Thursday, July 30, 2020

Sir Francis Drake High School to change its name

This has been in the works for the past few years and now made official.
Sir Francis Drake High School to change its name
Here is another LINK.

Here are a few interviews with a former Sir Francis Drake coach and runners.

Former coach Rod Berry

Former runner John Lawson

Former runner and current Oakland Tech coach Richie Boulet

Current coach Robyn Berry
coming up...

Here is a SITE with some very cool Drake historical photos, records etc.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Pre-Season NorCal Cross Country individual rankings

Here is my attempt to rank the individuals for the potential Cross Country season. To rank the following runners, I looked at the 2019 state results to find the top returners, looked at the top track and field marks, and also used the MileSplit Compare Athletes page which you can check out at this LINK. Feel free to comment below on any of the rankings below and if you feel like I missed any runners, please add their credentials below.

1) Colin Peattie Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
2) Nolan Topper Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
3) Patrick Curulla De La Salle (NCS) Division II
4) Galen Topper Bellarmine (CCS) Division I
5) Spencer Pickren Jesuit (SJS) Division I
6) Michael Chambers Jesuit (SJS) Division I
7) Dylan Gunn Campolindo (NCS) Division III
8) Hudson Grace Redwood (NCS) Division II
9) Godebo Chapman West Campus (SJS) Division IV
10) Euan Houston Amador Valley (NCS) Division II

On the Bubble
John Lester Amador Valley (NCS) Division II
Ajani Salcido Jesuit (SJS) Division I
Kellen Steplight Vacaville (SJS) Division II
Alex Lodewick Campolindo (NCS) Division III
Alex Mader Lick-Wilmerding (NCS) Division V
Kamran Murray Menlo (CCS) Division IV
Calvin Katz Menlo (CCS) Division IV

1) Alexandra Klos Vista del Lago (SJS) Division
2) Harper McClain St. Helena (NCS) Division V
3) Riley Chamberlain Del Oro (SJS) Division
4) Cate Joaquin St. Francis, Sacramento (SJS) Division
5) Lauren Soobrian Los Altos (CCS) Division 1
6) Madison Kackley Gregori (SJS) Division I
7) Hope Bergmark Amador Valley (NCS) Division II
8) Shae Hill Granada (NCS) Division II
9) Kaiya Brooks Crystal Springs Uplands (CCS) Division V
10) Audrey Allen Miramento (NCS) Division IV

On the Bubble
Ellie Buckley Campolindo (NCS) Division III
Evie Cohen St. Ignatius (CCS) Division III
Maya Lacamp Lick-Wilmerding (NCS) Division V

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Catching up with Lynbrook coach Hank Lawson...

A throwback to my interview with Hank Lawson from 2008. Hank stepped down from coaching after 2009 and has been timing and continuing to gather results, photos, and videos for the Lynbrook Sports website. 
For those of you that visit the website, you are in for a treat as our next interview is with that websites' webmaster, Lynbrook coach Hank Lawson. Besides keeping all the CCS folks in the loop in terms of results, history and much more, Hank has an outstanding group of runners this year with his girls' ranked 4th in Division II and his boys are working their way up the rankings and could be a factor come CCS time. Hank is pictured to the left in 2004 sporting his high school uniform top.

1) How did you get your start in distance running?
Back in 8th grade, I was challenged to a 600 for a Milkshake. I won the shake and been running ever since (it cost the PE coach $.25 - a well spent quarter)

2) High school and college experiences? Highlights?
Still on the School Record boards at Gunn HS (far right in photo) and De Anza JC in the 4x1 mile. At San Diego State we were 8th in the NCAA XC Champs my Junior year (I was 7th man but was sick that weekend so I didn't get to race - although my name shows in the results for our 5th man forgot his race # so he had to use mine). Guinness Book of World Records for the Baby Buggy push. A team of 50 runners ran for 24 hrs pushing a Baby Buggy and we averaged 4:11 per mile (see below). Running Boston and being 2nd Californian.
Yes, 4:11 is correct but this is how we did it. We only ran a 220 (yd) at a time so it was very easy (for some that is) to run 31.35 avg for all of our 220's (since some guys were running faster than that). The way it worked was there were 5 teams of 10 runners. When it was your team's turn, each runner had to run 8 x 220 (resting while the other 9 ran their 220). So you got 4 1/2 minutes to rest between 220s. Then you got 2-3 hours of rest (sleep) while the other 4 teams ran their 220s. It's just that 4:11 per mile sounds more impressive (and the non-runner was able to relate to that mile time) then saying we ran 8x220 at 31.35 (which means nothing to the non-runner). Remember, we had to market this to the paper so they would cover the story. Funny thing is, we told the paper when we thought we would break the existing record so they showed up 5 minutes before that 'predicted' time - well, we were running so fast that we actually broke the record 45 minutes earlier so the paper missed the 'breaking' of the record and had to settle for just seeing the final record mark. The last 30 minutes, all teams were there and we just threw the order out the window and runners were hoping in to run a 220 when they felt recovered and ready to go (we were all getting our picture taken so lots of egos were getting satisfied).

3) You are still competing to this day. How much of your running is done with the team? on your own? What races do you compete in?
When I'm able to run with the team, I'd say 1/4th of my running is done with them. I can hang with the JV runners unless it's downhill, then I can hang with the Varsity.

4) What inspired you to get involved in coaching?
HS XC was a great experience for me and I wanted to give something back to my HS, so I went and coached at Gunn for 4 years. Then I wanted to be a head coach and when the job at Lynbrook came along, I took it.

5) How long have you been coaching at Lynbrook HS? Previous experiences in coaching? Coaching highlights?
Lynbrook from '94 to present. At Gunn from '88-'92. At Hewlett-Packard (I started the South Bay team) from '78-'87. I loved coaching the inexperienced runner when working at HP as a Programmer. Most had never run track, especially the women, and they were all eager to commit to running and to get better. HS'ers are the same, just younger. Sometimes it takes them a little longer to commit to the sport then adults but when they do they are just as excited about getting better and seeing how far they can go. Coaching Highlights... when I learn that someone I coached is now coaching as well, that's a kick!

6) Who do consider your coaching mentors?
Hal Daner (Gunn HS - he's the one that paid the quarter for that milkshake), Forrest Jamieson (Jr High coach, father of XC in the Bay Area - he was the creator of the National Postal races back in the '60s-'80s), Jim Linthecum (De Anza JC) - all great role models.

7) One of your other interests is acting on stage. How did you get involved in that? Any cross over between acting and coaching?
I was tall for my age so in 2nd grade I was given the part of a dancing pickle - been doing it ever since. With XC I have a captive audience so I am always on-stage - life is but a stage. I am very animated and I think that helps to loosen up the kids up as well and then when I compete and put on my 'game face' they see that as well and know there is a time to play and a time to race - and to take them both very seriously.

8) I, like many other people, visit your website ( religiously each day. How did the website get it's start?
In '96 I saw that Lynbrook had a web team and a server on campus that was run by kids. I became the mentor of the web team (I'm a programmer by trade) to try and make the site the place to go to for information on Lynbrook HS (not just sports). The XC and Track section grew the fastest and we were getting lots of visits which helped give the whole site more exposure, which in turn required more support and hardware (success breeds success), and then it just kept growing. It then became too big for itself and was requiring too much bandwidth and disc space (over 10gigs I think) so I needed to move it to another server (thank you DyeStat) which allowed me to keep and grow the history side of the site as well as the current year.

9) Where did you get most of the past results? Who have been your best sources?
Plato Yanicks, coach at Menlo-Atherton from '58-'88, has a garage full of results. One scrapbook for XC and one for Track for every year thru 1990, starting with 1947 (when he started coaching in the East Bay). These books are filled with results and newspaper clippings - an amazing resource. I'm slowly scanning and posting the pertinent data from these books (I'm up to 1963 right now). I also inherited what the old XC/Track coach at Lynbrook had (Verne Thornburg), although most of the track stuff had gotten tossed so I went to Gunn HS and went thru Daner's files. Lots of coaches have given me access to their files which I then scan and then give back the hardcopy as well as a disc with the information - any other takers out there...?

10) Based on your experience and scanning of so many results in CCS, who would you pick as the five best runners (boys and girls)?
I'm assuming you mean 5 best all-time... BOYS- Mitch Kingery (San Carlos), Matt Guisto (San Mateo), Gordon MacMitchell (Gunn, he could've beat Kingery's time if he didn't have to sit out a year), Jesse Torres (Independence) and Chris Carey (Carlmont, he only ran the old Crystal Course). GIRLS - Katy McCandless (Castilleja), Lori Chapman (Gunderson), Roxanne Bier (Independence), Rebecca Chamberlain (Leigh), Alejandra Barrientos (SLV) - Tori Tyler (Gunn) had one fantastic time at Crystal which she won all by herself which would be considered a phenomenal performance given no one was even close to her that day.

11) This is your chance to make your plea for any past results (or anything else) that you would like to add to your site.
Coaches - please let me scan your files if you have any, let's not lose the history.

12) Anything else you would like to add.
Please forgive my spelling (Albert, will you clean up for me?) and come see me in "Antigone In the Oval Office" playing at Theatre At San Pedro Square in downtown SJ - I play a Secret Service man protecting the President. I'm a nothing part but my daughter has the lead...

Thank you very much for your time with the interview and the website Hank! AJC

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Northern California Invitationals (as well as statewide events)

I will start a list here if you would like to add your Invitational to either the Cross Country and Track and Field schedules. At this point, all dates and locations are tentative and subject to change.

Cross Country
Saturday, January 9 or 16-Lowell Invitational at GGP (tentative)
Saturday, January 23-Westmoor Ram Invitational at Westmoor HS
Saturday, January 30-Artichoke Invitational at Half Moon Bay HS
Friday/Saturday, February 5/6 at Woodward Park
Friday/Saturday, February 19/20 at Mt. SAC
Saturday, March 6th-SJS Subsection at Angel's Camp
Saturday, March 13th-SJS Section Final at Willow Hills, Folsom
Saturday, March 20th-CCS Championship at TBA
Saturday, March 20th-NCS Championship at Hayward HS
Saturday, March 27th-California State Meet at Woodward Park

Track and Field
Saturday, April 3-Dan Gabor Invitational at Amador Valley HS
Friday/Saturday, April 23/24-Dublin Distance Fiesta at Dublin HS
Saturday, May 22-Northern California Frosh/Soph Championships at Dublin HS
Saturday, June 12-NCS Class A and Area Meets at TBA
Friday/Saturday, June 18/19-NCS MOC at TBA
Friday/Saturday, June 25/26-California State Championship at Buchanan HS

From the Redwood Empire area, here are the dates proposed so far.

Statewide tentative Invitationals thanks to Ken Reeves

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

CIF Announcement concerning sports in 2020/21

You can find their announcement at this LINK. Their schedule is below. NCS update is HERE. SJS update is HERE. Northern Section update posted today at this LINK. CCS update which was posted today on Tuesday is at this LINKOAK, and SF updates coming up.
Feel free to comment below regarding their proposed schedule in the comment section below.

2020 Virtual HSU Distance Running Camp

Here is the info for the Humboldt Camp which will take place starting next Monday, July 27th.

Here can register for this FREE running camp at this LINK.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Catching up with Santa Rosa HS coach, Carrie Joseph

Today we catch up with Santa Rosa High School Cross Country and Track and Field head coach, Carrie Joseph. She has been coaching the very successful cross country and track and field teams at Santa Rosa HS along with Doug Courtemarche since 1997 until she took over the reins of both programs in the last few seasons.  Joseph competed at the University of Michigan and is a mighty proud Wolverine alumnus. Her twin sister Tricia who also caught the coaching bug is an outstanding assistant coach at Menlo School. Over the past three years, Joseph has also coached her daughter Lael in both sports and will be joined by younger brother Adam in the fall. Thank you to Carrie for answering my questions below. I know many of you will enjoy reading what she had to say as much as me.

1) What was your own running experience? How did you get your start into running? Highlights and proudest achievements during your competitive period? Did you participate in any other sports?
I had your average 1970s/80s suburban midwestern childhood -- a lot of untethered free time biking around, dabbling in sports (tennis, soccer, swimming, basketball).

A very observant 4th-grade teacher (shout out to Mr. Seidenkranz) noticed that my twin sister and I were faster than most of the boys (even older ones) in the school, and he encouraged us to give age-group track a try.  We ran unattached at summer meets and were introduced to the world of marathon multi-day meets (without sunscreen or understanding "hydration").  When we moved from Minnesota to Ohio in middle school, we joined a very well-known age-group club called the Kettering Striders (future Olympic LJer Joe Greene was a member. I watched him do 20 ft "pop up" jumps -- plus he was ridiculously nice too... too bad he chose Ohio State though...).

I really hit the jackpot at Centerville High School though. Our high school coaches, Rita and Criss Somerlot, are Hall of Fame coaching legends in Ohio, and they have also managed or coached many US teams (including the US Olympic team in Athens).  CHS regularly fielded teams of 200+ (and they still do, now coached by their son), and the Somerlots created a culture of excellence and commitment that I had never really experienced before.

Highlights --
April of 9th grade -- Breaking 60 seconds in the 400m (well, it was a relay split, so...) and jumping 17'11 1/2" (quickly followed by the lowlight of blowing out my ACL the next week...).  

2nd place as a team at the Ohio HS State Champs (Class AAA, now Div 1) and having to book it from Columbus to Centerville in time to graduate!

4th place in the 4 x 800m relay in the Championship Race at Penn Relays for the University of Michigan.

Indoor Big 10 Champion and 7th place at NCAA Championships 4 x 800m relay member and also school record holder (fun fact -- the school record has been retired and will never be broken because they now run the DMR indoors)

Scoring member (#4) of 13th place team at NCAA Cross Country Championships in 1991 (hosted in Tucson, AZ).  Very proud of that contribution as I'd never run cross country in high school.

2) You have a twin sister (Tricia on the left in photo) that participated in different track events than you (I believe?). How did both of you end up competing in the events you chose and how competitive were you two against each other?
We were both jumper/sprinter/hurdlers on the age-group scene until I blew out my knee in 9th grade.  I think it's fair to say that we were competitive with each other but not in an unhealthy way (but let's just say I was a tad faster...).  We certainly made each other better athletes ("iron sharpens iron" as they say). My injury was particularly bad, and I needed 4 surgeries over the course of 2 years (including a then ground-breaking cadaver ligament replacement -- this was 1985).  So Tricia kept hurdling and jumping and I transitioned to being a long sprinter. I really didn't come back to full strength until my senior year in high school, and we were able to race on the same relay teams. Tricia placed in 4 events at the Ohio State meet (the only girl in any division to earn that distinction that year).

She went on to become a top heptathlete in the ACC at the University of Virginia (3rd place one season if I recall) and also long jumping and doing both hurdles. I gravitated eventually to the 800m (well, when I walked on at the University of Michigan, they told me that was really my only chance of staying on the team).  Trish and I now have some very spirited debates about which event is tougher: the 400m hurdles or the 800m.  It's OBVIOUSLY the 800m. DUH.

3) Who were the coaches that had the biggest impact on you as an athlete and what did you learn from them? 
Rita Somerlot by far. She was my high school coach at Centerville and later coached at Ohio State (I have forgiven her for that ...).  I still don't know how she organized practices with over 100 girls.  She was a master motivator who made everyone feel special.  I still have handwritten notes from her that would arrive via an office TA during the school day.  She would have typed up split sheets (even 4 x 100m splits!)  and motivational re-caps the day after every meet. She was tireless, devoted, and deeply knowledgeable in every single event. She taught me to believe in myself.

Current Michigan Head Coach James Henry saw my potential in the 800m (thanks?), but Sue Foster was my event coach at Michigan. She was a multiple All-American at Michigan and only about 10 years older than most of the team. She captured that "approachable authority" coaching style that really resonated with me (and a style I try to cultivate too). We are still connected via social media and I hold many, many dear memories of her (especially kicking our butts during workouts). I was a lowly walk-on but she never made me feel like it. She taught me that I mattered.

When Sue got pregnant with her 2nd child, Mike McGuire stepped in and took over the program and is still in charge of the Women's distance squad. He had a very different coaching style that was initially hard to transition to, but ultimately easy to accept and adjust to because his results speak for themselves. I challenge anyone to find a more consistent and dominant mid-distance team than Michigan over the past 25 years. Mike is able to identify "blue-collar" grinders and elevate them to national prominence.  (Classic example, my teammate Jessica Kluge was a 5:10/2:17 high school runner who eventually ran 2:03 and was also a XC All-American... fun fact: her daughter Anne Forsyth was Big 10 Freshman of the Year in XC for Michigan). Mike taught me that hard work and commitment to a methodical process are how an athlete reaches her potential.

4) What led you to coaching and what was your first experience? What else do you do aside from coaching? What are some of your biggest challenges as a coach?
After college, I discovered that I liked being in the orbit of teenagers and earned my Masters of Art in Teaching at Duke, where I helped out a local high school track team during my student teaching. I also felt like my love of track and field was still untapped.  Coaching seemed to be a natural extension from my role as a high school English teacher. (Plus there was all that extra $$ as a high school coach!!).

I moved to Cleveland with my husband who was in medical school, and I landed my first real job as a teacher/coach at Olmsted Falls High School. I had wonderful mentors there, especially Rae Alexander (mother of current pro/Oregon Duck Colby Alexander, who was just a toddler back then!). I also took careful note of how she managed life as a coach/mom.

Aside from coaching, I spent nearly 20 years teaching HS English, and I retired from teaching 4 years ago.  In addition to coaching, I currently help kids with the college recruiting and admissions process.

Biggest challenges as a coach .... every year and season presents new and unique challenges. Recently, the biggest challenge has simply been trying to complete a full season. The last 3 cross country seasons have been impacted by a series of devastating fires, forcing us to suspend our training right in the middle of our competition phase.  We lost 26 instructional days.

The 2017 Tubbs Fire, which destroyed over 6,000 structures in Santa Rosa, also took the homes of 10 athletes on our team at the time (and on our current team, at least 6 more). It's hard not to get emotional thinking about the challenges these kids have faced, especially knowing we will face the same threat every fall. I will never forget tracking down our athletes in those early chaotic days after the Tubbs Fire -- I was trying to figure out where they had found refuge, what resources they needed, and if they needed a new uniform.  Every athlete who had lost their home had miraculously grabbed their uniform as they fled their homes that terrible awful night.  What a testament to their commitment to our team.

And now it looks like this season will be at the mercy of not just the winds, but COVID-19. Rising seniors on my team have also dealt with two active shooter lockdowns as well.  These kids have learned to take things in stride (pun definitely intended) and I have no doubt that whatever Mother Nature or human nature throws at them, they'll rise above it all and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

5) You have coached with Doug Courtemarche (my interview with him HERE) for many (23!!) years. How would you describe Doug to somebody that doesn't know him and why do you feel you both worked so well together as coaches?
To the uninitiated, I usually explain Doug like this: He is 1/3 Gandalf, 1/3 Dumbledore, 1/3 Yoda ("YoDumbleDalf" or "GanDumbleYo"?). Doug is the guiding light for not just Santa Rosa HS track/cross country, but the North Bay region. First and foremost, he is a relentless optimist. He sees the best in people and finds ways to bring out that "best."  In a sport that requires athletes to endure pain and embrace suffering, a sport that requires a long-term outlook and incremental progress, who doesn't want to be around someone with a smile, a sunny disposition, and an unwavering belief in you?

I started coaching with Doug in 1997 right after Julia Stamps graduated and Danny Aldridge left to start up the Maria Carrillo HS program.  Even though our numbers were small (maybe 20 kids total...), I could tell that the kids on the team loved Doug and would run through a brick wall for him if he asked them to.  So as a young coach, I paid attention.  His guiding philosophy is "It's all about the kids." And fortunately, Doug was not territorial about his coaching boundaries and basically started letting me (and a volunteer assistant, Sean Fitzpatrick, who later coached at Sonoma State and was extraordinarily helpful when my coaching focus was blurred by having two children) design our training plans very early on. I think Doug and I worked so well together because I valued and appreciated his intangible qualities: Doug's lack of ego, his flexibility, and energy, his meet management wizardry, his treatment of the kids, I could go on and on. In turn, he valued and appreciated me.

Side note: I am currently pushing through a proposal with Santa Rosa City Schools to name the SRHS track the Courtemarche Track.

6) Looking back at your time at Santa Rosa, what have been some of your biggest highlights and proudest achievements for your athletes and teams? 
In a general/abstract sense, I am proud of our program every time I see growth and progress, whether it's on a macro level (the growth of our team numbers over the years or winning team pennants) or on the micro-level (individual PRs or mastering hurdle mobility drills lol).  In cross country, I love seeing athletes make that transition from runner to racer.  I'm proud whenever kids make the connection between commitment/persistence and personal achievement.  I'm also proud when I see alumni out on the local trails, still putting one foot in front of the other, or connecting with them on social media and seeing what amazing people they've grown into.

Besides team championships (most recently the 2019 NBL and Redwood Empire Girls Track and Field Champions), the biggest highlights for me are when school records get broken or kids break into our Top 10 List for Track and Field or the Top 50 List for Cross Country. When I look at the years of the performances on these lists, there are fewer and fewer marks from before the year 2000. What better concrete proof of growth and progress can there be?

7) What are your expectations for your runners during the summer? Any running camps? Any fun traditions at camp?
Our typical Slurpee Runs, Pancake Runs, and other summer shenanigans have given way to checklists, temperature guns, masks, and social distancing. We were allowed to start meeting with our team under very limited circumstances in mid-June, and the turnout has been excellent (60 different kids, with 40-45 usually showing up). We typically use the summer to establish not just an aerobic base, but to establish routines, traditions, and team bonding. This has been really challenging given our new limitations, but I think we are making headway and the new runners are starting to buy into what our team is about.

It was a crushing blow to cancel our annual cross country camp at Humboldt Redwoods State Park -- a camp that has been ongoing for 30 years, a camp that nearly all team members will say is one of the highlights of their high school life.  We usually have 45-55 athletes, plus 10 or so alumni counselors, and we are in tents and cooking for ourselves. We follow the same training schedule every camp, so seasoned veterans know how to handle the balance between work time and playtime.  The main event is the Grasshopper Climb, a 7 mile, 3000 ft ascent that about 1/2 of the kids run and 1/2 "mule" (power hike carrying food and water to the top). The school record last year was toppled by our mountain goat Andrew McKamey.  I truly believe he was going to crack the 60-minute barrier this summer... but perhaps he will get a chance at it as an alumni counselor.  Our Camp "Talent" Show is also a highlight; being an arts magnet school, we have some truly talented kids (singers, dancers, actors) who strut their stuff... but more often than not the acts are short on talent and long on confidence (Doug is still King of the Snorting Contest... don't ask...).

COVID-willing, we will be offering a "camp simulation" in a few weeks that will cover the 3 main efforts of camp: a drop-off run, a mountain climb, and a 2-mile time trial.

8) Who have been your coaching mentors during your own coaching career? 
So many to choose from... Besides Doug, we are lucky to have a deep well of coaching knowledge up here in Sonoma County:  Danny Aldridge (Sonoma Academy), Luis Rosales (Piner), Greg Fogg (Maria Carrillo), John Anderson (Rancho Cotate) to name just a few of the long-timers whom I've gone to for advice over the years. I bug younger coaches like Melody Karpinski at Montgomery, who has a more "millennial" handle on things like team communications and newer trends. I love picking the brain of Peter Brewer (I call him the "Doug of the East Bay") and of course you, Albert!  Your website and commitment to our sport are so inspiring! Other mentors...My sister and I talk track ALL. THE. TIME. (ask our children... they know it's true...). My fellow SRHS track coaches are also amazing resources: Paul Troppy is the go-to guy for all things throwing, and Jim Veilleux is the godfather of girls pole vault in California (the USATF even honored him as a "trailblazer"). My new assistant cross country coach, Eric Bohn, actually coached with Doug for a couple of seasons in the mid-90s and was the top road racer in the area for a while (a sub 2:30 marathoner). I value his input and perspective tremendously. And last but not least, the late great Bob Shor -- starter extraordinaire, old school curmudgeon, dedicated track nut, and champion of age-group youth track.

9) What does a typical week look like for your runners? Any morning runs? Typical weekly mileage? The distance of longest run for your experienced runners? How often do they do strength work? 
Getting the training groups calibrated by experience, training age, and fitness level takes a few weeks.  Like most big teams, we've got kids who can compete in college and kids who can only run a few minutes at a time. Every run or workout is scaled/modified in a way that (knock on wood) doesn't discourage or injure the newer runners but is also challenging enough to make them see the value of a hard effort.

Our week usually incorporates one hill-oriented workout, one tempo effort (or fartlek for the newer kids), and one long run -- with the intermediate days being recovery or moderate runs.  Older runners who want to bump mileage will incorporate morning runs 2x/week.  Weekly mileage will vary from 15-20 miles/week for the rookies to 40-45 miles/week for the most experienced. I am not a huge proponent of really high mileage for high school kids due to their developing bodies, etc., but every once in a while I have an athlete who is ready for more.  I have rarely had a girl regularly run 40+ miles/week.  I understand the physiological reasons for this high risk/high reward approach but also encourage cross-training as a way to get more miles in.  Distance runners typically carry very heavy academic/extracurricular loads, and I would MUCH rather have my athletes sleep more and focus on self-care than run an extra 5-10 miles/week. I have had some pretty great runners thrive on a moderate-to-high dosage of mileage with minimal injuries (Luca Mazzanti, 4:15 1600m, 5th place at the D2 State Meet in XC and current Captain of West Point's XC team, comes to mind...).

Our long runs for the most experienced runners usually range from 8-12 miles, but I will allow kids to go longer if they communicate with me about their plans and it makes sense with their current level of fitness and experience.  We are fortunate to have Annadel State Park in our city limits, with over 50 miles of trails and a lot of elevation gain.  I also live adjacent to the park, so my house is often ground zero for these forays.

Strength work usually takes place in the form of bodyweight routines.  I've been focusing more on hip mobility and yoga routines in recent years too.  We want to encourage kids to be athletes, not just runners.

10) You have coached your daughter Lael (showing off juggling skills to the left) for the past three years. What have been some of your highlights and/or funny moments from getting to coach your daughter? Any advice for other coaches who may be coaching their children in the near future?
My daughter Lael will be a senior this year, and my son Adam will be joining us as a freshman this year, so I get to coach both kids now! Coaching your own child has its difficulties, but the rewards easily make up for them. I knew early on that I would have to draw a pretty firm line between being in "coach mode" at practice and "mom mode" at home.  My kids are both very insistent on making sure there is no sign of special treatment, and I probably go even further to make sure that doesn't happen. I can also pick their brains about practice logistics and use their input. I feel so lucky and privileged to have a front-row seat to watch their development not just as athletes, but as people too.  I'm sure I'm not the only coach who tells their team that what they learn from cross country can be applied to all other facets of their lives.  I've got proof -- I see it every day.

In terms of funny moments or highlights... My kids have been going to our annual cross country camp since they were babies, and they have been roped into more "talent" show acts than they can probably count (When Adam was 7 he tried to dethrone Doug as King of the Snorting Contest-photo to the right... bad idea). Then there is the Joseph Family "Four-Headed Alien" act (not going to divulge the secret to that act though...).  I have also always juggled while reciting original Haikus as my "talent", and starting about 4 years ago, Lael started joining me in my juggling act.  We had big plans for this year's act, but we will just have to keep sharpening it for next summer's camp.

Advice for other parent/coaches? I say embrace both roles if both you and your child feel comfortable doing so. Keep the lines of communication open and understand your child's perspective and feelings too.

My children have grown up in the world of high school track and cross country, and I'd be hard-pressed to think of a better group of teenagers for them to be around and observe. Coaching them has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

11) Your teams repeat several workouts during the season. Can you explain the logistics of those workouts and how often do you do them during the cross country and track and field seasons?
We repeat 2 different "benchmark" workouts: Cobblestone and Michigan.

Cobblestone (named because of the trailhead parking lot we use) is the brainchild of the great Danny Aldridge, and it involves 3 parts: a fast 800 (on a service road in the state park); 4-9 hill repeats (~250m gravel climb and challenging); and a mile time trial back on the road. I have run this workout many times, and I can attest to how hard it is.  But it's designed to be a confidence-builder.  Some of the times these kids run on the mile TT are just incredible -- and it's AFTER the hill repeats!  It provides them with proof that they can push that "final mile" of any race they run. We keep track of all the kid's times and # of hill reps so they can map their progress over the course of 4 years.  We do it once in mid-September and a 2nd time in late October.

The Michigan is a staple workout from my college days, and it was created by Michigan coaching legend Ron Warhurst. It has been adopted and modified by many other college teams over the years, and I introduced a watered-down "high school" version to the team shortly after I began coaching at SRHS. It is designed to mimic the ebb and flow of a cross country race: aggressive start; settle in; surge; settle in; kick. We start with a 1600m on the track faster than 5k pace;; ~ 1 mile off-campus @ tempo pace; 800m on track very fast (the goal is to hit the same pace as the mile); ~ 1 mile off-campus @ tempo pace; 400m all out. The rest between all intervals is a 300m jog (mainly determined by the entry/exit locations of the track) so there should not really be any stopping. We also modify the volume for newer/rookie runners (shorter track volume or shorter off-track loops). Note: the college version has considerably more volume. Like Cobblestone, we record all the times and archive them. We run the Michigan in early October and then usually during the 2-week break between league finals and the NCS meet.

12) What would your advice be for a new coach taking over a team especially during these uncertain times?
Be patient and methodical as you build your program. It's ok to start small. You don't need huge numbers to have an impactful program.  Find the local "Doug" in the area (someone experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to share ideas) and pick his/her brain about practice logistics, communication methods, and training locations. Soak in as much wisdom as you can from your fellow coaches. Develop a good working relationship with your Athletic Director so he/she sees your commitment and value.

Stay positive and upbeat with your kids. Cross country and track are not sports for the weak. Remember that kids who have chosen to come out for your team are taking a courageous step.  As opposed to sports where athletes could theoretically run around on a field, never touch the ball, and still take credit for a win (or loss), cross country/track forces athletes to be front and center with their effort and performance. There is no hiding place. It takes courage and guts to run (jump, throw, vault, hurdle, etc.). In cross country, every day (even the "easy" or "recovery" days) might be really challenging and hard for some of the kids on your team. Believe in your athletes and make them feel like their efforts matter. Make them feel like they matter.

Coaching is both art and science.  Find a happy medium as you develop your training philosophy. It is important for athletes to know the "why" of your methods, and you can explain the science behind a threshold workout to a captive audience. Some will eat this science up, but most of your athletes will be recreational-level runners just seeking a way to test themselves.  Crafting a training regimen that attracts kids who willingly put themselves in discomfort and distress, writing a workout that tests them physically and mentally but leaves them with a self-satisfied smile and more confidence -- that's more of an art.  When all is said and done, build a program that creates athletes who will see running as a valuable pursuit and a rewarding source of joy as they move through the phases of their lives.

Anything else you would like to add. 
I want to give a shout out to my parents, Vern and Patty. I think they initially found age-group track bewildering but devoted many, many hours to supporting our development as track athletes (even though they had 3 other kids too!). My mom even missed her college graduation to take me and Tricia to a track meet in Iowa! They will be the first to tell you that they became track nuts and eventually attended every Olympics from 1984 - 2004.  I see them in every parent who volunteers to help run the finish line, who brings popsicles for end-of-practice fun, who makes sure their kid doesn't miss the team bus, who brings coaches easy-to-eat food at meets we host because they know we don't have time to eat, who returns long after their kids have graduated to work our meets, who endures the tremendous ups and downs that kids experience in a practice/week/month/season of track or cross country. Parents are the super glue to every team I've coached, and my parents were (and still are) my super glue.

Side note: Vern recently turned 85, and he has been a top-ranked US track age-group athlete since his early 70s (He is very excited to be in a new age group this year!)

Thank you very much for your time, Carrie.

Santa Cruz’s Raymond Brookman running down a dream | Men’s cross country

The CCS D-IV cross country champion came from a low-income household; he was accepted into prestigious MIT and will run for Engineers.

You can check out this awesome article at this LINK. Best wishes to Raymond.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Longtime coach Borg to pass reins of YHS cross country, track program

One of the most successful coaches in Northern California is stepping down from her positions at Yreka HS. Pam ran for the Cindergals in the 1970s and her boys' XC teams won two state XC titles in 2011 and 2013.

Here is an interview I did with Pam in 2011.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Catching up with Dougherty Valley coach, Stephanie Bambury

Today we chat with Dougherty Valley coach, Stephanie Bambury. She has been the Cross Country and Track and Field coach for Dougherty Valley ever since the school first opened in 2007. During her 3rd XC season, Bambury led her girls' team to their first section title by winning the North Coast Section Division IV race. Since then, DV has won 3 additional section titles in Division I (2 boys and 1 girls) and has qualified to the state meet consistently since that first section title in 2007. They have also done well on the track with the likes of Lucas Badcock (1:57.79/4:12.77/9:18.08), Neil Braganza (1:59.22/4:13.17/9:15.72) and Helen Guo (2:20.70/5:07.38/10:55.38). Bambury also ran at Lynbrook HS and qualified to the state meet in the 1600 in 1991 as she helped lead Lynbrook to the team title. You can check out a video of that race HERE.

1) What was your own running experience? How did you get your start into running? Highlights and proudest achievements during your competitive period? Did you participate in any other sports?
 I was originally a competitive swimmer and state cup winning soccer player. My first season of cross country was my senior year because girls swimming was a fall sport at the same time as cross country. I attended Lynbrook High School and there was no cross country coach so my parents asked a friend to coach me. Mark Frise was the Homestead HS coach but was not coaching at the time. In my first year of cross country, I won our league meet and took 4th in CCS Div 3 to go to State. I was 47th in the state that season (photo below to the right). Mark Frise was my assistant coach for several seasons at Dougherty Valley. I ran track all 4 years of high school. I was 2nd in CCS in the mile my freshman year with a 5:07.0. I was a 4x400 runner as well as a state meet qualifier. My Track team my freshman year won CCS with 7 girls on our team.

2) Who were the coaches that had the biggest impact on you as an athlete and what did you learn from them? 
I did not have a distance coach while in high school. Mark Frise was the first running coach I ever had and he was amazing. His knowledge of distance running was excellent. I was lucky to have him coach me to the state meet in my 1st season. Unfortunately, I broke my collar bone in the last soccer season of my high school career so my senior year track season was not so great. Mark taught me to have patience in my races and to know the course so I would be able to make my move at the right time. He taught me that it was supposed to hurt and how to mentally push through the pain. I credit him with helping me get my scholarship to St Mary's and being a D1 athlete.

3) What led you to coach and what was your first experience? What did you learn from that experience? 
I have been coaching my whole life! In high school, I recruited 4 basketball players to the cross country team so I could have a team of 5 and score at meets. I coached them on the days I was not running with Mark. In college, I was a youth swim coach. My St Mary's Coach resigned mid-season and I helped coach the other runners through the season. My first high school coaching job was at Wilcox High School with Walter VanZant. He was a great role model, completely dedicated to his runners. That season I learned Hank Lawson was coaching at my alumni Lynbrook and needed an Asst. Coach. I coached alongside him for 3 amazing seasons. Hank was my biggest coaching influence. He showed me how to set up a successful season, how to connect with athletes, and how to be an amazing coach. I am the coach I am today because of him. He continues to be my biggest coaching mentor. In 2015 I was awarded NCS's Coach of the Year award, I credit that to Hank and how much he has taught me about coaching.

4) How did you end up at Dougherty Valley? What else do you do at the school besides coaching?
When my husband and I relocated to the East Bay from the South Bay, I spent 3 years coaching at Foothill HS and Amador HS before Dougherty was opened. I was hired by Denise Hibbard as the first cross country coach at Dougherty. Our first season we had 15 runners on the team (photo below). It was a very new experience for me. I was just happy to have all 7 runners in a race cross the finish line! As the years went by our program grew and so did the talent on our team.

5) What was your experience during the first year? Who were the athletes that really bought in and helped you establish your program during that time?
There were many athletes who have helped shape our program. One of the earliest was Jonathan Javier. He was one of my first highly dedicated and focused athletes. His love for his team and the sport was new and different for our program. He was a huge influence on the younger generation on how to be a "real team". The girls on my 2009 team that won NCS were all great influencers for the girl's side. They were very team-oriented and great supporters of each other. Neil Braganza put DVHS on the map at the higher levels by placing in the top 10 of State D1. His dedication and hard work showed our team how to push through injuries and that hard work and focus really pays off. Jake Echner has been the biggest team influencer so far for our boy's team. His ability to bring the team together under a common goal was life-changing for our program.
6) Looking back at your time at Dougherty Valley, what have been some of your biggest highlights and proudest achievements for your athletes and teams? 
There are a few biggest achievements I am most proud of. Winning NCS Girls Div 4 in 2009 when the school was less than 5 years old was one of the biggest. Being named Coach of the year in 2015 was another. But I think most of all starting a program from scratch with a school full of kids who were relatively unhappy to be there and turning it into what it is now is my crowning achievement. (If you include track: winning DFAL 2 years in a row was pretty cool too).

7) What are your expectations for your runners during the summer? Any running camps? 
This summer has been challenging for everyone. Yes, I really hope all my athletes are running every day, but I am unable to check in with them or meet with them. We do not know if or when we will have a season. Everyone is waiting for CIF to make their announcement on July 20! Holding our breath is exhausting! I really do not want my seniors to miss out on their last season!

8) Who have been your coaching mentors during your own coaching career? 
Hank Lawson has been my biggest coaching mentor. He showed me how to push kids to their limits while having fun and making everything challenging and interesting. I love his funny hats at races and how much he cares about his runners. He is an amazing person! I would not be the coach I am today without his influence.

9) What does a typical week look like for your runners? Any morning runs? Typical weekly mileage? The distance of the longest run for your experienced runners? How often do they do strength work? 
In a typical week, my runners are doing 40-45 miles. I do not believe in higher mileage for HS athletes, their bodies are not developed for it yet. Let them ramp up in college. In the past few seasons, some of my most talented athletes have tried to increase mileage and it has resulted in injuries and peaking too early in the season. We do double days on Mondays with speed on the track at 5:45am and distance in the afternoon. We try to do all road runs on some or all dirt to save on knee and shin injuries. DVHS is lucky to have so many trails right outside our doorstep. We do hills every week and more speed towards the end of the season. Our longest runs are 10-12 miles and we try to incorporate strength and core 3-4x a week.

10) Since your running days to now, what are the biggest changes that you have seen in cross country and track and field (positive and negative)? 
I think the biggest challenges kids face these days is the balance of running and school in their lives. I do not remember being as stressed in school as my athletes seem to be. I wish they would stop and realize this is the best part of their lives and savor the moment. I want running to be a life long sport for my runners. I want them to be healthy and well balanced.

11) What would your advice be for a new coach taking over a team especially during these uncertain times?
To new coaches: remember to focus on the kids who want to be coached, and don't let the negativity of those who want to complain get you down. Take pride in watching your athletes improve and always look for ways to reach your kids. No one is perfect.

12) Anything else you would like to add. 
I sure hope we get a season this year!!

Thank you very much for your time, Stephanie!

Podcast featuring former St. Joseph Notre Dame runner Cooper Teare

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Results of Independence Day Show Down Sub-4

John Lester now has 1:48.26/4:05.46 PRs. Here is a comparison to some of the all-time greats in California as far as their 800 and 1600 PRs.

Jon Stevens Mission SJ 1:48.56/4:07.19
Dennis Carr Lowell, Whittier 1:48.6c/4:07.3c
Michael Stember Jesuit 1:49.29/4:04.00
Isaac Cortes Great Oak 1:50.20/4:04.01
Brian Wilkinson Merced 1:49.50/4:08.13
Jantzen Oshier Trabuco Hills 1:51.3/4:00.83
Louie Quintana Arroyo Grande 1:50.2/4:06.1
Coley Candaele Carpenteria 1:50.87/4:06.26
Mac Fleet University City, S.D. 1:50.31/4:02.90y
David Mack Locke, L.A. 1:50.2y/3:50.8i (1500)
Jeff West Crenshaw, L.A. 1:48.2/3:50.9i (1500)

Friday, July 03, 2020

Last Workout Before Sub-4 Mile Attempt

MileSplit will cover the race which will start on Saturday, July 4th at 8pm at this LINK.

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Most iconic cross country courses in Northern California and California?

Please share in the comment section below, the cross country courses that you believe are the most iconic in Northern California as well as in the entire state. We are looking for 3 mile and 5k courses.

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