meet so that the best teams race each other to determine the NXN qualifiers. I wish there is a divisional component for the CCS Track semifinals so that there is something on the line for the athletes. Something like NCS does now with the area and Class A meet. I think that the 800 was a much better race when athletes started in their own lanes and cut in after one turn. I understand that there are 12 competitors now at the state finals but there has to be a better way than what is used now (double alley).

Anonymous said...

Why don't they use the USATF youth rule for the 800m heat starts:
303. 1.c: When the number of competitors exceeds the number of lanes, the excess competitors shall share the even-numbered lanes starting from lane 8 and working into lane 2.

Albert Caruana said...

I don't think that would be viable since only a few lanes would be shared. Right now they have two alleys. I think they need three.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about athletes holding their own time trials to get school records during this time?

Albert Caruana said...

I think as long as they are following the CDC guidelines, it's ok.

Anonymous said...

Do you think the Golden West Invitational could be the new State meet for 2020?

Albert Caruana said...

I don't think so because my belief is that it will be cancelled just like all the other events. We will see.

Anonymous said...

USATF Junior Olympic Nationals canceled...

Albert Caruana said...

This is confirmed at https://www.usatf.org/events/2020/canceled-2020-usatf-hershey-national-junior-olympi

Carl Triola said...

African or European swallow?

Albert Caruana said...

Well, the African Swallow could carry a 1lb coconut...

Anonymous said...

Do you know any coach who will not be paid their Stipend for coaching this spring?

Albert Caruana said...

Good question. I am not sure especially for assistant coaches.If you are having difficulty with getting paid this spring, you should check out @CACoachesAssoc on Twitter. They have important information for you and may be able to help you with getting your stipend.

Anonymous said...

I am late but hopefully you will indulge me. Favorite book about cross country?

Albert Caruana said...

It's a 1975 book by Joe Newton and John Behan called Motivation...The Name of the Game.

Anonymous said...

What is the most outstanding performance you have ever witnessed live at a meet?

Albert Caruana said...

High school was watching Michael Granville break the HS 800 record with his 1:46.45. Overall, I would say many of the races and field events at the last Pre Classic at Stanford. By far, the best track and field I have ever attended.

Gilligan said...

I remember that Granvile race in the trials. Then Aaron Richburg from James Logan beat him in the finals running 1:48.

Albert Caruana said...

So that was two different years. Granville's junior year, he lost to Richburg in the final in a great race. You can find that race on YouTube.

Granville's senior year is when he broke the HS record in the trials and then won the finals in 1:50.68.

Lee Webb said...

Richberg. 1.48.40. Had a 1.47.1 800 split same year VS. Obea Moore at the Oakland Invitational

Albert Caruana said...

In a relay?

Anonymous said...

What motivated you to start this website. How has it changed throughout the years?

Albert Caruana said...

I started the blog in 2006. I was doing NCS cross country rankings and the blog was a place where I could post them for everybody to see. I also realized that the website that was covering California at the time was very much So Cal centered so I started to highlight athletes, coaches, and programs in Northern California. I think over the years, I have tried to continue to post as much as I can so that people will find something new whenever they visit. I have helped out on other sites but to this day, I still enjoy being able to post on my blog whatever I want, whenever I want. I think I have learned a lot through interviews with both athletes and coaches. The funny part is whenever I meet somebody at a meet, I usually get the "Oh you are the website guy" which is kind of amusing since I have been also coaching for 28 years.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure anyone knows what restrictions will be made in regards to social distancing for fall sports.

In the past, have there been any different formats for XC races that might be more suitable to social distancing restrictions? lLike XC relays or having smaller number participants in more heats?

Albert Caruana said...

I have no idea about the fall. I hope we are back to normal by then.

As far as the race formats that you mentioned, we have never had anything like this before so I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyway that you could do Oakland Section Cross Country/ Track Preseason Rankings, there a quite a few very talented atheletes in such a small section and it would be good to get their names out there.

Albert Caruana said...

I think I have done that in the past and Sean Kohles has been a great help with those rankings.

Hank said...

Do you have a HS picture of yourself racing that you could post?

hank

Albert Caruana said...

Funny you ask that Hank. I was looking through my hs yearbooks last night. Let me find one and post.

Eric Morford said...

Are you doing Zoom sessions every Saturday morning for coaches?

Albert Caruana said...

Eric we are. I will add you to the mailing list so you get the login info.

Anonymous said...

1. What team has best looking uniforms?

2.If you could be a fly on the wall for any coaching staff which one would it be?

Albert Caruana said...

Two excellent questions. I am not sure if these are the best uniforms but Jesuit's uniforms have remained the same color pattern for as far back as I could remember. If you watch a XC race, you can pick out their runners very easily.

Hmmm coaching staff...tough to narrow it down to one but if you made me pick I would go with Fayetteville Manlius. That coach has been super successful at the national level for so long.

Hank said...

Albert, still waiting for that pic of you running in HS ...

hank

Anonymous said...

What do you foresee the 2020 cross country season looking like? League meets and small invitationals only?

Albert Caruana said...

I wish I could give you an answer but I just don't really know. I think we are going to have a better idea in June so my hope is that by then there is a more clear vision of the fall season.

Anonymous said...

How about your predictions on the top 3 finishers if the State meet would have taken place. Boys/Girls in the 800/1600/3200

Albert Caruana said...

Girls
800
Tompkins
Wallenstrom
Fauria

1600
Suarez
Barnett
McClain

3200
Dorostkar
Smith
Klos

Boys
800
Lester
Gordon
MacQuiddy

1600
Strangio
Peattie
MIddleton-Pearson

3200
Young
Strangio
Aschbrenner

Anonymous said...

Where is MIddleton-Pearson going to College?

Anonymous said...

I’d be very surprised if we have a season at all. These things need to be planned now and districts are still playing this year day by day. School will be very different, likely in rotating small groups that see their teacher one every 2 weeks, if even that. You are going fund that while following social distancing?

My guess based on a recent letter from CCS is that Fall sports will spread across the winter & Spring. Since XC and track are similar I’m guessing XC doesn’t happen.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 2:30

"Social distancing" cannot last forever. We are already two months in quarantine and everyone is sick of it.

At some point you must open things back up and get back to normal. The fall sports season and school MUST be allowed to return - it's 4 whole months away, and we've already sacrificed an entire season's worth of sports, cancelled prom, and crushed an entire generation of senior's dreams in order to "flatten the curve". Well, the curve has been flattened. People MUST get back to work. The schools MUST be reopened.

There better damned well be a fall cross country season for the sake of my (and others) sanity. It's time to stop giving up ALL of our rights, and let people make their own decisions about whether to go out in public.

Anonymous said...

With the graduation of one of the strongest boy's senior classes I can remember in recent years, which individuals do you think will emerge this Fall (or Winter) XC season?

Len said...

Assuming there will be a cross country season, has any coach thought about what protocols need to be put in place at practice to safeguard the health of team members.
For example, every team member must provide at every practice their own water bottle, public drinking fountains are off limits, etc. Examples please of what you might be thinking along these lines.

Albert Caruana said...

I think protocols will be in place for us to follow as coaches.

Anonymous said...

Hi Albert-
Who in your opinion is the G.O.A.T middle distance (mile-10,000) Native Bay Area runner Male and Female? Not only in times but also accomplishments? I saw on Let's Run that Jim Ryun and Deena Drossin won U.S. G.O.A.T

Thanks!

Albert Caruana said...

In looking at the LetsRun brackets you mentioned, Francie Larrieu Smith and Shannon Rowbury both were included so they are in the discussion. As for the men, that is a very good question. The first that comes to mind is Matt Giusto. He was a high school national champion, NCAA champion, national champion as well as Olympic qualifier. Anybody else comes to mind?

Anonymous said...

Doug Padilla

Anonymous said...

Can we get some more coach/athlete interviews?

Albert Caruana said...

Working on it.

Anonymous said...

The 800 is not middle distance? What is it a sprint?

Anonymous said...

The 10k is a middle distance? I’m surprised

Anonymous said...

Have you (and any other coaches) figured out a dual/triangular meet course on your campus for this Fall? (3k-5k?)

Albert Caruana said...

This has actually been discussed but due to Invitationals as well as cluster league meets, it seems like most schools do not have a course on their campus. I think we are going to have more clarity in July and if we do have to have dual or tri meets, I am sure coaches are going to get super creative about races on their own campuses or if still possible, reintroduce a previous home course.

Anonymous said...

If parks won’t allow large numbers do you think k schools would risk liability of exposure on their campus? And are coaches and meet managers really going to be able to enforce things like temperature checks, wearing masks, social distancing? Seems almost impossible in sports but I’m interested what your thoughts are or what you’ve heard?

Albert Caruana said...

We are all waiting to hear from the CIF on July 20th so we will know what is decided as far as we can and cannot do.

Anonymous said...

My prediction: CIF is going to release the same general guidelines we have all seen & say decisions are to be made by individual schools & districts. No State championships for fall sports thus making decisions at local levels possible.

Anonymous said...

From all the coaches interviews you have done, which one was the most insightful? (either personally or coaching)

What was the best coaching insight from the interviews that you have used with your own coaching?

Albert Caruana said...

I have done many interviews so it's hard to pick one or two interviews above the rest. I would say that getting to know many of the coaches and talking to them at meets as well as being able to reach out to them has been the biggest benefit of the site. We are very lucky in the XC and TF communities to have so many resources out there who are always willing to share and give advice when we need help.

Anonymous said...

To June 24 at 4:29PM re temp checks, etc: I don't see why running even a league-wide XC meet would be insurmountable. If I were the XC czar, I'd make the following rules for races this season: (1) coaches and athletes only (no parents or other spectators); (2) masks are mandatory except when athletes are actually running (warm up, race, etc); (3) temperature checks for all persons at the entrance gate; (4) make sure teams set up in separate areas and with proper social distancing if there is a line at the entrance gate, and (5) might have to impose limits on numbers of non-varsity athletes depending on the league and sizes of the programs. I'm not sure that all of this is strictly necessary because risk of transmission outdoors is so much lower than indoors, but it would be a way to minimize whatever risks there are.

Regarding temperature checks, I went to an Apple Store the other day and the security guard checked my temperature before I was allowed to enter the store with one of those thermometers that he pointed at my forehead. It took all of 3 seconds. Even if 150 total coaches/athletes all arrived at once, the entrance process wouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes for the temp checks, and less if you had 2 people doing it. Doesn't require any special training, and those thermometers aren't super expensive, like $40-$60 each.

Anonymous said...

@ 1:54. Have you run a meet before? Gone through the permitting process? Not to mention issues like how will athletes get there? (remember no busses). Say parents drive, but no spectators are allowed. Where do the parents go? Who will do temperature checks? What will an athlete with a temperature do? Where will they go? What park will allow this and what will happen when inevitably someone is asymptotic and infects others what is the liability? Already few are willing to take on responsibility of hosting meets. Who is willing to take this on now?

Anonymous said...

Since we won't be getting a cross country season, can we have some more coach interviews?

Albert Caruana said...

Well, I wouldn't say we are not going to have a season but am definitely working on a few coaching interviews. They will be posted shortly.

Anonymous said...

June 25, @2:44pm. Don't get overly worked up here. The premise was an on-campus course, no permitting. Obviously if the county won't allow athletic events of any kind, then it's not happening. If schools are doing totally remote learning, then almost certainly not happening. But if kids are in class together wearing masks, they can ride the bus together. Again, it's a function of keeping numbers manageable. Liability is also a non-issue if practices are following local guidelines. Parents maybe end up signing waivers too. The probably low-paid and definitely non-medically trained private security guard at Apple was taking temperatures, it's not rocket science. My broader point is that it's not impossible to do this and wouldn't take an army of medical staff and private drivers. Whether it will actually happen is another story.

Anonymous said...

Caronavirus transmission is 10 meters when running.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/scientists-examine-speed-and-distance-of-coronavirus-transmission-when-people-cough-sneeze-speak-and-run-2020-06-23?siteid=yhoof2&yptr=yahoo

I know some schools are starting up training. Has anyone had an athlete come down with it?

Anonymous said...

Any advice from the coaches out there for athletes that may want to run in college who are rising seniors - so no junior track season and possibly no senior xc season ?

Albert Caruana said...

I think the best advice is for those rising seniors is to still reach out to college coaches and let them know of their interest in running for their team. Send a letter to those coaches that is not a form letter. Make it personal. Sell yourself.

Anonymous said...

@3:05. Yes, one of my athletes has tested possitive. She is quarantined at home, suffering very heavy caughing & fatigue but does not need to be hospitalized thank goodness. She said she “feels like death.”

@9:38. At this point I’d be looking at a junior college. No walk on standards & cheap if not free classes. Who knows how long this is going to last but why spend 50k+ a year to do classes online? Run, get fast, if there’s a season in 2021 you get to prove yourself. Transfer & save money! But that’s me.

Anonymous said...

“Santa Clara County schools may not reopen this fall.”
https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/06/30/reopening-santa-clara-county-schools-this-fall-not-guaranteed-officials-say/amp/

Anonymous said...

@3:05pm in June 27: no, "coronavirus transmission" is NOT 10 meters when running. That study was a study of aerodynamics by engineering/aerodynamics specialists and has been thoroughly debunked from an epidemiology perspective. Transmission is a function of both exposure and load, and there's no evidence of significant risk of transmission outdoors, let alone when passing in the aerodynamic wake of a runner or cyclist. This is why outdoor dining is currently permitted, because the dispersion of droplets is so much greater outdoors given air currents. I'm just tired of runners being demonized by this silly "study" that went viral a while back when risk is multitudes higher at the market and other indoor spaces...

Anonymous said...

Below is an excerpt from the Santa Cruz Sentinal. It’s interesting that the state has gone back and banned all athletic gatherings but CCS said go ahead? They going rogue?

https://www.santacruzsentinel.com/2020/07/04/high-schools-cleared-for-summer-conditioning/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

County athletic directors were unsure Thursday if conditioning would take place after a Sacramento news station reported that the state reversed its standing from early June and banned athletic gatherings of any sort.

But local athletic directors received word from the Central Coast Section that they should follow the orders of their county health department.

“So it’s status quo,” Redding said. “We’re going to proceed until someone tells us to stop.”

Anonymous said...

Palo Alto Unifif School District to start the school year distance learning. Not looking good for sports as most schools will likely follow this model in Sants Clara & surrounding counties.
https://www.pausd.org/covid-19/secondary-schools-fall-2020

Anonymous said...

Can you make a COVID update thread Albert? I see news is starting to trickle in about the upcoming school year. It would be good to see it all in one place.

Anonymous said...

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mercurynews.com/2020/07/08/for-these-bay-area-school-districts-distance-learning-is-back-for-the-fall/amp/

San Jose School Districts also going distance learning. Bottom line is health but another factor is schools just can’t afford the costs of sterilization & safety. Even if a school like Milpitas has half kids on campus that’s still almost 1500-200” people there. You can’t contain that.

Anonymous said...

A survey went out from CIF asking if they would be distance learning. With districts in Oakland, Palo Alto, San Jose and now Fremont (link below) saying they will do remote learning and many more on the way CIF needs to cancel or delay seasons accordingly. You can’t have a season with students not on campus. I know we all WANT a season but at this point it just can’t.

Anonymous said...

San Jose Unified joins Alum Rock & East Side Union school districts and will start the year distance learning.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.mercurynews.com/2020/07/10/san-jose-teachers-will-not-return-to-the-classroom-until-conditions-are-safe/amp/

Anonymous said...

East Side & San Jose school districts are most of the BVAL. Will CCS have a season without 1/3 of the section not competing?

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