Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Here is to an even better 2017. Thank you all for the continued support of this site. Best of luck with all your dreams and goals for the coming new year.

Top 15 most impactful individuals from 2016 Track and Field season

Check out what Northern California athletes (aside from the thrower to the left) made the list. Please feel free to add other athletes that you feel belong on the list or if an athlete deserves to be moved up. You can check out the entire list at this link:

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Good News! Hoka One One has stepped up again to sponsor the clinic. Along with support in providing coffee and bagels at breakfast and the clinic lunch, Hoka will be raffling of 3 pairs of shoes and providing a cinch bag for all coaches in attendance. Thank you again to Hoka One One for continuing to support high school coaches education program and high school distance running at large. 

We still have a few seats available for the round table, so if anyone is interested, but a little bit behind from the holidays, please email to reserve a spot.

Amador Valley High School
1155 Santa Rita Road
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Saturday, January 7, 2017
  • Session I: 9am-12pm
  • Lunch: 12pm-1pm
  • Session II: 1pm-4pm
Roundtable Leaders
  • Jason Oswalt – Clinic Co-Director
  • Chris Puppione – Clinic Co-Director
Roundtable Features
  • Everyone is a clinician, everyone is a student.
  • Roundtable topics selected by attendees in advance via email.
  • All attendees receive “A Packet of Nuggets”—a compilation of coaching gems from each attending coach.
  • Attendees will also receive a collection of training programs submitted by the other coaches in attendance.
  • Cost for the roundtable discussion is FREE.
  • Event is open to the first 30 coaches to register. 
Contact Jason Oswalt ( to register for the event, as well as to receive further information. This event is for HIGH SCHOOL COACHES ONLY.

Please contact Jason ASAP as spots will fill up fast. Some of the best coaches in California will be at this Roundtable. Don't miss out.

December 6, 2016

Dear Coaches,
Now that cross country season is almost in the books and the track and field season looms on the not-so-distant horizon, we would like to invite you to join us for a clinic unlike any other in the state of California.

On January 7, 2017, we will be hosting The NorCal Distance Coaches Collaborative Roundtable in Pleasanton, CA at Amador Valley High School. The event is scheduled to kick-off at 9am and will be attended by many of the finest coaches from our part of the state. This clinic is unique in format and concept.

Many of us have attended clinics over the years, and although we have been lucky enough to hear some great speakers, the part most of us look forward to is the aftermath—sitting around with your peers, swapping stories, discussing training ideas, asking questions, all while enjoying some good food and drink.

We have decided to get rid of the lectures and ditch the conventional while getting straight to the good stuff—some high-energy shop talk with some of our sport’s finest coaches in a relaxed environment full of friends and soon-to-be friends.  At this event, the attendees will choose the topics. Whether you want to rehash the last cross country season or talk about the track season ahead, you tell us and we will put it on the agenda.

Limited to the first 30 coaches to sign-up via email, this roundtable discussion is completely based on the contributions of all attendees. 

Here is how it works:

Coaches are asked to email Jason Oswalt ( to sign-up for the event.  

Upon receipt of your email, Jason will ask you to submit the following for the clinic by Friday, December 30, 2016:
  • Topics and ideas you would like to discuss or gain knowledge about at the clinic (training, recruiting, nutrition, state of the sport, etc.)
    • This is an absolute necessity, as these suggestions will function as our agenda for the day. This is Part I of your entrance fee.
  • A 1-3 page installment (or “nugget of knowledge”) describing something you do with your athletes that you feel is key to your program’s success (i.e. a particular workout, coaching philosophy, mental training, etc.)
    • All coaches are expected to contribute with this—consider it as Part II of your entrance fee!
    • These “nuggets” will be compiled and all attendees will receive the full collection of notes at the clinic in both print and digital formats.
  • A copy of your training plan and notes from the past cross country season or the upcoming track season.
    • This is Part III of your entrance fee, and coaches are to submit these so that they may be shared with other attendees for review, critique, and to foster discussion of training methods.
    • These training programs will be sent out to all attendees in digital format, and you are asked to print them out prior to the roundtable and make notes on them for discussion purposes.
    • By submitting your training ideas or plans in advance, you can have your season’s training discussed by some of our sport’s greatest coaches, so don’t miss out on this opportunity.
  • All submitted information must be sent in either MS Word or MS Excel docs so that they can be easily formatted for compilation.  
A running tally of coaches who commit to attending the roundtable will be maintained on Albert’s website ( so everyone can prepare any specific questions that they may have for their fellow coaches.  

Prior to the event, Jason and Chris will release a schedule that will outline the topics for the day so that each coach attending may come prepared to participate and contribute.  

THERE ARE NO LECTURERS AT THIS EVENT. We are not presenting a seminar—this is an opportunity to expand the discussion and for everyone to be a student and a teacher.  

Attending coaches are encouraged to bring any information they wish to discuss or share to the event. We will have overhead projectors, LCD projectors, as well as AV equipment—bring it all.  

Also, we would like all coaches in attendance to bring their laptop computers with them, as we will be using internet connections to access information during discussion periods. Please be sure to have your flash drive or memory stick with you so you can steal/borrow info from other coaches.  

Sign-in on January 7th will begin at 8:30am with the roundtable beginning promptly at 9am. We will section the day into topics picked by our attendees.  

We will break for lunch at noon, and then reconvene for further discussion starting at 1pm. The roundtable ends at 4pm.  

While this is an open discussion, Jason and Chris will serve as leaders for the event. These coaches will act as guides for the discussion, keeping the roundtable focused while moving the group through the agenda and moderating input from all coaches. They will offer their insights as well, but they are not clinicians or panelists.  

On the day of the event, all attending coaches will receive the following:
  • “A Packet of Nuggets”—a compilation of coaching gems from all attendees
  • A collection of all attendees training programs
  • Great conversation with amazing colleagues  
It is our belief that this collaborative roundtable will be of great benefit for all coaches—rookies and veterans alike. Please join us for this amazing event by emailing your registration to Jason Oswalt (

Be a part of the excitement—be a part of the conversation. Join us January 7, 2017 at Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, CA for The 8th Annual NorCal Distance Coaches’ Collaborative Roundtable.

Yours in running,
Jason Oswalt
Chris Puppione

List of Attendees
  1. Jason Oswalt  Amador Valley High School
  2. Chris Puppione
  3. Albert Caruana Crystal Springs Uplands School
  4. Brandon Lawrence Hercules
  5. Josh Small Valley Christian SJ
  6. John Hotchkiss Mission San Jose
  7. Gus Ibarra North Monterey County
  8. Andy Chan Sacred Heart Cathedral
  9. Diana Fitzpatrick Marin Catholic
  10. Craig Lee Presentation
  11. John Maloney Archbishop Mitty
  12. Francisco Cornejo Palma
  13. Jorge Chen Menlo
  14. Benny Willers Archbishop Riordan
  15. Peter Brewer Northgate
  16. Ruth Seabrook Northgate
  17. Hilary Kigar Bishop O'Dowd
  18. Tomilyn Thornberry Foothill
  19. Andy Lindquist Campolindo 
  20. Jason Guven Andrew Hill
  21. Sean Kohles Skyline
  22. Rich Miller Sir Francis Drake
  23. Tony Fong St. Joseph Notre Dame
  24. Jack Coakley College Prep
  25. Peanut Harms El Dorado

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Interview with 800m national record holder, Michael Granville

For you youngsters out there that are not familiar with Michael Granville, here are his PRs after each grade listed below. 9th-12th grade are all CA records with the 1:46.45 the still standing national record.
8th grade: 1:56.3
9th grade: 1:51.03
10th grade: 1:48.98
11th grade: 1:47.96
12th grade: 1:46.45

Monday, December 26, 2016

Who are the top 10 male Track and Field athletes in Northern California?

Now for the boys. Who are the top 10 boys Track and Field athletes in Northern California? The only returning California state champion from the 2016 is Cooper Teare, St. Joseph Notre Dame, who won the 3200m. Others?

I will have a running list as they are added in the comment section below.

a) Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) 4:06.79 mile/8:51.85 3200m/8:53.74 2 miles
b) Luis Grijalva Armijo (SJS) 1:56.70 800m/4:07.68 1600m/8:59.98
c) Myles Ellis Antelop (SJS) 21.94 200m/46.78 400m
d) Deion Lightfoot-Shelton Kimball (SJS) 13.78 110m HH/39.12 300m IH
e) Michael Vernau Davis (SJS) 4:13.67 1600m/8:54.58 3200m
f) Ben Micallef Bellarmine (CCS) 49.37 400m/1:52.29 800m

Friday, December 23, 2016

Who are the top 10 female Track and Field athletes in Northern California?

I posted the top 10 female athletes for all of California for the upcoming Track & Field season at this LINK. 5 of them are from Northern California and they are Alyssa Brewer (California), Jurnee Woodward (Vacaville), Rylee Bowen (Sonoma Academy), Pamela Amaechi (Lincoln, SF) and Olivia O'Keeffe (Davis). Who else would you add to the list so we can have the top 10 NorCal female Track and Field athletes?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Jesuit HS coach, Walt Lange

The following article was unearthed by Hank Lawson and it's from November 1980. You can also check out my interview with Walt at this LINK. Another one of my favorite interviews was with one of Walt's best runners, Paul Thomas. You can check out my interview with Paul at this LINK. For those of you not familiar with all the success Walt has had at Jesuit, check out their Track and Field top 25 list HERE. Aside from all of the success on the track, Jesuit has also won 9 state cross country titles which ties them with McFarland for the most state titles by a boys team.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2017 NCS Distance State Meet Contenders

Here is what I have so far.  Remember only top 3 qualify to the CA state Track and Field meet unless you make the 2017 At-Large Time Standards. Additions? Changes? Who are the freshmen that will contend? Comments?

Girls 800m.
The favorites: Alyssa Brewer California (defending section & state champion)
Threats: Gillian Wagner Redwood, Avi Perteete St. Mary's Berkeley (state meet qualifier)
Wildcards: Molly Neach San Ramon Valley, Imani Boggan Acalanes, Marissa D'Atri Alhambra

Boys 800m.
The favorite: Niki Moore Campolindo (defending section champion)
Threats: Andrew Thomas Redwood (state meet qualifier), Miles Duncan Deer Valley
Wildcards: Isaias Deleon De La Salle, Spencer Small University, Mesgna Neghasi Tamalpais, Will Dunbar Petaluma, Zachery Esponda Casa Grande

Girls 1600m.
The favorite: Rylee Bowen Sonoma Academy (defending section champion)
Threats: Meredith Corda Monte Vista (state meet qualifier), Glennis Murphy Redwood
Wildcards: Hannah Fishlow Miramonte, Cassidy Haskell Miramonte, Kai Bohannon Liberty, Grace Dailey Branson, Brianna Bourne College Prep, Madalyne Coney Monte Vista

Boys 1600m.
The favorite: Liam Anderson Redwood
Threats: Neil Braganza Dougherty Valley (state meet qualifier), Luca Mazzanti Santa Rosa
Wildcards: Isaias De Leon De La Salle, Kellen O'Neill Arcata, Tristan Miller Monte Vista, Omar Maklaf Livermore, Adrian Schroeder Dublin, Munir Kabbara San Rafael

Girls 3200m.
The favorite: Kiera Marshall St. Joseph Notre Dame/Glennis Murphy Redwood
Threats: Rylee Bowen Sonoma Academy, Meredith Corda Monte Vista,
Wildcards: Isabella Chao Campolindo, Hannah Ruane Campolindo, Collen McCandless Granada, Cassidy Haskell Miramonte, Kinga Bihari Granada

Boys 3200m.
The favorite: Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (defending section and state champion)
Threats: Anirudh Surapenani Dublin (state meet qualifier, Brian Schulz El Molino,
Wildcards: Jared Yabu Campolindo, Daniel Pride Santa Rosa, John Bennett Granada, Ryan Cutter Hercules

2017 SJS Distance State Meet Contenders

As with NCS and CCS, 3 qualify to the CA state Track and Field meet unless you make the 2017 At-Large Time Standards.  It's very possible I could have missed an athlete or two so please chime in below on those athletes.  Additional comments?

Girls 800m.
The favorite: Cathilyn McIntosh Del Oro (defending section champion)
Threats: Kara Smith Franklin (state meet qualifier), Delaney Rasmussen Vista del Lago, Madison Meade Roseville
Wildcards: Kendall Herod Cosumnes Oak, Megan Auernig Rio Americano, Erika Wolf Nevada Union, Adrien York Armijo, Jaxin Woodward Vacaville, Alyssa Barnes El Camino

Boys 800m.
The favorites: Xavier Weaver Franklin/Jose Cruz McClatchy (state meet qualifier)
Threats: Derek Parker Woodcreek, Henry Fisher Vista del Lago
Wildcards: Karl Winter St. Mary's Stockton, Derek Dokter Sheldon, Vadim Pelavin Vintage, Patrick Wiseman Christian Brothers, Nixon McKenzie Armijo

Girls 1600m.
The favorite: Olivia O'Keeffe Davis (defending section champion)
Threats: Sarah Chavez El Camino (state meet qualifier), Abigail Fisk Davis, Maddy Denner Oak Ridge, Angela Dipentino Woodcreek
Wildcards: Sofia Castiglioni Davis, Cassi Land Sonora, Jaxin Woodward Vacaville, Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sac, Erika Wolf Nevada Union, Elena Denner Oak Ridge, Sophia Karperos Rio Americano

Boys 1600m.
The favorite: Luis Grijalva Armijo (defending section champion)
Threats: Brendan Jones Jesuit, Collin De Julio Vista del Lago, Tre Lockwood Granite Bay
Wildcards: Noah Wallace Rio Americano, Andres Sandoval Tokay, Karl Winter St. Mary's Stockton, Luis Ramirez Benicia

Girls 3200m.
The favorites: Sofia Castiglioni Davis, Alexandra Beitia Granite Bay
Threats: Sydney Vandegrift St. Francis, Sac (state meet qualifier), Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sac,
Wildcards: Olivia O'Keeffe Davis, Cassi Land Sonora, Angela Dipentino Woodcreek, Alize Hartke Oakmont, Isabella Dobson Elk Grove, Cessair McKinney Bella Vista, Alyssa Barnes El Camino, Sophia Karperos Rio Americano

Boys 3200m.
The favorite: Luis Grijalva Armijo (state meet qualifier)
Threats: Michael Vernau Davis (state meet qualifier), Jake Ritter Granite Bay, Ben Holland Jesuit
Wildcards: Noah Wallace Rio Americano, Brendan Jones Jesuit, Tre Lockwood Granite Bay, Luis Ramirez Benicia, Jonah Weiner-Brodkay McClatchy, Aldo Perez Tokay, Drew Spencer Oak Ridge

Friday, December 16, 2016

Woodward Park All-Time Top 10 NorCal (boys and girls) times

1) German Fernandez Riverbank (SJS) 14:24 (course record) 2007
2) Jay Marden Mission San Jose (NCS) 14:42 1980
3) Calvin Gaziano Castro Valley (NCS) 14:49 1984
4) Luis Grijalva Armijo (SJS) 14:50 2016
5) Michael Vernau Davis (SJS) 14:52 2016
6) Mark Mastalir Jesuit (SJS) 14:54 1985
7) Matt Farley Jesuit (SJS) 14:57 1993
8) Jason Balkman Lynbrook (CCS) 14:58 1994
9) Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) 14:59 2016
10) Trevor Reinhart Marin Academy (NCS) 14:59 2014

1) Julia Stamps Santa Rosa (NCS) 16:43 1996
2) Amber Trotter Ukiah (NCS) 16:55 2001
3) Fiona O'Keeffe Davis (SJS) 16:57 2014
4) Kristen Gordon Carondelet (NCS) 17:01 1996
5) Cate Ratliff Santa Cruz (CCS) 17:04 2015
6) Morgin Coonfield McKinleyville (NCS) 17:08 2015
7) Anna Maxwell San Lorenzo Valley (CCS) 17:08 2013
8) Rebecca Chamberlain Leigh (CCS) 17:09 1984
9) Laurie Chapman Gunderson (CCS) 17:10 1985
10) Sara Bei Montgomery (NCS) 17:13 2000

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

2017 CCS Distance State Meet Contenders

Here is what I have so far. Remember only top 3 qualify to the CA state Track and Field meet unless you make the 2017 At-Large Time Standards. Additions? Changes? Comments?

Girls 800m.
The favorites: Mari Friedman Santa Cruz (Defending section champion)
Threats: Gabrielle Joffe Mt. View (state meet qualifier), Claire Traum Castilleja, Anaya Ward Santa Cruz
Wildcards: Brianna Bilter St. Ignatius, Kelly Bishop Monta Vista, Marisa Villegas San Benito, , Anna Christjansen Los Gatos, Elana Kamas Homestead

Boys 800m.
The favorite: Benjamin Micallef Bellarmine (Defending section champion)
Threats: Nolan Sanchez San Benito (state meet qualifier), Andy Buchanan Milpitas, Kyler Spindola Leigh
Wildcards: Alex Scales Bellarmine, Nedu Ndili Valley Christian SJ, Graham MacFarquhar Sacred Heart Prep, Edelbert Claudio Sacred Heart Cathedral, Rico Braxton St. Francis CC

Girls 1600m.
The favorite:  Marisa Villegas San Benito (Section 2nd place finisher)
Threats: Emily Skahill St. Francis (state meet qualifier), Marea Zlatunich Aptos, Elana Kamas Homestead
Wildcards: Natalie Novitsky Sacred Heart Prep, Kelly Bishop Monta Vista, Abbey Meck San Lorenzo Valley, Lindsay Allen Homestead, AnnMarie Howell Santa Teresa, Sarah Gayer Mills, Oriana Jalal Cupertino

Boys 1600m. 
The favorite: Matt Richardson Bellarmine (Defending section champion)
Threats: Kent Slaney Palo Alto (state meet qualifier), Roman Munoz King City (state meet qualifier), Dylan Doblar Bellarmine
Wildcards: Jorge Estrella Andrew Hill, Alex Scales Bellarmine, Robert Miranda Menlo, Zach Walker Willow Glen

Girls 3200m.
The favorite: Niki Iyer Harker, (Defending section champion)
Threats: Emily Skahill St. Francis (state meet qualifier), Maryam Jawid Lynbrook, Kaylah Grant Live Oak
Wildcards: Sarah Gayer Mills, Lindsay Allen Homestead, Sarah Feng Monta Vista, Evelin Meza Greenfield

Boys 3200m.
The favorite: Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau Bellarmine
Threats: Shyam Kumar St. Francis, Robert Miranda Menlo, Roman Munoz King City,
Wildcards: Zach Walker Willow Glen, Kent Slaney Palo Alto, Jorge Estrella Andrew Hill, Jake Lange Nueva, Alex Scales Bellarmine, Dylan Doblar Bellarmine, Colton Colonna St. Francis

Next:  2016 SJS Distance State Meet Contenders

Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 NorCal Cross Country Awards

Now that the 2016 XC season is complete, here are my awards for this past cross country season.
2011 Award Winners
2012 Award Winners
2013 Award Winners
2014 Award Winners
2015 Award Winners
Feel free to share your comments below.

Most Valuable Runner (boys)-Luis Grijalva Armijo (SJS)
Most Valuable Runner (girls)-Glennis Murphy Redwood (NCS)

Most Impressive Performance (boys)-Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS) at Stanford Invitational
Most Impressive Performance (girls)-Olivia O'Keeffe Davis (SJS) at California State Meet

Most Impressive Performance (boys' team)-Dublin (NCS) at Clovis Invitational
Most Impressive Performance (girls' team)-Davis (SJS) at NXN

Most Inspirational (boys)-Michael Vernau Davis (SJS)
Most Inspirational (girls)-Kiera Marshall St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS)

Most Improved Runner (boys)-Meika Beaudoin-Rousseau Bellarmine (CCS)
Most Improved Runner (girls)-Alexandra Beitia Granite Bay (SJS)

Lifetime Achievement Award (boys)-Cooper Teare St. Joseph Notre Dame (NCS)
Lifetime Achievement Award (girls)-Sofia Castiglioni Davis (SJS)

Buster Posey (rookie of the year)-Matt Strangio Jesuit (SJS)
Buster Posey (rookie of the year)-Isabella Fauria St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS)

Best Robin to Batman (best supporting actor)-Andrew Thomas Redwood (NCS)
Best Robin to Batman (best supporting actress)-Gillian Wagner Redwood (NCS)

Best Three Amigos-Anirudh Serapaneni, Gaurav Phanse, Adrian Schroeder Dublin (NCS)
Best Three Amigas-Sofia Castiglioni, Olivia O'Keeffe, Abigail Fisk/Sophie Lodigiani Davis (SJS)

Boys Coach of the Year (Directing)-Chuck Woolridge Campolindo (NCS)
Girls Coach of the Year (Directing)-Bill Gregg Davis (SJS)

Any other awards?

Watch Footlocker national championship meet live

Thursday, December 08, 2016

2016 All-NorCal Teams have now been posted

Feel free to comment below on any of the selections. My own NorCal cross country awards will be posted after the Footlocker national meet tomorrow.

NorCal Track & Field Power Events Clinic

The clinic will take place on Saturday, January 7th from 8am to 5pm at Prospect HS. All info can be found at the following link:

Monday, December 05, 2016

All-NorCal Cross Country Awards

This will be the 6th year for these awards and they will be posted after the Footlocker national meet this coming Saturday. If you want to check out all the award winners the past 5 years, you can check out the following link:

If you have a deserving athlete, team or coach, please feel free to add them below in the comment section.

Interviews with the four NorCal coaches whose teams made the podium at CA state XC meet

Aptos coach Dan Gruber (October 17, 2008)

Campolindo coach Chuck Woolridge (September 22, 2008)

Davis coach Bill Gregg (October 5, 2007)

Nueva coach Jeff Gilkey (was coaching Carlmont at time of this interview, September 26, 2007)

You can check out all my other coaching interviews at this link:

If there are other coaches that you would like to see interviewed, feel free to email me at or post the name in the comment section below.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Bellarmine's First All-Comers Meet on Saturday, December 10th

The 9:00 am 2 mile will be broken into heats and used by us, at least, as a Postal time trial… runners can run fast heats of the 3200 for Postal. All events will have Brad Lindemann timing FAT with our FinishLynx system.

Here is the link to the meet information:


Thursday, December 01, 2016

Catching up with Campolindo senior, Ray Diaz

Today we chat with Campolindo senior runner, Ray Diaz. This past Saturday, Diaz and his Campolindo teammates finished in 3rd place in the Division III race at the California state meet to win another state trophy for the Cougar boys' squad (four total for the boys in school history). Diaz was on the Campolindo varsity last year as the boys won their 3rd straight NCS title and had a near podium performance at the state meet with a 6th place finish. A motivated group returned this year to repeat as NCS champions and more importantly, make the podium again with their 3rd place finish. In the merge scoring, Campolindo was the top ranked NorCal boys team.

1) How did you get your start in running? What was your first experience? Any track PRs before HS? What other sports have you played aside from XC and TF?
Funny thing, I never did cross country before high school, I was a basketball player in middle school. The only running I ever did before high school was running the “mile time trial” in physical education class. I think the fastest I ever ran in PE was around a 6:45, which is pretty astonishing looking back at how much I have improved over the past four years.
Running was a struggle for me before high school, I was never really into running at all. In fact, my dad forced me into joining the cross country team. The only reasons I agreed with him were to get in shape for basketball and make some new friends.

2) Any highlights for you as a freshman/sophomore on the cross country and track and field teams? Proudest achievements during your first two high school years? Who were the runners that you looked up to whether that was on the Campo team or other schools?
One athlete I looked up to was Thomas Heutmaker! He once told me before a race, “You just gotta relax man.” He was also a fearless racer too. Freshman year was an adjustment period. It was hard to adapt to the rigorous training that Chuck has implemented. I was really “perplexed” during my freshman season, as Aidan Goltra would say. Anyway, I kept a steady improvement over the course of that freshman season. I started off running a fourteen minute two mile at the Martinez Shoreline Park, and ended up running an 11:18 at the Shadow Cliffs 1.95 mile course that freshman season.  There weren’t many highlights during my freshman / sophomore year of high school, but one thing that I guess is a highlight was winning the 1600m and 3200m at the Frosh-Soph level. Those races gave me a taste of what winning feels like, which feels great!

3) When do you feel like you made the jump during high school from runner to racer, junior varsity to varsity? What led you to making that jump?
When I was a Sophomore, I had the opportunity to be an alternate in the postseason for the 2014 boys’ varsity squad. It motivated me to be more consistent with my training. Although I never raced on varsity that year, it motivated me to get better.  

4) What do you feel was your best races last year as a junior in both XC and TF?
I’d have to say my best race during my junior year of XC was definitely Stanford. I delivered a 16th place finish in a time of 16:16 for the 5k distance.  I wasn’t racing well before that race, mainly because I was sick, but those early races didn’t hurt my confidence. It was the race that made me truly believe.  What was even more exciting was that we beat a southern section powerhouse, Paso Robles, 52-58!

My best track performance was DFAL Championships in the 3200m. I ran a personal record of 9:32 in the 3200m, but four of our top guys broke 9:35 that day, which was even more exciting. I eventually advanced to MOC that year, which was a big step for me before going into my senior year of cross country.

5) Your team won NCS last year and finished 6th place at the state meet? How many returning varsity athletes did you have from last season? 
I was very honored to contribute to  a third straight NCS title, but our main emphasis was on state that year. Our goal was to challenge Brea Olinda for the team title. We were confident going into that race, mainly because we beat a potential podium team earlier in the year (Paso Robles). As you said, we ended up finishing 6th, which stung hard that day. I was devastated that all the hard work we put in over the year didn’t pay off that one day. Paso Robles ended up finishing third, while Brea Olinda won the team title by one point…...

I remember watching the Paso Robles team receive their team medals.  I sat next to my coach Andy, he said to me, “I hope you let this moment sink in and motivate you.”

We graduated four runners (Jon, Nathaniel, Matt, and Miguel), but returned three out our top five (JJ, Richard and myself). At the end of track season, after a lot of effort, we convinced Niki Moore to finally quit football and do cross country. He won MOC last track season in the 800m, so his participation in cross country gave us better depth this year.

6) Did you do anything differently this past summer as you prepared for this cross country season? 
I attended two summer camps. The first camp I attended was Runners Workshop up at Echo Lake. It was a challenge running at altitude for a week, but I learned a whole bunch there. The second camp I attended was Humboldt State Running camp, for the first time! I wasn’t able to go to Humboldt my sophomore and junior year because of family vacations. Our team goes up to Humboldt at the end of July to learn more about the fundamentals of running. That week was a blast, I learned so much from the amazing lectures given by coaches. I also made some friends from other schools too! Other than that, I just kept running consistently and logged all my miles on Xcstats and Strava (Both amazing tools for logging runs, would absolutely recommend to those athletes with GPS watches wanting to upload their miles).
7) What do you feel are the key reasons for the success of the Campolindo teams?
There are a lot of key reasons for the success of recent Campolindo teams, but to me, there are two main reasons behind that success. One of them is Coaching, which I’ll talk about in the next question in more detail. The second is the culture at Campolindo. Everyone on this team, whether they are on varsity, frosh-soph, or junior varsity, all work hard. Everyone is dedicated, they train in the offseason, log their miles, and have a positive attitude when coming to practice.

These are the traits that make Campolindo such a great program.
8) Tell us about your coaches and how they have helped you get to your current level as a runner.
Oh man, I don’t know where I would be without Chuck, Andy, Joey, and Jeff today! They’ve really been huge role models in my daily life. Chuck has really taught me the basic principle of working hard towards achieving your goals and how to be more organized. Andy, Jeff, and Joey are great assistant coaches. They’re easy to talk to, good role models, and great examples of dedicated people!

9) What was the race plan heading into the state meet for the team and you personally? How did the race go for you? What was the toughest part of the race? When did your team find out they made the podium? Reaction?
Going into the race, the plan was to go out fast first mile while trying to stay relaxed. Our coaches told us if we didn’t get out hard in the first mile and go sub five, it would be almost impossible to make up ground because you're eating the dust of 100+ runners. The coaches also emphasized not leading the first mile, but rather staying in contention. After the first mile mark, our team was in fourth position, which was perfect for us. We then had to make a big push during that middle mile, which was the main emphasis going into the race. Picking up a bunch of places during that middle mile was the toughest part for me, but it put me in position for a good day. After the second mile, we were supposed to hold on and channel that inner belief / inspiration.

Before the race, I was actually nervous. I don’t get nervous before races usually, but this race was an exception.  I knew it would be my last XC race in a Campolindo uniform, so that played a part. I ended up running a 15:55.3 to finish 31st. I don’t think it was that great of a race for me individually. I would’ve liked to finish in the top 25. Right when I crossed the finish line, I was pretty exhausted. About thirty seconds after finishing, I heard the announcer say, “Cathedral Catholic, West Torrance, and Campolindo with five runners across the finish line” but, I was convinced we got fourth. When our we were walking back to our team area, Andy started jumping up and down, saying “We did it!!” It brought me to tears. It was gratifying. It was our first podium finish in 8 years, after coming so close in 2013, and 2015. It was a dream come true for me.

10) Favorite XC course? Favorite XC invitational? Favorite XC workout? Favorite long run? Favorite TF invitational? Favorite TF event? Favorite TF workout? Favorite free time activity?
Favorite XC Course: Hidden Valley Park
Favorite XC invitational: Roughrider for sure, mostly because we miss school for the day and get to ride on a charter bus.
Favorite XC workout: 25 minute tempo run @ 20k pace
Favorite Long run: Old Moraga Ranch Trail behind the Saint Mary’s College campus, very hilly + lots of cow pastures. Also an amazing view of the entire East Bay from above!
Favorite TF Invitational: Dublin Distance Fiesta! Great atmosphere, Dublin does a really good job of running the meet there, even when there are 2000 + athletes running.
Favorite TF Event: 3200m
Favorite Track Workout: This is a tough one, I don’t really have an answer to that question, other than all track workouts are my favorite!
Favorite free time activity: Listening to music or watching the amazing Golden State Warriors play! Beauty to watch them play on national television. They are the perfect example of excellent teamwork.

11) As you turn your attention toward the track season, what are your goals and races you are most looking forward to in 2017?
Oh man, I’m really looking forward to this track season! This will be my last high school season before heading off to college to study and run. Time really does fly. One race I’m looking forward to is the Stanford Track invitational. For the past couple of years, Chuck has sent a Distance Medley Relay team down to Palo Alto. This season, we want to break our school record (10:28). We came close the last time we ran at Stanford (10:31). Another race I have my eyes on is Arcadia! Our coaches haven't sent a boys team down to Arcadia in quite some time, but that will hopefully change this year. We would like a shot to break the 4xMile school record (17:43). As of now, our top 1600m times are 4:26-JJ, 4:27-Niki, 4:30-Me, and 4:31-Richard. Some personal goals I’ve made are sub 9:20 in the 3200m and to enjoy my last season! I’d also love to get in the top 6 at NCS Meet of Champions in the 3200m.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Shout out to my teammates for stepping up to the challenge at state this year! Thanks for the interview!

Thank you very much for your time Ray! AJC

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