2017 Race Results
2017 Race Recaps
Central Park Invitational
“If you’re playing with the best, you just rise up to that level”- Tony Goldwyn. While this is true at times, sometimes we crumble. Throughout this season I have placed the team in situations where they must rise to the competition. “Running with the big dogs” is something that we haven’t really done in the past and it shows when we get to league. It is my hope when making the schedule that every race will help us along the way in achieving bigger things than we have in the past. We ran Division 2 at Woodbridge, we ran against top state talent at Palos Verdes, and we ran Division 1 at Central Park. It is my hope that by running against “bigger, stronger, and faster” schools that when we line up against Valencia at league finals it will feel like every other race.
Like many of the races this year I tweaked the rosters and had kids run in different races than they had in the past. When you have a team that can switch out the back end of the varsity squad and not lose anything that is a coach’s dream…and nightmare. It allows me to see how kids will run while running with different types of competition so I can make the best decision for the team come league finals and CIF. It makes kids run hungry every race because every race counts. It makes those that don’t get chosen to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. These are things that I hope happen, but it can also lead to bruised egos and frustrated runners. And those runners are runners I may need to rely on down the stretch. So how does one help this situation? Open and honest communication. Is it perfect? No. But it seems to be working to an extent so far.
Agreeing to come back to Central Park after the heat exhaustion the team suffered last year was a difficult decision to make. I know some runners enjoyed their race last year, but there was a clear consensus that they did not want to return. That is when I decided to run on the morning even though that would mean running a little outside of our comfort zone and possibly not bringing home as many medals. Seeing race sizes the same as Woodbridge but with far less medals we manage to run hard and compete. We saw our fast-rising freshman, Regan Heredia, place 6th in her race, and our breakout sophomore, Brandon Herrick, place 35th and pick up the only two medals of the day for Pacifica. Though we didn’t bring home as much hardware that doesn’t mean we didn’t run well. Of the 18 runners who ran this course last year and returned to run it this year all 18 of them set course PR’s. That is awesome! Though we didn’t run at full strength, those that did, ran hard.
Runners of the Meet
Given the option, the girls varsity chose to use this day to get in some hill repeats. One girl wanted to run to erase what she called a poor performance at league prelims. She did just that. Running a course PR of 1 minute and 43 seconds and placing number two on the entire team.
Like I mentioned above, Brandon ran extremely well and set a lifetime PR on a difficult course. In a day that saw him lower his PR and be one of the only runners to medal, he also secured his varsity letter by hitting the time standard. His hard work and determination is beginning to pave the way for incredible performances.
Empire League Challenge
Empire League Challenge and challenge it was. Whether it was the postponement due to the fire, or the disruption in our training, or the lengthy bus ride to get to Craig Park. Whatever obstacle or challenge that was placed in front of us, we were ready. Even on a course that we run twice a year we can always learn something — something that might have worked and something that might not have. When running league races, it is more about team than it is individual. Though the better the individual runs the better the team should be, it doesn’t always work out that way. The key is to put us in a position to win league titles come Empire League Finals, and we did just that. I could not have asked for a better response.
As a coach I am always looking for a way to get better as a team and individually. Although we did what we needed to do, we have many opportunities to get better. That makes me happy and should make the rest of the league nervous. In a league in which we are the smallest school we didn’t, and don’t, back down. When it comes down to one race to decide the league title I would bet on us every single time. To quote Valencia, the school that has had a stranglehold on our league for years, “Pacifica would be the Valencia of this league if we weren’t in it”. Although this brings about mixed emotions for me as a coach, it shows that the league is taking notice of the hard work the kids are putting in and seeing an improvement from where we have come from in just a few short years. To think that just three years ago we were fighting to secure CIF spots and now we are competing for league titles is a true testament to the student-athletes that show up and put in the work. All I can say is watch out for Pacifica!
Runners of the Meet
Adrian is doing what we always knew he could. He has been running well all year at practice and it is beginning to show. Consistence is key in this sport if you want to win and Adrian is providing that stability. With a course PR of one minute we are starting to see a glimpse into the future, and it sure is bright.
While battling through injury and stepping up to the challenge she set a course PR of over one minute. Continuing off her success from track last season she is making a name for herself in this league. To quote coaches within our league: “Briana is a competitor and someone you don’t want to go one-on-one against.”
Palos Verdes Invitational
Beautiful scenery. Clear skies. Cool ocean breeze. What could be so bad? Agony. Agony Hill, that is. We, as a team, accepted a new challenge this week. Though it was a shorter course than normal, Palos Verdes’ self-proclaimed toughest course in the state certainly lived up to its billing. As if the hill wasn’t tough enough they tossed in nine haybale hurdles for good measure. Everyone that toed the line conquered what they believed was impossible. If it did one thing for us it was to soften every other hill we face.
This was a race that I, as a coach, just wanted the kids to have fun with. It was a day for them to learn. Since they were, in essence, running as individuals they needed to be responsible for their own timing. When to warmup, when to get on the starting line, and how fast they should be running in the race. I picked this race because if the uniqueness of the entire meet. As runners we begin to rely on others to set where we should be. We start to run with certain people, we start to believe that certain people are supposed to beat us, and we start to build mental roadblocks. As the kids know because I have said it on many occasions, running is more mental that it is physical. Once we put mental roadblocks up it is difficult to break through them. This was a race to try and break some of those. This season has not provided many opportunities for me to sit back and watch the kids run. This invitational did just that. It let me see how they started the race, how they attacked the hill, how they finished, and most importantly how they competed. And compete they did. In a relatively small invitational we faced four schools that are ranked in the top ten in our state! Outside of Woodbridge and Mt. SAC we don’t see that. And even in those races, we don’t have the opportunity to race all of them because of sweepstakes races. And we didn’t back down. In a race that we weren’t 100 percent, we showed such fight and grit that will hopefully help us at the end of the year. Although no one received the elusive plate of tacos for winning their race, I am proud of everyone for finishing what will probably be the toughest course of the year.
Runners of the Meet
In a year that has been stop and go because of injuries, Taylor burst onto the scene this week. Running like we know she can, she let loose and made me proud. Hopefully this is a preview of what the rest of the season will bring.
If any runner has yet to really tap into their potential, that runner is Diego. After I convinced him during soccer last year to come out and run I have been waiting for a meet that he makes his presence felt. I’d say placing fifth on the team would qualify as that. Be on the lookout for Diego as he continues to grow in this sport.
This weekend was one for the record books…literally! Our boys varsity ran the fastest team time ever posted by Pacifica. But it wasn’t just them; the ENTIRE team stepped up. The greatest thing to witness besides their sheer excitement from running personal best times was how much fun they were having. That shows me that we are doing something right. Every coach wants to put their best foot forward, but if we can do that while having fun, well, then fantastic memories are being created. We as a team went into Saturday night not really knowing what to expect and came out of there full of confidence that will fuel us for races to come. There is a crazy thing that happens when the gun (or horn in this case) goes off; nerves go away and the tough training that we have been putting in takes over.
Woodbridge Invitational is different. Different from the other courses we will run. Different from the time of day we will run. Different in the atmosphere that it creates. This year I chose to run them up a division and they responded like I had hoped. There was a moment, though, during the girls varsity race that I turned to Jim Smith and said, “I hope I didn’t just feed them to the wolves.” It turns out we were ready for the challenge. In a league where we are the smallest school and most of the other school are either Division 1 or Division 2, I felt it would be a good test to ensure we were ready for League to start. And to think we haven’t really hit our stride yet. Note to the rest of the league…Pacifica is coming!
See for yourself:
- We had 27 runners return to Woodbridge and 23 set course PR’s.
- One by 6 minutes, two by 3 minutes, eleven by 2 minutes, and seven by 1 minute.
- Our new runners are getting much faster.
We are supposed to get faster every year, but what we are witnessing is crazy. This is what has made me speechless. The way that every student-athlete has stepped up in truly remarkable. My hope is that we continue to see success as the season roll on. As we continue the season we enter our first league meet which brings a different race. An intimate setting that promotes team bonding and togetherness. These runners have been coming closer as a team and it is my hope that after next Wednesday we come away closer than ever. All I can say is if you haven’t been to race yet you’re missing out!
Runners of the Meet
(Jon pictured far right with the varsity boys)
In his first varsity race he ran his personal best. To be thrust into a spotlight that might make some crumble, Jon answered the task and ran better than I could imagine. All I can say is if he can respond like that our team is going to be tough to beat.
Like I mentioned before, we had a runner set a personal course record by over six minutes! What an incredible testament to her dedication and training. She may have come out to cross country late in her high school career, but she is leaving her mark.
Laguna Hills Invitational
We are officially off and running. A new year and coach can bring new hurdles and obstacles. These student-athletes ran up and over them with great success. It is crazy that a sport that is so simple can bring about so many emotions. From the beginning nerves of new runners to the intense stare of determined veterans, the nerves quickly become jubilation in completing what they once thought was impossible. And the stare—well, that just becomes more intense. Our first test was the arduous Laguna Hills invitational. With self-proclaimed names such as “Hawk Hill” and “Death Valley” it is easy to get lost in the perceived difficulty. But when the runners crest the final ascent and spot the distant finish line, a feeling of accomplishment begins to set in. That, or joy that it is finally over! From freshman to seniors, there were two things that began to take shape. First, we are heading in the right direction and second, our family is forming. To see the student-athletes cheer on their fellow runners as well as their competitors is something that cannot be measured but are the memories that most will remember.
Along with the nerves of the new runners was accompanied by the nerves of the new coach. Thoughts of, are the workouts too much? Too little? Are we doing the right things? Are we getting closer as a team? Are people having fun? Are they going to quit? I can honestly say that after having one race under my belt I have silenced a couple (that means two, Shea) of these questions. With the hard work of the student-athletes comes a sense of relief that we were heading in the right direction, but also worry that we were peaking too early or we haven’t done enough and we will falter in the end. I am getting an understanding that there will always be these questions, especially throughout the first year. But they aren’t necessarily bad to have. It means two things to me: first, I care. I care how they are doing athletically as well as academically. I care that they are having fun. I care that they are improving and striving for something that was once impossible in their eyes. I care that they will continue this journey with me. Second, I am doing what I enjoy. I am a student of this sport and am always working to better myself. It is like a new relationship that is in the honeymoon phase, but this phase doesn’t end. I can’t wait for what new challenges and successes come our way and helping the runners and myself conquer them together.
Here is a glimpse of what make these student-athletes remarkable:
• 22 runners completed this race last year. 19 of them set personal records for the race this year.
• 13 of those 22 set personal records that were over one minute quicker than last year, some by over two minutes.
• Number of freshman girls who ran last year: 1. This year we had 9 toe the line this year.
• Junior girls took home 2nd overall in their race, only defeated by CIF-SS Division 3 third-ranked Laguna Hills. Who, by the way, trains on this course and these hills.
So, trending in the right direction, yes. But we still have some work to do to get where we want to be.
Runners of the Meet
In just his second season Shea is giving us a glimpse of things to come. His fearlessness for the course enabled him to not only set a personal record for the course (1 minute and 37 seconds faster) but also set a lifetime personal record. He will be one of the runners to watch in our league.
(Regan pictured on the left)
What a debut for the softball catcher turned star runner. Bravely battling through a tough race and injured knee earned her the second fastest time ever by a freshman girl on this course. With her sights set on bigger and better things, you aren’t going to want to miss her upcoming races.
So, what’s next? WOODBRIDGE!