Team: Dana Hills High School
Analysis: The guys from Dana Hills have been one of the top teams in California for several years. This year they look to put things together to claim a CIF State title - which they haven't won since 2009 - and make it to NXN. The past four years they have finished top three or better at the Division 1 CIF State Cross Country Championships. In that same amount of time, they have gone to NXN three times.
This team brings back four of its top seven runners including its third best guy at the state meet Simon Fuller.
How long have you been a Coach? How many of those years have been at your current school?
I have been coaching for 22 years, 19 at Dana Hills
What is your meet schedule this fall?
How has summer training gone for your team? What do you focus on during the summer months?
Summer has been good, great to see kids who want it stepping up. In the summer we focus on our base and team bonding. We just got back from our team trip to Jalama Beach were the kids ran, surfed, and grew together as a family.
Which athletes do you see as the probable top five this season?
Cole Andrew, Carrick Denker, Simon Fuller, Garrett Hough, and Cole Stark are our projected to be our top 5 for now.
Who are your team captains or leaders and what stands out about them as examples for the rest of their teammates?
Cole Andrew, Carrick Denker, Garrett Hough, and Cole Stark are our captains/leaders because of their character, attitude, and relationship with their teammates. Captains/leaders aren't always the fastest ones, but in this case, they are.
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)?
We have a transfer in Cole Stark who came to us from Canyon High School in Anaheim. He's an avid surfer who moved here to be at the beach. He has already stepped up as a runner and a leader. Sophomores Brandon Pizzano aka "Ratatouille" and Gianni Viola look very promising and will be pushing for a varsity spot. Junior Omar Garcia has the potential to maybe surprise some people.
What are some staple workouts your team does during the season?
I would have to say Harbor Hills, Bow to Stern, and our Flag run would be a few of the workouts that stand out to me. All involve a good hill workout, and each one has its own painful way.
What will be the biggest reason why your team is successful this season?
Mental Toughness and running for each other! We are not only training our bodies, we are training our brain to push through and show grit. Every team works hard and wants to do well, and we are working on getting that mental edge. As for running for each other, together we can do anything. Not wanting to let each other down, or pushing that last ½ mile for your teammate/brother makes it easier knowing we all have each other's back.
What will be the biggest obstacle or challenge facing your team this season?
Getting our 4-7 guys to close the gap on our top 3.
How would you describe your team's culture?
Family, we are a band of brothers who care for, look out for, and run for each other. We have fun in and out of practice, but we make sure we get our job done 1st.
What are your top three goals for the team this fall?
Get mentally tougher, become better young men in all aspects of life, and win a State Championship!