Team Spotlight - Great Oak HS, Temecula, CA


Team Spotlight -  Great Oak HS, Temecula, CA

This interview features the Great Oak High School (Temecula, California) girls’ team; interview with head coach Doug Soles.  Great Oak, a traditionally strong and deep squad, returns five of their top seven from 2011, and is posed as a sleeper on the 2012 California and national scenes.


School, location (city, state) -  

Great Oak High School, Temecula, California

Team (boys, girls, both) –


Head Coach - 

Doug Soles (Boys and Girls)

Assistant Coach(es) –  

Daniel Noble, Vicki Espinoza, Lauren Campfield

Top (national level) athletes; name, grade, PR’s –

Ashley Helbig - 11 - 1600 - 4:58, 3200 - 10:38, 3 mile xc - 17:20, 2012 5k - 17:19
Miranda Kewley - 12 - 3200 - 10:59, 3 mile xc - 17:39
Rachel Seymour - 12 - 1600 - 5:09, 3200 - 11:07, 800 - 2:17, 3 mile xc - 17:45
Alexis Messerly - 12 - 3200 - 11:16, 3 mile xc - 17:24
Maiya Larsen - 10 - 1600 - 5:15, 3200 - 11:15, 3 mile xc - 17:15
Kim McNamee - 12 - 1600 - 5:14, 3 mile xc - 17:57
Kelli McNamee - 12 - 1600 - 5:15, 3 mile xc - 17:57
Haley Dorris - 11 - 1600 - 5:15, 3200 - 11:17
Chrissy Calain - 11 - 3200 - 11:28, 3 mile xc - 17:59

Key(s) to the success of your team –    

- Amazing kids!
- Our team philosophy, since we opened in 2004, has been to develop and maintain one of the top teams nationally.
- Large team - consistently over 200 boys and girls combined in the program each season over the last few years.  Gotta retain athletes!
- Developing depth - We are usually one of the deepest girls’ teams in the country each season.
- Training philosophy focuses on a strong aerobic base for each athlete.
- Continued youth development.  We focus heavily on prepping our younger kids for varsity, so that we can stay consistently towards the top end of the teams in CA.  We run a lot of B team sweepstakes teams to help them prepare for when they are in the race for real.
- Travel to national class meets [Manhattan (NY), Great American (NC), Stanford, Clovis, Desert Twilight (AZ), etc.]
- We get out as many 9th graders as possible each season!
- We teach the kids to fear no one.  We'll race anyone, anywhere!  If we lose we gain that experience and will learn from it.
- Always building towards the future, and not being satisfied with the present, are big keys for long term success!

Your favorite meet(s) –  

Woodbridge XC Classic.  A great early season meet that kicks off the regular season for our team with tons of competition.  We use it as a time trial and a year over year comparison for where our team is compared to the past.  Runs at night for the sweepstakes races, which is a lot of fun for the kids.  We love seeing what our 9th graders can do for their first 3 mile race of the year there!

What do you most love about cross country - 

The best thing about XC as a coach is watching athletes improve year over year and bond with their teammates.  The sheer joy on their faces as they move up the ranks and realize that their hard work is paying off is truly the heart of XC.  You can be any size and shape and still be good at XC; which is nice compared to sports like basketball or volleyball where height is a major factor, or gymnastics where it usually helps to stay smaller.  We have success with so many different types of kids that it really shows that there is no perfect athlete for XC; you just have to find hard workers and get them running consistently.  XC is awesome because everyone on the team is going the same direction, and doing the same event.  There isn't anything better as a coach than watching a team come together and realize their potential!

Teams you most enjoy competing against –

There are many amazing girls’ programs in California!  We love to take on the best, so facing teams like Saugus, Simi Valley, Dana Hills, and La Costa Canyon over the last few years has been a lot of fun!  We enjoy a friendly rivalry with Xavier Prep in AZ; they have amazing kids and coaches!  We also really love to face Trabuco Hills, as they are always well coached and fiercely competitive every year!  They will race anyone anytime just like us; so it always makes for great races with them!

Team goals for the season - 

Our athletes make team goals each season; but the main goal of our team each year is to win the California State Championship.  All other goals are secondary to that.


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