Top 2016 Team Finish: 6th NXN, 1st CIF State Meet
Head Coach: Doug Soles
Athlete 1: Jacob Korgan - 12
Athlete 2: Carlos Carvajal - 12
Athlete 3: Gabe Abbes - 10
Athlete 4: Gavin Korby - 12
Athlete 5: Tyler Tickner - 11
Athlete 6: Ryan Shields - 11
Athlete 7: Chris Verdugo - 10
Analysis: The guys from Great Oak (California) look to come back strong again in 2017. They finished sixth in 2016 at NXN and return three of their top five and four of their top seven. The team is led by Jacob Korgan. They look to dominate the CIF state meet again this year and make it back to NXN.
Great Oak High head coach Doug Soles answered a few questions about his upcoming season. See his answers below.
How long have you coached at your school?
I've been at GO since we opened in 2004 with myself and coach Dan Noble. This will be our 14th Great Oak XC season we have coached.
What is your meet schedule this fall?
Our big meets will be:
Woodbridge on 9/16
Roy Griak on 9/23
Clovis on 10/7
Mt. SAC on 10/21
How has your summer training gone for your team? What do you focus on during the summer months? This group of boys has worked extremely hard. I don't think we have ever entered a season this fit and this ready to compete. All of our top guys have put in a lot of work and effort and even I am surprised at their improvement this season. Our main focus is on coming together as a team, and that is going well.
Which athletes do you see as the probable top five this season?
We have seven returners that can all change spots. Carlos Carvajal and Jacob Korgan return with the biggest resumes, but the younger kids like Gabe Abbes are closing in fast. I would say:
Carlos Carvajal - 12
Jacob Korgan - 12
Gabe Abbes -- 10
Tyler Tickner -- 11
Ryan Shields -- 11
Hard to leave off Gavin Korby and Chris Verdugo as they are both very good and will run towards the front of races.The "Next Big 3" as they have been called since their sophomore season, Carlos, Jacob, and Gavin Korby are the senior leaders of this group and really are the heart and soul of the team. I think their dedication and focus really makes them stand out for the others to follow.
Who are some new faces who will make an impact on your team this year (i.e. freshmen, transfers, runners who have improved a lot)?
Frosh Mateo Joseph, Marcus Boeck, and John Worthy have really impressed me so far this fall. They are all very good runners. They won't impact this season because of their age, but next year as sophomores they will be very good!
What are some staple workouts your team does during the season?
This season we are really focusing on our hill sprints and overall body strength.
What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
I think the general buy-in of this group of guys is probably the highest we have ever had. They want to be great and show it every day in practice. No show-offs, just hard workers who want the team to be successful. I think the fact that we have 10-plus guys all working together towards the team goals will pay off for us at the end of the season.
What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
I think the early goings show that Louden Valley is everyone's biggest obstacle. Their numbers look terrific and they have great coaching. We will be doing our best to try to compete at their level.
How would you describe your team's culture?
We have a culture designed to develop athletes and to focus on being successful as a team. Our focus is on putting together winning teams each season, and making sure we always have a lot of kids developing in the pipeline.
What are your top three goals for the team this fall?
The boys goals this season are:
1. Win NXN
2. Win State
3. Break State course record