By Ray Conner
Kern Valley Sun
The Kern Valley cross country teams are getting in the groove to compete this season.
Head coach Don Hazard is back guiding his runners and hopes to be one of the top teams in both the High Desert League and the CIF.
As both the girls and boys teams prepare for their first meet of the year on Sept. 11.
Hazard who coaches both Kern Valley teams of runners was asked to preview the upcoming season.
He was asked a series of questions that he responded to. Here are his answers to the questions asked:
Athletes have been working hard at practice preparing for their first Invitational Meet on September 11.
I started coaching Cross Country in 1997 at Kern Valley and have had some great teams. This year on the Lady Broncs we have our captain, senior Bella Williams returning. Last year she was injured most of the year, but is doing well in practice and should have a great year. Junior, Adi Goulding has joined the team this year and is working hard in practice. It will be exciting to watch her in her first race Sept. 11. Freshman, Olivia Wagner is also on the team and should have a great season. We have some other girls that have signed up but they are still trying to get cleared for practice.
On our Broncs team we have three sophomore returners from last year. Will Bunting, Mack Wargo, and Gunner Davis. Jun-ior, Trey Bushling has also been cleared to practice. This will be his first year in Cross Country. Other boys are still trying to get cleared for practice.
Hazard said, “I coach two teams, the boys have their own team and the girls have a separate team. In cross country you need at least five athletes for a team and if people get cleared for practice we should have a boys and a girls team in time for our first race on Sept. 11.
Our goal as a team is to win a High Desert League championship and go to CIF in Fresno.
Hazard said, “Bishop and Rosamond will be the teams to beat in the HDL. Frazier Mountain had a good boys’ team last year and their fastest kid was the league champion and league MVP, but he is at Chico State now. I want every athlete to improve during the season and for the returners to beat their personal best times from last year. So far it looks good.”
Our biggest loss from last year is Arika D’Amico who is in Florida going to college. She has been asked to join the cross country team at Florida College. Kern Valley will miss her.
When we race at the invitational meets it’s a great opportunity to compete against athletes from all over and if a Kern Valley athlete can come home with a medal that’s a huge confidence builder. Hazard said, “We will be going to the largest cross country invitational in the world at Mt. SAC where they will get to compete with athletes from all over the country. To come home with a medal is special.”
A 5K race is basically a sprint for the fast kids. Studies have shown that athletes with fast twitch muscle do better in the 5K (3.1 miles) races. The slow twitch athletes do better in the 10K, (6.2 miles) races. We do a mix of speed and distance workouts at practice along with working out in the weight room.
Hazard said, “Over the years over a dozen Kern Valley cross country athletes have went on to compete at the college level. We have had some very strong teams over the years. The team this year is young, but should do well.
A lot of people don’t know much about Cross Country so here’s some information your readers may find interesting.
In closing Hazard said, “There are a lot of opportunities out there. If you have the athletic ability to run the times listed above the college coaches will find you at the invitational meets and CIF. It’s a real privilege to coach the Cross Country teams at Kern Valley.”
With a solid core of runners, it appears the Kern Valley teams have the chance to run to success this season.