Thursday, July 04, 2024

Catching up with CCS 800m record holder (2:04.37), Ann Regan (now Dyer)

Today we catch up with CCS 800 meter record holder, Ann Dyer (née Regan). She competed at Camden High School in San Jose which closed in 1980. She set the CCS record in the 800 meters in a dual meet versus the USSR team in 1977 as a sophomore. She was also state champion in the 800 from 1977 to 1979 making her the first 3-time state champion in the event. Only Lindsay Hyatt of Placer who won the same event four years in a row was able to surpass Ann's championship accomplishment. Ann is now the head cross country coach at Notre Dame San Jose.

1) How did you get started running? Aside from running, what other sports did you do before high school?
In fourth grade, there was an announcement at my school for any girls interested in joining a track team. A friend encouraged me to try out and I ended up running with the Integra Track Club at San Jose State. That was during the time that many of the best US sprinters were running at “Speed City”. John Carlos, Tommie Smith, Lee Evans, and many other top athletes trained at SJSU with coach Bud Winter. It was a lot of fun running there! I didn’t participate in any other sports before high school but my coaches and teammates made track fun and something I wanted to do.

2) What was your experience as far as competing in running before high school? What were your personal bests before high school?
My first race was the 50-yard dash on a dirt track! I gradually moved up in distance but don’t remember my times. That was so long ago!! We’d practice a couple days a week and have a meet on the weekend. In a junior high/middle school meet I had to get special permission to run both the 400 and 800 because girls weren’t able to run two distance races at one meet.

3) What was your experience during your freshman year in high school? What were some of the standout races that you remember during cross country and track and field seasons?
I ran with the Cupertino Yearlings my freshman year but I wasn’t able to compete on both the club team and the high school team. I moved to the San Jose Cindergals at the beginning of my sophomore year. I ran cross country with the Cindergals but not with my high school team.

I have many great memories of running track meets in high school. There was a dual meet where I thought I was finished for the day but we needed some extra points so I jumped up and ran the 2 mile. Breaking five minutes in the mile at a duel meet with Los Gatos and the LG coach cheering for me as loud as my own coach! One time I took the VTA bus to get to the CCS meet at San Jose City College. The bus driver wished me good luck and it worked! I also ran the mile relay all three years and the 440 (yards at that time!) in my junior and senior years at the CCS meet. CCS meets and CA State meets were always fun and exciting! I also was able to run in some indoor meets which were fun too.

4) You set the current CCS record in the 800 of 2:04.37 in a USA and USSR dual meet following your sophomore season. What do you remember about that race? Where was it located? How did you qualify for that meet?
The US/USSR Dual Meet was held in Richmond, VA. There were two US and two USSR athletes in the race. I was so nervous that I told my coach that I didn’t think I could run. He said, “Well, let’s go home then”! I was the first American, second overall, and ran my PR! I qualified for the team by competing in the Jr. Nationals which today would be the U20 Championships.

5) You won the 800 meters three straight years from your sophomore to senior years. What do you remember about those three races? Who were the main competitors that you remember? Was any of those victories any more satisfying than the other ones?
One thing that is different about the CA State Meet is that you run trials one day and finals the next day. Also, it’s different not knowing many of the people in your race. I competed against Linda Goen from Bakersfield all three years. We ended up at college together, became friends and I even attended her wedding. My sophomore year was special because it was my first State meet and it was a close race. My senior year is also a good memory because it was my third win. I missed my senior prom because it was the same night as the meet!

6) What do you remember about your high school training? What did a typical week look like?
Training with my club team allowed me to practice with many of the best local high school runners. I think we pushed each other to be better. We worked out together on weekdays, usually had a meet once a week, and did a run on our own on the weekend. We also trained pretty much year-round.

7) Looking back now from a coaching perspective, what do you think you did training-wise that worked for you and what do you wish you did differently?
We ran a lot on the track. I might have done more distance on the trails. I never really thought of myself as a cross country runner. I ran cross country to help me with my track season. I wonder what might have happened if I had had a different mindset.

8) Can you tell us a little about your college experience? How did you end up choosing West Valley College and then UCLA? Highlights? Proudest achievements? Post-collegiate experiences?
My club coach was coaching at West Valley so I stayed to train for the Olympic Trials. After that, I transferred to UCLA. I had known the UCLA coach from having attended training camps and meets over the years. I had so much fun in college but didn’t run as well as I had hoped. After college, I ran a little bit but as work commitments increased it was hard to run consistently.

9) You are now coaching at Notre Dame San Jose. How did you get into coaching and what have been some of your previous coaching experiences? What are you looking forward to this season? 
I had always thought about coaching but couldn’t make it work with my schedule. When I retired from teaching, I learned that Notre Dame San Jose was looking for assistant track coaches. Last spring was my first coaching experience and this fall is my first time coaching cross country. I am learning about track and cross country from a different perspective and look forward to having fun with the teams.

10) You have the experience of being a very elite high school runner. What advice would you give other female runners who are either elite or have aspirations to be elite?
I’d say to have fun, be positive and try your best! It’s important to enjoy what you’re doing, know that you can always take away something good from a practice or race, and that there will be good and bad days. Be patient, keep things in perspective, and appreciate the present!

11) Can you tell us a bit about what coaches or adults helped you during your athletic career? What did you learn from them? What do you feel you carry on from them with you as a current coach?
I have had the opportunity to work with many great coaches during my running career! I didn’t realize how hard they worked to enable my success until I started coaching. There is a lot of time, thought, and planning that goes into each athlete. I would just come to practice and run the workout but now realize my coaches did a lot “behind the scenes”. I continue to be impressed at how much knowledge the coaches have about the sport.. I’d like to be as dedicated!

12) Anything else you would like to add.
I have met many great friends and amazing people through Track and Field and Cross Country. I have terrific memories of fun times, challenges, and experiences. I hope that anyone participating in the sport will be able to celebrate their accomplishments, learn from their disappointments, and have fun. Happy trails!

Thank you very much for your time, Ann!


Anonymous said...

Great to see this article on Ann Regan and that she is doing great. I always loved watching her run in high school. It always seemed that she would get into one gear snd just grind down her opponents.
My childhood sweetheart and future wife competed for the San José Appaloosa track team and ran against Ann in club meets as well as In high school competition. It was shameful how restrictive sports were for female sports during the 70’s and if not for club track, many girls would not have achieved their eventual accomplishments.
Last I saw Ann, I was running for San José State and she was running for UCLA in a trí-meet vs Arizona. As a fellow CCS champion, I ment to go say hi, but was not able to.
Like Ann, I always wanted to coach, but never had the time. However, when I retired -Santa Clara County Sheriffs Department-I also started coaching.
Over the years of coaching, whenever I would coach 800 meter runners, I would always mention Ann’s accomplishments as an example of inspiration. Thank you for the great article and update of a great runner.

Mr. Snrub said...

When do you believe we will be getting the NCS preseason rankings?

Albert Caruana said...

Coming up.

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