Friday, February 28, 2014

Dan Gabor Meet Preview by Amador Valley Coach, Jason Oswalt

2014 Dan Gabor Invitational

Dan Gabor is an Amador Valley Track and Field’s folk hero. He was the man amongst boys who had it all, chanced throwing it all away, but always came out smelling like roses. Despite all of his questionable decisions and unpredictable behavior, Dan could do no wrong. With his determination to do things his own way and his determination to make it all work, he frustrated and amazed his coaches all at the same time. His crazy hairstyles and rebellious nature frequently pissed people off, but right or wrong, his blazing fast times prompted some level of forgiveness. But Dan Gabor was not an unpredictable jerk who used big his big talent to get away with things.  Dan was a guy who was so talented that he got bored and out of boredom, he tried crazy things just to see if he could pull them off and most of the time, he could. Where his coaches were both frustrated and amazed by his actions, Dan’s peers were mostly just amazed and rightly so. Because beyond the Mohawk and skateboard, which is the image burned into the minds of those who knew him and remember him, and beyond the 1:50.71 800m time and subsequent state championship, was an athlete born to lead. Dan had the rare ability to do all the things that he did and somehow bring the whole team with him. Dan Gabor didn’t just win the state championship with the whole school watching, he made the entire school feel like they won the state championship. Everyone who knew Dan, and even some who didn’t were along for the ride and Dan wanted it that way. Those who experienced life with Dan Gabor experienced a blast of both confidence and courage, and just like all folk heroes, success in situations where success shouldn’t necessarily be expected.

                And in 2014, the track meet that bears his name, also bears his aura. How else would you explain a well-established meet changing formats and moving to a new weekend? People have been asking for six months why we changed to a one day meet instead of two. Well, have you seen the weather report for Friday? That’s why. Maybe, in reality, in true Dan fashion, we just wanted to see if we could pull it off, and so far, maybe with a little help from above from Dan Gabor himself, things are looking rosy. With meets statewide being canceled left and right due to the weather, the Gabor Invitational is still standing and now looks to be the state’s premier event this weekend. With stellar fields assembled in the girls’ 400m, the boys’ 100m, the boys’ 1600m, the girls’ 800m, and the girls’ 3200m maybe this is just something that Dan wanted us all to see.

Despite a break in the weather on Saturday, we still may see some showers in the morning, but the real storming will start we reach the premier heat of the girls’ 400m. This race takes place on March 1st and the girls’ 400m features seven athletes holding sub 60 credentials. Chloe Jenkins of St. Mary’s comes in with the fastest seed time at 57.50, but she’ll have her work cut out for her as the #6 seed in the field has run 58.60. This one could be the race of the day if weather cooperates.

Although Livermore’s Bennie Lokula boasts the only sub 11 clocking in the 100m, coming in at 10.90, Clayton Valley’s Xavier Crawford will be hot on his trail. With an 11.02 to his credit, he’ll be chasing the win and trying to join that sub-11 club himself. Between Lokula and Crawford and the five other athletes who come in seeded under 11.30, this race promises to be a preview of bigger races that we will be seeing later on in May.

By the time the sprinters clear out and the distance runners check in, the rain is expected to have completely passed over, and the boys’ 1600m has the potential to give the girls’ 400m a run for its money for race of the day. Who ya got? De La Salle’s top cross country man (8th place at Footlocker Nationals) put down a 4:14 last year, but then again, so did Acalanes’ Michael Wang. San Ramon Valley’s Jason Intravaia was knocking on the door last year clocking in at 4:20 and made his own gains in the fall, and the leading man from D5 state champion St. Joseph’s High School, Gabe Arias, will look to play a part in this action as well.

State finalist Madison Ricks leads the way in the girls’ 800 as five girls’ come in with sub 2:20 credentials and all 12 have run 2:25 or better. Chloe Jenkins will be doubling back from her earlier 400m, but has plenty of time to recover and be at full strength. Miramonte’s Georgia Roden has some early racing under her belt after a successful trip to the California Indoor Meet in Fresno a couple weeks ago. Bishop O’Dowd’s Emily Fieberling looks to make a name for herself here, and Armijo’s Gabriella Nathan looks comes in from the Sac Joaquin Section to make sure that the NCS doesn’t have all the fun at the Dan Gabor Invitational. The race could be even faster than it looks on paper as Monte Vista’s Chloe Winn, San Ramon Valley’s Kaitlin Eklam, and Amador Valley’s Annaka Green and Melodie Leroudier all own PR’s significantly faster than their seed times.

The women’s 3200 figures to be a barn burner as well, with three athletes sporting PR’s under 10:50. Two-time cross country state champion and sub 10:30 3200m star, Julia Maxwell of Branson, returns to the Gabor Invitational to defend her title from last year, but will be chased by NCS San Ramon Valley’s cross country champion Christine Bayliss and Monte Vista’s Brooke Starne. St. Mary’s Spencer Moore will look to join the group and add a sub-11:00 clocking to her already impressive resume as well. All told, nine athletes come in seeded at 11:30 or faster and sixteen runners at 12:00 or faster.

But the Dan Gabor Meet is more than just an exhibition of elites. It’s about great racing. With nearly 3000 athletes racing and athletes entered into heats along with athletes who run similar times, there should be some great battles coming down the stretch. Take heat 8 in the boys’ 800m for example where twenty athletes are seeded between 2:20.0 and 2:22.1. Can Monte Vista’s William Jones hold serve as the favorite, or might Dublin’s Rafael Gamboa pull the “upset”? Not if Northgate’s Jesus Rivas has anything to say about it, as he is seeded tenth in the heat, just one second behind the top seed. That scenario is not going to be uncommon Saturday and the wild weather may turn even more athletes into contenders. Saturday promises to provide PR’s by the thousands and maybe some other teams will have their folk heroes reveal themselves. Day or night, rain or shine, the 2014 Dan Gabor Invitational will give every athlete a chance to run like Dan.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1986 California State Track and Field Schedule

For you youngsters out there, here was the running event schedule for the 1986 CA State T & F Meet.  Thoughts comparing this schedule to the current one?

6:00 p.m. Girls' 100 Meter Low Hurdles
6:06 p.m. Girls' 3200 Meter Run
6:25 p.m. Girls' 400 Meter Relay
6:32 p.m. Boys' 400 Meter Relay
6:39 p.m. Girls' 800 Meter Run
6:47 p.m. Boys' 800 Meter Run
6:55 p.m. Girls' 100 Meter Dash
7:01 p.m. Boys' 100 Meter Dash
7:07 p.m. Boys' 110 Meter Hi Hurdles
7:13 p.m. Boys' 3200 Meter Run
7:29 p.m. Girls' 400 Meter Dash
7:36 p.m. Boys' 400 Meter Dash
7:43 p.m. Special Olympics Race
7:48 p.m. Special Olympics Race
7:53 p.m. Girls' 200 Meter Dash
7:59 p.m. Boys' 200 Meter Dash
8:05 p.m. Girls' 300 Meter Low Hurdles
8:12 p.m. Boys' 300 Meter Intermediate Hurdles
8:19 p.m. Girls' 1600 Meter Run
8:30 p.m. Boys' 1600 Meter Run
8:40 p.m. Girls' 1600 Meter Relay
8:50 p.m. Boys' 1600 Meter Relay

2014 Track and Field Notebook #5

Darting here and there...

2014 Top Track and Field outdoor marks courtesy of (Girls/Boys)
Los Gatos All-Comers Meet #8 Results (Wilcox star jumper Marisa K. triple jumps 41'2.75"!)
Honoring Dan Gabor (From 2003 Pleasanton Weekly detailing the life of Dan Gabor)
Recruiting: College choice about more than just sport
A homecoming for Coach White (former Carlmont Track and Field standout, Ben White)
Top freshmen in the state of California
2014 Track and Field Previews courtesy of (Just added-Boys distance and Girls PV)
Upcoming meets for this Saturday
Kevin Castille: The Unlikely Making of America's Top Masters Runner (Great read)
Race videos from 2014 USA Track and Field Indoor Championship (Check out men's 1500m.)
Chelsea Reilly's latest blog post detailing her coaching change (former Davis HS/Berkeley runner)
Joining the chorus of those calling for USA Track & Field to produce the evidence (Ken Goe)

Any other interesting links that you would like to share?  Add them in the comment section below.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mike Ryan, Wilcox Class '65 RIP

Sad news passed along to me by Santa Cruz HS coach, Greg Brock about the passing of former Wilcox HS runner, Mike Ryan who passed away last night due to a cardiac arrest at a Bakersfield Hospital.  Brock raced Ryan a few times in his career and remembers him as an incredible talent.

Ryan had quite a resume when it came to running as he won the 1964 California state track and field meet as a junior in the mile, running 4:11.2.  As a senior, Ryan finished in 2nd place (4:09.5) in the mile behind a name that may be familiar to most of you, Tim Danielson (one of 5 US HSers to break the 4 minute mile).  Ryan didn't run the 2 mile at the state meet as it was first held in 1965 but he did run 8:57.8 on November 7th, 1964 in the National Postal Meet which was at the time an all-California best time.  According to his bio on the Santa Clara Unified School Hall of Fame page, Ryan was the first prep in history to run 2 miles in under 9 minutes.  With a little more digging, I was informed by Jack Shepard of Track and Field News that Ryan was in fact the 2nd prep to break 9:00 in the 2 miles.  Gerry Lindgren was the first with 2 efforts indoors and 3 efforts outdoors in 1964.  Ryan also ran on the Wilcox DMR team which produced the nation's leading time of 10:13.7 at the West Coast Relays.
Following high school, Ryan attended Stanford University for one year and then transferred to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado.  He won the NCAA Cross Country title in 1968 (photo below) on the famed Van Cortland Park course with a then collegiate record 29:16.8.  He finished in 2nd place in 1969 behind Washington State University runner, Gerry Lindgren.  He competed in the West Valley Track Club briefly in the early 70s.  He has since lived in Bakersfield as a district attorney for many years.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Interview with Los Gatos HS Pole Vaulter, Greta Wagner...

Los Gatos HS pole Vaulter, Greta Wagner (photo courtesy of Jim Gensheimer), is one of the top returning vaulters in the state of California.  She finished tied for 2nd place at last year's CA state track and field meet with a jump just a shade under 13 feet (12'11.75").  She has already tied her all-time personal record this indoor season with a winning jump of 13'2" at the Reno Pole Vault Summitt.  She followed that up with a 2nd place finish at the Millrose Games with a jump of 13'1.5".  At last year's CCS final, Wagner won the pole vault, ran on the winning 400m. relay team as well as the 3rd place 1600m. relay team.  Both teams also qualified for the state meet.  Her amazing range includes a 12.44 100 meters and a sub 21:00 5K.  Wagner has committed to UCLA.

You can check out my interview with her which is posted here.

The Unsung Glory of the Mile Run

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Girls Redwood Empire All-Around

Check out the continued fine work by Jim Crowhurst in ranking the top athletes in Redwood Empire history.  Take note of the distance runners from that region which includes Julia Stamps, Sara Bei, Jenny Aldridge and at the #6 spot, Kim Conley who is on quite a roll.  If you are wondering why no Amber Trotter, she needed a 2:23.40 to qualify and so far, no such an 800 time has been found for her.

The Science of Running Book NOW AVAILABLE! 48hr special giveaway!

2014 Central Section Distance Races State Meet Contenders

The top 3 qualify to the state meet from the Central Section unless you can qualify by surpassing the 2014 At-Large Time Standards.  Additions?  Changes?  Comments?

Girls 800m.
The favorite:  Mikaela Smith Clovis North (Defending state champion)
Threats:   Maddy Nikkel Buchanan
Wildcards:  Madi Hiatt Clovis North, Annette Acosta Exeter, Danielle Pacheco Clovis West, Tatum Perez Mt. Whitney, Sami Ikuma Clovis West, Gabby Satterlee Central Valley Christian, Mikayla Sodersten Clovis, Korey Jones Edison

Boys 800m.
The favorite:  Connor Morello Clovis
Threats:  Kevin Chavira Bullard
Wildcards:   Jacob Williams Buchanan, Adam Gonzalez Redwood, Curtis Threlkeld North Bakersfield, Brandon Kan Frontier

Girls 1600m.
The favorite:  Hannah Benoit-Bucher Buchanan
Threats:  Maddy Nikkel Buchanan
Wildcards:   Kaitlin Pacheco Clovis West, Mikayla Sodersten Clovis, Leigh Moffett Clovis North, Miranda Kennedy Buchanan, Lauren Moffett Clovis North, Taylor Gonzalez Buchanan

Boys 1600m.
The favorite:  Blake Haney Stockdale (Defending state champion)
Threats:  Kasey Knevelbaard Immanuel
Wildcards:  Psalm Ocampo Clovis North, Connor Nolen Clovis North, Jacob Williams Buchanan, Alek Simpson Yosemite, Eduardo Herrera Madera South, Jacob Bilvado El Diamante

Girls 3200m.
The favorite:  Leigh Moffett Clovis North
Threat: Mikayla Sodersten Clovis
Wildcards:   Miranda Kennedy Buchanan, Hannah Benoit-Bucher Buchanan, Molly Pruett Centennial, Katie Sandoval Clovis North, Brittany Laygo Clovis East, Josie Fry Buchanan, Jordyn Zorn Monache, Taylor Gonzalez Buchanan

Boys 3200m.
The favorite:  Blake Haney Stockton (Defending state champion)
Threats:  Eduardo Herrera Madera South, Miguel Villar Madera South, Connor Nolen Clovis North
Wildcards:  Danny Garcia McFarland, Jorge Perez Reedley, Jacob Bilvado El Diamante, Alex Torres Kingsburg

Coming up this week...

More interviews, CA state outdoor meet preview as well as many other interesting links that can help take your running to the next level.  Other links will be posted on my twitter feed throughout the week so give me a follow at

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Menlo School's Madeline Price national leading 54.69 400m. race

Unbroken Movie Preview

Former San Ramon Valley HS runner, Kevin Griffith runs 1:50.10

Griffith wins 1st heat to record 3rd fastest time in Purdue University history.

Boys Redwood Empire All-Around

Very cool compilation of data featuring some of the best athletes in Redwood Empire history.  All stats courtesy of Jim Crowhurst.

Pole Vault World Record in Slow Mo

NorCal Track and Field athletes rolling...

Most of the following was posted on my twitter feed yesterday but if you missed it, here you go.

At the Simplot Games, San Leandro senior, Gabriella Cantrell won the 60m. (7.50) and 200m. (23.77).  Her 200m. time is the 20th fastest time recorded indoors by a high school athlete and the 10th fastest for a Californian.  

Menlo School senior Madeline Price finished 2nd to Cantrell in the 200m. with a time of 24.47.  That's her 2nd fastest time ever trailing only her CCS winning time of 24.30 last season.  35 minutes after the 200m. final, Price won the 400m. in a new personal record of 54.69 which is currently the #1 time in the country.  She will run in the Canadian Indoor Nationals next month.

Also at the Simplot Games, Castro Valley senior, Nate Moore finished 2nd in the Long Jump with a leap of 23'11.75".  He also handily won the Triple Jump with a jump of 48'3".  

Wilcox HS senior Marisa Kwiatkowski, the top returning Triple Jump athlete at the state meet, won the Triple Jump with a jump of 39'9".  She also finished in 9th place in the Long Jump at 18'0.5".

Bishop O'Dowd sprinter/hurdler KaRa Awakoaiye finished in 2nd place in the 60m. hurdles with a time of 8.67.  

At the Millrose Games, Los Gatos HS senior, Greta Wagner finished in 2nd place in the Junior Pole Vault with a jump of 4.0 meters (13'1.48").

McKinleyville sophomore, Morgin Coonfield posted a personal best time at the Humboldt Green and Gold Meet of 10:38.3 in the 3200m.  She will compete in the CA state indoor meet tomorrow in the 1600m. and 800m.

Redwood HS senior, Fred Huxham ran in the University of Washington Open mile and finished in 6th place overall with a time of 4:14.48 which is a new personal record.

Results of Los Gatos All-Comers Meet #7 from 2/15/14.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

California State Cross Country Champions College Choices

Division I Boys:  Tal Braude Torrey Pines-Columbia University
Division I Girls:  Fiona O'Keeffe Davis-Sophomore

Division II Boys:  Garrett Corcoran Villa Park-Cal Berkeley
Division II Girls:  Sarah Baxter Simi Valley-Oregon University

Division III Boys:  Aidan Goltra Campolindo-Columbia University
Division III Girls:  Bethan Knights Northwood-Cal Berkeley

Division IV Boys:  Caleb Webb Big Bear-Junior
Division IV Girls:  Anna Maxwell San Lorenzo Valley-University of Washington

Division V Boys:  Alan Yoho Flintridge Prep-Brown University
Division V Girls:  Julia Maxwell Branson-Stanford University

New World Indoor Record in Pole Vault and 2 mile (women)

Olympic champion, Renaud Lavillenie breaks Sergey Bubka's 21 year old indoor world record in the pole vault with a jump of 6.16 meters (20'2.5").  That is the highest vault ever in any conditions (indoors and outdoors).  If you have ever seen vaulters in person clearing over 19 feet, you can really appreciate the new world record.

Genzebe Dibaba continues her world record rampage breaking the previous 2 mile record (Meseret Defar) by 6 seconds with a time of 9:00.48.  The all-time world record in the 2 mile (outdoors) is 8:58.58 also by Defar.

Here are her splits courtesy of Track and Field News and Mark Butler

69.4 (2:15.1)
68.6 (3:23.7)
68.0 (4:31.7)
66.9 (5:38.6)
68.3 (6:46.9)
67.1 (7:54.0) (10.1 seconds up on Defar!)
66.5 (9:00.5)

Halves 4:31.7/4:28.8
last lap 32.8

Thursday, February 13, 2014

5 Minutes with Zach Perkins (Former Alameda HS runner)

Four Bruins Head to USA Cross Country Championships

Including former Leland HS runner, Richard Ho who will compete in the junior men's 8k.
Four Bruins Head to USA Cross Country Championships

Catching Up With St. Joseph Notre Dame Coach, Tony Fong...

Today we chat with St. Joseph Notre Dame coach, Tony Fong.  This interview is a follow up to my March 29th, 2012 interview with him.  Since that interview, his boys won the 2013 NCS Division V title for the 3rd year in a row and repeated as state meet champions.  For those of you that like to scoff at the Division V talent, the SJND boys finished as the overall #1 team in NCS when you merged all the results.

1) We will start with the state meet the previous season (2012). Your team won the CA state meet Division V race by 1 point over Flintridge Prep (86-87). Tell us a little about the plan going into that race, how the race progressed and what was the team's reaction when it was announced that your team won? 
After a 3rd the year before (first time on the podium) we knew that with some hard training over the summer and peaking for the state meet we had a shot at our first ever state title. Without one of our top runners (Nick Ratto) we would have to run well as a team to have a chance. Our strategy was to train through the season (including the invites like Mt. Sac and Stanford) and league champs and NCS. We would only taper the week of State. We knew we could match up well with Flintridge up front with Gabe and the Murphy’s and the ever improving Louis Rodrigues. The key was the number 5 runner, Sam Levy-Wendt, James Lafollette, and Chris Melendez were all capable of running close to 16:30 which is what we calculated was needed to have a shot at the state title. I saw the Flintridge team and our runners at the 2 mile mark and we were clearly behind (10 points) and I was preparing my speech for our 2nd and know how they worked extremely hard all year and they would have been disappointed if they didn’t win so I decided not to greet them at the finishing coral instead waited for them at where we camped out a few hundred meters from the finish. About 10 minutes after the race I heard the SJND Varsity girls basketball team (traveled from Alameda to cheer us on) cheering, I asked myself why would they be cheering for our 2nd time I saw Louis Rodrigues and Sam Levy-Wendt rushing towards me with the news. The entire team gathered around and dedicated the race and the team title to my wife (Denise Fong) who passed away just 10 days before from breast cancer. It was one of the proudest moments I had for the team, a state title and they were humble and never forgot those things that were truly important.

2) Following that season, what did you feel went well and what did you want to change in terms of training? 
I learned a lot from the end of the season. What works for one runner will not always work for another. I know that heavy mileage was perfect for Gabe yet it was not a good strategy for several of our runners. I know that some of our runners needed the taper where with some the taper was not the best way to prepare for a big meet. This was a very important strategy for the team this year. I was able to have everyone peak at the right time. It may have been a week early since we ran our best race at NCS where our team time was about the same as DeLa Salle. I would change the way I structure workouts in the middle of the season so that I keep the entire team fresh and ready to run fast during the championship season.

3) What was the plan for the summer? Workouts? Mileage? Races? Camps? 
Not much has changed over the last few years. After coaching for 19 years I have learned a lot from fellow coaches in the area (Jeff Rogers from St. Mary’s, Chris Williams from Dublin, Doyle O’Regan from Piedmont, Peter Brewer from Northgate, Chuck Woodbridge from Campolindo, and many others). We used the summer to build mileage, place and finish. In fact I knew the team had the workouts were designed to have several interval workouts a week, a tempo run, a long run, and plenty of recovery runs. Mileage would vary depending on the age and grade, in the summer we would hit 90 miles for one week but during the season we would max out at 60-65. We run the same races every year and we use these races as benchmarks to see what we need to work on (endurance, strength, speed). We never taper for any of the races! The summer camps is a great way for the team to bond and it gives the younger runners a chance to learn about what is expected during the regular season and the different workouts we will be doing.

4) You added a very talented group of freshmen this year. What did you do to help them ease into high school training and competition on a fairly competitive team? 
A few years back I was fortunate enough to have a very fast freshmen (Gabe Arias-Sheridan) join the SJND cross country team. I learned a lot about that year about allowing a talented runner to run the same mileage and workouts as the seniors. This may work a few times but at the end of Gabe’s freshmen year he was a little burned out and had a slight stress fracture. Knowing that I had a similar group of freshmen that could run fast I was very careful with their training. I would ease them into the workouts probably running about 75% of what the more senior runners and would run less intense on the interval sessions as well as the tempo runs. This of course would change during the latter part of the season where the entire varsity team would run every workout and all the mileage together. It was important to have team captains that would reinforce our goals for the year and keep the team together.

5) What were the team goals before the season started? Was there a specific goal setting meeting? 
Many years ago our goal was just to make it to state but that has changed dramatically the last 3 years. Our goal now is to make it on the podium and this year we wanted to repeat as state champions. We would have varsity team only meetings probably once a month and at the beginning of the season we would discuss our goals. We would talk about league meets, invites, NCS, and they as a team understood that we would only taper and work towards running our best at the STATE meet in Fresno.

6) You faced Flintridge Prep at Mt. SAC. What was the plan going into that race and how did the race unfold for your team?
Again, we knew that Mt. Sac was probably more of a race to measure how we stacked up against one of the favorites to win state. We did not taper for this race nor did we change the mileage or intensity of our workouts. We wanted to run hard and see how each of our runners from 1-7 ran against their 1-7. Gabe was going to go out with the leaders and see if he could get the win. I wanted Cooper Teare (freshman) to run with the Murphy’s and this was a great test for Chris Melendez to see how he has recovered from his ankle injury that kept him out for 3 weeks. We knew from this race that we had a chance at repeating as state champs. We ran well with no rest and we knew that we would get stronger and faster towards the end of the season. The race was definitely a confidence builder for our team.

7) Your best team race of the season was the NCS MOC meet. Tell us a little about that race and why do you think your team ran so well at that meet?
The race was right in our backyard so we ran on the course quite a few times. We would run mile repeats and run tempo runs as workouts after our league championships. Instead of getting out to the course early for one of the last races of the day I had the team get there about 75 minutes before the start. I think this helped with not having the kids waste a lot of energy sitting around and running around watching the other races. The team was still aware of the conditions, the previous 2 years has been muddy and raining. The team was excited to run in conditions that they could potentially get PR’s. Also hearing how Blair Hurlock ran and the team from DeLaSalle ran and how their friends from Alameda High, Bishop O’Dowd, and St. Mary’s ran and the fast times got them excited about going out and running for time. The team was focused and they wanted the team time record and they had lots of family, alumni, and classmates all along the course. This was a huge motivating factor and I was well aware that they were running one of their best races of the season. I had no idea that we had the fastest time in the combined results.

8) Your team entered the state meet as prohibitive favorites to win their 2nd state title. What was the mood of the team prior to the state meet? Confident? Nervous? What was the plan going into that race? What went well? What didn't go well? What did you learn from that race? 
The last two years we were also ranked fairly high and we didn’t run well as a team yet still it was enough to place 3rd in 2012. This year the team was confident because we knew our 1-5 runners could match up well with any team in the division. The plan was to have Gabe go out with the front runners and place hopefully in the tops 5. I knew that Michael Murphy was prepared and running well all year and that he had a shot at the top 10, his brother Matthew and Cooper Teare was going to pace off him and finish in the top 20, the key was how our number 5 runner Chris Melendez would run. If he could place in the high 20 or low 30’s we would probably win with a total score of 75 or less. We ran well as a team but individually I would have liked to have the team time under 81 minutes. Again this was probably due to one runner that should not have tapered and one that should have been running less mileage with 2 weeks out. I would also have the team back off from running NCS all out and have them save their best race for state.

9) What was the reaction of the team and yourself when it was announced your team won? 
Winning the state meet for the first time will never be matched but winning two in a row was our goal at the beginning of the season. It was the end of one of our most successful seasons including the invites and league meets. It was great to see the freshmen and seniors both enjoying the moment. They all worked hard throughout the season and they all ran many many miles over the last 25 weeks. This was a wonderful reward for all the sacrifices over the season.

10) What did a typical week look like for your team in terms of training? Typical mileage for the experienced runners? Freshmen? Key workouts? Length of long runs? 
The varsity team (including the freshmen) all had base mileage over the summer so it was advantageous to be able to run intervals and timed workouts in week one. We would run one short interval workout a week, one long interval workout, one long run (build up to 90 minutes). We would incorporate triangles every other week and once a month throw in a 16 x 400 workout with CORE recovery (no rest). Also the season is divided into 3 sections, endurance phase first, followed by strength (hills), and speed (last phase). This does not mean we don’t do hills or fast intervals the first phase but the emphasis is on those listed.

11) What changed during the post season? 
During the post season we would eliminate the core and leg circuit workouts and the interval sessions would be shorter. We would also cut out the time trials and maximum recovery for most workouts. Also during the post season the long runs will be far less than during the regular season.

12) Tell us a little about your assistant coach Alex Mason. What are his main contributions to the team? 
Alex is one of the keys to the success of our program! He ran for me many years ago and was one of our most successful cross country and track runners. He was also the first to win NCS in cross country and MOC in track in the 800. He has helped to incorporate weight training, core workouts, leg circuit training into our daily routine. He is also fast enough to train with the team on specific days. The core and leg circuit has helped eliminate injuries and has helped the team with proper mechanics and strong internal core for the latter stages of a race. Also, Alex has incorporated the importance of leg speed and leg turnover and during the track season the team will do plenty of hill repeats with a multiple of workouts. This has been quite evident and impressive as I see the team running faster year after year.

13) Looking back at the past few years. What do you think were the keys to building a two time state cross country championship teams? 
One of the biggest keys to our success the past 3 years is the commitment of the runners on the team. Guys like Nick Ratto, Louis Rodrigues, Gabe Arias-Sheridan, James Lafollette, Chris Melendez, Michael and Matthew Murphy has made this program successful. They all have the full support of the school and the community and at the same time they make it fun. I could see that other students that were thinking about joining cross country are now giving it a shot and those that are looking to join the team will come out for a few training runs and will eventually join the team. Of course having a freshmen class with a handful of runners that can run sub 4:50 for a mile helps. We may have a shot next year with a couple more surprise young runners.

14) Anything else you would like to add. 
Thank you Albert for all you do to promote cross country and track. This site is useful in so many ways and keeps all the coaches, runners, and schools well informed about our sport. Best of luck to everyone this track season.

Thank you very much for your time Tony!  AJC

Coming up later today...

An interview with 2-time state championship coach, St. Joseph Notre Dame coach, Tony Fong.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Kim Conley Google Hangout Replay

What factors/characteristics make a good coach?

The above question was asked below in the comment section for the 3rd installment of the 2014 Track and Field Notebook.  I think it's a very good question.  Feel free to answer the question in the comment section here.  

2014 Track and Field Notebook #3

Darting here and there.

NSCIF Track/Cross Country Committee Minutes of the Regular Meeting (Feb. 5, 2014)
2014 Top Returning Boys All-Empire Track & Field
2014 Top Returning Girls All-Empire Track & Field
Acceptance speeches and promotional vidoes of Sacramento Running Association Hall of Fame 2014 Class
Los Gatos All-Comers #5 Results (February 1st, 2014)
You can host a screening of the documentary "Running For Jim".  All info at this link.
Valentine Fun Run Results (2/8/14)
Nominate Former CIF Athletes for All-Century Teams
The Holy Grail in Speed Training by Barry Ross
Run For The Dream Indoor Track & Field Invitational Information
Swimming Finally Gets a State Meet (Starting in Spring 2015)

If you have other interesting information or links that I could add to the above, please email them to

Movin' on up: Keeping track of our former high school athletes

Two updates on former Carlmont HS runner, Justine Fedronic and former Mt. Pleasant hurdler, Shanique Walker.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Bay Area Track Club Clinic: Saturday, February 15 at Campolindo High School, Moraga CA.

The BATC will help athletes kick off the spring track and field season with both classroom and “hands-on” track sessions conducted by elite athletes and coaches.

This clinic is open to everyone!  Youth, high school and adult participants are welcome!

Fee:  $25 (you will receive a T-Shirt, stretching rope as well as all the great instruction)

Informal demonstrations begin at 9:00am:
9:00am - BATC athletes will complete a workout session on the Campolindo track.  This session will be open to the public and BATC coaches will be available for answering questions.

11:30am -BATC athletes will complete a strength training session in the Campolindo weight room.  This session will be open to the public and BATC coaches/athletes will provide instruction and answer questions.

Formal clinic begins at 1:00pm:
1:00pm - Registration.

1:10pm - Registered participants will attend classroom sessions on Nutrition, Motivation, and "The Elite Experience," conducted by BATC athletes and coaches.

2:00pm -Registered participants will participate in "hands-on" sessions for warm-ups, mechanics, speed development, and core strength at the track, conducted by BATC athletes and coaches.

Clinic will finish at 3:45pm.

This is an amazing opportunity to work with elite level coaches and athletes, including Olympic marathoner Madalena Boulet, BATC coach Tom Kloos, USATF XC Champion Sarah Boyden, All-American Kara DeWalt, and USF record holder Steve Garboden.


Sunday, February 09, 2014

U.S All-Stars sets 4x800 world record at 2014 NBIGP

Also Kim Conley's 5:41.10 2000m. victory at the New Balance Grand Prix Indoor Meet

UC Davis All-Comers Meet Results (2/8/14)

The 100 Best, Most Interesting Running Blogs for 2014

Thanks to Dr. Marius Bakken for ranking this blog as one of the top 100 running blogs in 2014.  You can find it at #54.  For those of you that may not be familiar with Dr. Bakken, he ran at York HS for a year under legendary coach, Joe Newton.  He qualified for 2 Olympic teams and represented Norway in 2000 and 2004.  He still holds the national records in the 3000m. and 5000m. (7:40.77 and 13:06.39).

Along with the link above, you may also want to check out

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Catching up with Monta Vista HS senior, Bridget Gottlieb

Today we chat with Monta Vista (CCS) senior, Bridget Gottlieb.  This past cross country season, Bridget led the MV Matadors to the CCS team title just outdistancing Gunn and Menlo Atherton in the hotly contested Division I race.  She finished in 2nd place behind Gunn's Sarah Robinson with a lifetime best time of 17:37.  As a junior, Gottlieb's best time on the Crystal Springs course was 20:03.  This past Sunday, Gottlieb won her age division at the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon running 1:21:55 (6:16 pace) to finish as the 7th fastest female overall.  Gottlieb has now committed to running at Johns Hopkins University.

1)    How did you get your start in running?  What was your main running experience before high school?
I started running in seventh grade. I ran cross country all through middle school, but in seventh grade I started running more continuously. I remember I made myself a goal to run every day over December break.  I think I totaled only 26 miles over 2 weeks, but I was really proud of myself for running every day, and I just kept running after that. I think I started because it was a sport I had never tried, and both of my parents ran so they encouraged me to try it.

2)  What do you remember most about your freshmen seasons in cross country and track and field?  Highlights?
During freshman year I really didn’t expect much out of the season; I had no idea how I would do. I think my highlight was CCS which was at Toro Park, and my time was exactly one minute faster than when I ran my first cross country race at Toro, which made me happy seeing how much I had improved over the season. I think that was the most memorable part of freshman year for me.

3) Who were your running mentors as a young runner?
I went to a really small middle school, so for middle school my dad actually volunteered to be the cross country coach. In eighth grade, I joined a USATF team because I wanted to run track races, as my school didn’t even have a track team. My coach for that was Coach Michael Davidson, and I really appreciate what he did because he was so patient with everyone and so encouraging, no matter how slow someone was.

4)  What about your sophomore seasons in XC and TF?  Highlights?
Honestly, sophomore year season was sort of disappointing for me. All of my times remained close to the same as my freshman year times, which was disappointing. I would say that a highlight was our team placing 4th at CCS, as this was the start of a transition to a strong girls’ team.

5)  Following your junior seasons what were your PRs at the Crystal Springs course, Woodward Park, 800, 1600, 3200?
My PR at Crystal Springs by the end of junior year was 20:03. I had never run at Woodward Park before my senior year. My 800 PR was 2:36 (I’m not a sprinter), 1600 was 5:36, and 3200 was 11:31.

6)  What did do differently as far as training during the summer before your senior season?
This is a funny story that I don’t think people will really expect as my answer. During the off-season before track junior year, I started running longer runs, and doing tempo runs once a week. I saw the immense improvements that had on my track times, and I planned to continue this during the summer. I usually spend my summer at Mike Dudley’s summer boot camp, which I’ve really enjoyed, but this summer I was unable to attend.

Instead, this past summer I was part of a research internship program for High School Seniors in Boston for six weeks, where I interned in a pharmacology lab. My ideal plan before I arrived was to get a solid base in for cross country. However, I was working 9-5 in the lab every day, and the only way I could run was either before, or after (when I didn’t feel too safe running by myself). I chose to run in the morning, but I had time constraints as I would have only from 7:00 (when I was allowed to leave the dorm) until 8:30 (when I had to catch the bus for my lab) to run, shower/get ready for the day, pick up my lunch, and eat breakfast. My time was thus severely limited.  So, every day I was stressed trying to get in my mileage and still catch the bus.  Because of this, my average pace on my runs became a lot faster, and my endurance improved a lot.

7)  Looking back at this past XC season, what do you feel was your best race?  Proudest achievements (individual and team)?
 I think my best race was probably Mt. SAC, where I won one of the Varsity Girls D1 races. I think this was my best race because it was still earlier in the season, and I didn’t have any set goals for the race for how I wanted to do. I ended up running most of the last two miles by myself, and that was such an unusual feeling that I think it really empowered me. As an individual, my proudest achievement this past season was just how much I improved at Crystal Springs. I raced at Crystal Springs in middle school actually, so I’ve always been running on that course. This past season my time at Crystal went down from 20:03 to 17:37, and I think it was a great way to culminate all of my races run there.  As a team, my proudest achievement is definitely that we made it to States. Freshman year, our girls team didn’t even make CCS, and we moved in four years to winning CCS which I’m incredibly proud of.

8)  What does a typical week look like for you?  Miles per week?  Length of longest run?  How many workouts?  Any doubles?  Strength work?
    A typical week for me is generally like this (during Cross Country season)
    Monday: Long trail runs (about 8-10 miles).
    Tuesday: Usually some workout in the hills either hill repeats/fartleks.
    Wednesday: Easy/recovery day, about 5 miles, with core.
    Thursday: Tempo run (about 4 miles flat + continuous)
    Friday: Another easy day, either core or pre-race strides.
    Saturday: Either we have a race, or fartlek workout again.
    Sundays: Rest day.
I run about 45 miles a week, but I’m increasing to 50 gradually right now to prepare for college running. The length of my longest training run is about 12 miles. We do some strength training and core on our easy/recovery days.

9)  Favorite xc invitational?  Favorite xc course?  Favorite xc workout?  Favorite track distance?  Favorite track invitational?  Favorite track workout?  Favorite team tradition?
My favorite xc invite is the Stanford Invitational. We didn’t get the chance to run it this past year, but I like how big the meet is considering how close it is to where we are. It’s also a 5k, and we don’t have the chance to run many true 5ks during the season, other than Woodward. I also love watching the college teams run, and it is so cool to be at the same race as them.

My favorite course is probably Crystal Springs.  I think because I’ve run it so many times, it feels familiar, and you can figure out how to race there. My favorite xc workout is definitely tempo runs (usually 4 or 5 miles). My favorite track distance is the 3200, but I want to run 5k/10k in college, and I think those will become my favorite.

My favorite track workout is (if I can’t say tempo runs), probably a ladder of sorts especially when you start at the longest distance so the distance + faster because it’s a good way to run a fast workout. Sometimes our team does certain interval workouts where our recovery is our partner running the interval (so a relay), and those are always very fun because you get a great workout in, but it seems so much easier. My favorite team tradition is probably either the secret sisters tradition our girls team has during all of cross country, or all of the different dinners that our team has during the season (i.e., before or after specific meets).

10)  Tell us about your coach and how he has helped you develop into the runner you are today.
My coach is Coach Kirk Flatow, and he’s one of the most passionate people I know about running. He is willing to talk to anyone, that has anything to do with running, and I appreciate that.  He also has brought in a lot of interesting speakers to speak with the team.  He has helped me create a strong base, and increase my mileage each year safely, without injuries. Also I think he has helped me with working on the stuff that isn’t running but is important (strength, and core), because I’m not sure how much I would work on it without him.

11)  What are you most looking forward to during this coming track and field season?  Goals?
I’m looking forward to seeing where my times are, I have an idea of where they might be, but I also have no idea. Some goals I have are to at least break 11 in the 3200, (and this seems like a large jump), but to break 10:45 in the 3200 as well. I also want to run a 1600 that I feel really proud of, I think I’m so much better at longer distances, that whenever I run the 1600 I feel like I have some energy left in me.  I want to run a 1600 where I know I’m completely spent. Place wise/qualifying for different races, I want our girls’ team to make the Arcadia 4x1600, but otherwise we’ll see.

12)  Anything else you would like to add.
Thanks for interviewing me, this really means a lot! I just want to add to any other runners, that you can always improve, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

Thank you very much for your time Bridget!  AJC

Posted by Berkeley Track and Field Twitter Feed

All comers meet CANCELED due to weather conditions. Those looking to run the state indoor champs contact

Friday, February 07, 2014

Qualifying for California State Indoor Meet

Due to the recent wet weather (you all wanted rain!) and forecast for tomorrow (downpour!), the two Northern California meets taking place at Berkeley and UC Davis may be cancelled.  If you have not yet qualified for the California State Indoor Meet (February 17th in Fresno) and this was your last chance to qualify, you can email the Meet Director, Rich Benoy, at and let him know your marks that you have achieved in the past.  This is not a free pass into the meet as your marks will need to be competitive and approved by the meet director.  Of course, any questions, fire him an email and he can answer all your questions.

Here is all the information about qualifying:

Cougar girls sign with D-I schools

Northern California XC and TF athletes college decisions

Agustin, Aminah-James Logan:  UC Riverside
Arias, Gabe-St. Joseph Notre Dame:  St. Mary's College
Cantrell, Gabriella-San Leandro:  USC
Cook, Daria-Vacaville:  University of Kansas
Edwards, Scott-Scotts Valley:  UCLA
Florez, Mikayla-Riverbank:  Long Beach State University
Germany, Jessica-San Lorenzo Valley:  Long Beach State University
Gottlieb, Bridget-Monta Vista:  Johns Hopkins University
Harleen, Anna-Branson:  Williams College
Hay, Dante-Maria Carrillo:  Columbia University
Hurlock, Blair-De La Salle:  Stanford University
Huxham, Fred-Redwood:  University of Washington
Kinney, James-Marin Academy:  Pomona College
LaRocco, Lauren-St. Francis, Sacramento:  University of Portland
Lathos, Alex-Notre Dame, Salinas:  Long Beach State University
MacMillan, Claire-San Lorenzo Valley:  University of Utah
Maxwell, Julia-Branson:  Stanford University
Maxwell, Anna-San Lorenzo Valley:  University of Washington
Melendez, Andrew-Bishop O'Dowd:  Santa Clara University
Mersereau, Katie-Granite Bay:  Hillsdale College
Moore, Nate-Castro Valley:  University of Oregon
Morris, Marquis-De La Salle:  USC
O'brine, Kayla-St. Francis, Sacramento:  University of California Santa Barbara
Peabody, Clare-Aptos:  Brown University
Perry, Pattriana-Vacaville:  UCLA
Plant, Zach-Menlo Atherton:  Dartmouth University
Price, Maddy-Menlo:  Duke University
Rawson, Madison-St. Francis, Sacramento:  University of Mississippi
Reed, Melissa-Mountain View:  Princeton University
Ricks, Madison-California:  USC
Robinson, Alexis-Eureka:  Baylor University
Robinson, Sarah-Gunn:  Stanford University
Schnabel, Amanda-St. Francis, Sacramento:  Bellarmine College
Shan, Sunny-Monta Vista:  Mt. Holyoke College
Sherman, Abby-San Lorenzo Valley:  University of Portland
Wethington, Karsten-James Logan:  University of California Berkeley
Wood, Hannah-Presentation:  Santa Clara University

Please email me if you would like to be added to the above list at  Feel free to send your signing picture as well.

Aptos Clare Peabody commits to Brown University

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

National Letter of Intent Signing Photos

Madison Ricks-California HS:  USC
Julia Maxwell-Branson:  Stanford University
Anna Harleen-Branson:  Williams College
Others?  Email them to and I will add them to above ongoing list of photos.

NorCal Cross Country runner of the year, Aidan Goltra, to Columbia University

I will post more later.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Redwood HS runner Fred Huxham headed to University of Washington

Redwood HS runner, Fred Huxham has verbally committed to running at University of Washington and will make it official tomorrow.  Fred is seated in the picture to the left and standing from left to right are dad (Fred), coach Laura Schmitt, brother (Theo), mother (Leslie) and assistant coach Jake Schmitt (Washington alum).

You can check out my interview with Fred at this link.  

W 3K H02 (Invite) Alexa Efraimson HS 3k record 9:00.16

9:00.16 for 3000m converts to 9:39.86 for 3200m and 9:43.21 for 2 miles. This is 4:51.61 mile pace. (

Monday, February 03, 2014


College Commitments

Seniors, if you have decided where you are attending college, please email me at and I will add you to the list.  Coaches, if you know where your athletes will be attending college, please email me as well.

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