Interview with cross country coach Richard Dugan about the fall season
What is a typical practice like?
Dugan: “A typical practice, we meet in my classroom and go over what time we leave for the next meet and who is competing at the next meet. Usually sometimes a motivational thing, like Song of the Day or Quote of the Day, and also we will go over what we want to work out, then our running work out, then any cool down, and then just any other housekeeping things.”
Is there any specific number of miles you have to run per week for a student?
Dugan: “No, they don’t have a minimum amount of miles. There’s days the average high school runner will put in close to 15 to 20 miles a week throughout the practice, then they have their three miles.”
How much do they have to run for races?
Dugan: “High school runs a 5k, which is a 3.1 miles.”
What kind of suggestions would you give someone wanting to join cross country?
Dugan: “It’s fun, it’s a lifelong sport, there’s no benches you get to play, you get to compete, it’s you and the course, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Coming into the year, did you have any different expectations with three new high school boy runners?
Dugan: “The expectations were a little higher of where we might finish in league and how we might compete throughout the year. We had, like, two or three times we finished in the top three and then that tied for third, and getting fourth on the tie breaker in league was kind of where we expected to be.
Looking back on the season were there any highlights or changes from the previous season?
Dugan: “Yeah, like I said, league last year, we got fourth and had like a score of 107 points, and this year, we got fourth in league, but we scored 71 points. We’ve gotten better and faster as a team. Our average time came down to about two minutes for the varsity boys and the varsity girls. We still had enough to compete as a team, and early in the season, we got second in Mission Valley. We competed better than we did last year as a team both high school boys and girls.”
Looking forward to next year, do you have any more expectations or improvements?
Dugan: “Yeah, [I’m] looking forward to placing higher in the league. Maybe looking for our first win as a team both boys and girls at a meet. Maybe qualifying one, maybe two runners for state. That would be good for our program next year.”
Freshman Sierra Saenz was out toward the end of the year – what was your reaction to that?
Dugan: “It was disappointing. She was a great runner, and I know that she was disappointed because she’s very competitive. But, when you’re injured, you don’t want to make matters worse. She’ll recover, and we’ll get stronger next year and hopefully, knock on wood, won’t have any more injuries.”
Have you been impressed by how much your runners have improved this year?
Dugan: “I have. I’m very pleased with the hard work, the miles they put in, their competitiveness. In return, that has helped us become a better program.”
What was your overall opinion on how the season went?
Dugan: “It went real well, and we had good weather. For the most part, kids stayed healthy, kids had fun, and I had fun. It was a good season.”
Interview by staff member Josh Feldkamp
Photo courtesy of Gary Fike