Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Men's Track & Field Preview

San Jose, CA - “Up and coming.” We hear that a lot in today’s sports talk but in searching for an adequate description of the youthful Valley Christian men’s track & field program there is nothing more fitting.

The Warriors have been on an upward trajectory the past few seasons, highlighted by a strong core of younger athletes that are now coming into their own. Last season the Warriors qualified an athlete to the WCAL Final in every event. The team went on to finish third in the Frosh-Soph division at the WCAL Championship. With a range of talent potentially scoring across every discipline the Warriors look to climb the league standings in 2016.

Albert Caruana of and contributor to milesplitCA has jokingly dubbed Valley Christian “Shot Put City.” Humor aside, it is for good reason. While the girls have no doubt dominated at the State and National level the boys are not far behind. Theodore King, who went on to play football at BYU is just a few years removed from his school record of 53 feet, 2.25 inches in the shot put. And it was just two years ago David Maumalanga punched his ticket to the state championship with a throw of 52-11 that earned him a second place finish at the CCS Championship. That year Fa'auli Gaoteote also nearly cracked the 50 foot barrier with a toss of 49-1. Those three marks the are atop of the school’s all-time list and some of the best in CCS history.

Looking to make his own mark on the record books is junior Dylan McCreery. Last season was his first and his debut as a sophomore was impressive. He finshed the season with a second place at the WCAL final in the frosh-soph division. His toss of 47-8 is just 3.5 inches shy of TK’s frosh-soph school record. McCreery no doubt is on his way to becomong one of the best in school history.

It was a pair of freshman school records for Daniel Machado last season. His toss of 42-0 in the shot put and 99-9 in the discus is a strong debut. Sophomore Max Moore was impressive in the discus as well, throwing a season best 130-4, which stands #6 on the team’s all-time list. Jonathan Wick is a junior in his first year a the shot put and ended with a personal best 41-1, which stands #8 all-time.

Matthew Weeks is one of decathlete types who does it all… and is good at it. He was a finalist in the 300 hurdles and often a contributor in the 4 x 400 relay. While he is good at the running stuff he has excelled at the jumps. Week’s is the defending frosh-soph WCAL Champion at the high jump and was a top finisher in both the triple jump and the long jump. As a sophomore he hit season best of 19-7 in the long jump which is #8 all-time for the Warriors. His triple jump of 42-0.5 stands at #7 all-time and his high jump of 5-10 is tied for 6th in the record books.

The Warriors welcomed Coach Gittens to the fray last season and the results were immediate. Trent Laubach led the sprinters last season winning the WCAL title at 200 meters (Frosh-Soph) with an impressive 22.87 showing. His mark is #9 all-time for the Warriors for wind-legal marks. He also finished the season with a season best of 11.23 for 100 meters, the #13 best mark on the team’s all-time list.

It was an impressive performance from the core of youngsters last season, in addition to Lauback, Nick “the Quick” Trofort was a finalist in both the 100 and 200 meters where he finished top 5 in both. Trofort ended the season with season bests of 11.38 for 100 meters and 23.74 for the 200, respectively. Gary Coleman was another freshman who was a big contributor in the sprints, he finished the season just as impressive running season bests of 24.40 for the 200 and 54.41 for 400 meters.

Jonathan Sum led the hurdle crew in 2015, finishing the season with a season best 9.65 for the 65 hurdles, a mark that earned him a top 3 finish at the WCAL Frosh-Soph championship. He also competed at the 110 hurdles at the varsity level for dual meets; his time of 17.17 is #4 all-time for Valley Christian. Sum was also a WCAL finalist for the 300 meter hurdles. Matt Weeks, a top scorer in the field events also was a WCAL finalist at 300 meter hurdles, finishing the season with a season best of 43.75 which is #6 on the team’s all-time list. Will Bainbridge also gave the intermediate hurdles a try and ended a WCAL finalist as well. If season best mark of 44.50 is #8 all-time for the Warriors.

The distance crew will be comprised of a strong core of returners that are coming off an impressive cross country season. This fall the Warriors finished second place in CCS, qualifying them for the State Championship. Five of the scoring runners finished the season running in the 16 minute range for 3 miles. They also went on to set a team record on every course they competed on this season.

Nedu Ndili is the top returner for the distance events this season. Last season as a sophoore Ndili posted outstanding performances of 1:59 for 800 meters and 4:32 for the 1600 meters. Ndili also was a key contributor on the 4x400 meter relay team that finished the season with a mark of 3:39.

Joe Renati had a breakthrough at last year’s WCAL Final winning his heat of the 3200 meters. Renati had a strong showing as a freshman, hitting marks of 4:46 for the mile and 10:35 for the 2 mile, respectively. Renati is coming of a stellar cross country season where he was named Valley Christian’s “Runner of the Year” after he led the Warriors to their first state meet appearance in school history.

The distance crew will have impressive depth this season as Justin Baraona and Sam Cuevas will once again be counted on to contribute at the varsity level. Baraona ended last season with season bests of 4:51 and 10:32. Cuevas finished 2015 with season best of 4:56 and 10:41. After two seasons of playing baseball Cameron Lockard has committed to a full season of track this spring and will be a welcome addition to the team this spring.

Dean DeMoss and Peter Enfantino return for their senior year and add depth to a strong distance squad. DeMoss finished the season with a season best of 2:08 for 800 meters and 4:47 for the mile. Enfantino finished the season sub 5 in the mile, 10:51 in the 2 mile and is coming off a strong cross country performance competing on the State Championship team.

The Warriors open their season March 5th at the Willow Glen and Dan Gabor Invitationals.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 Women's Track & Field Preview

San Jose, CA - Valley Christian Women's Track & Field heads into 2016 with a balanced team that is coming off the most successful season in program history. Propelled by two individual state champions, the Lady Warriors finished second place in the team competition at last year’s California State Championship. Making the fete even more impressive is that there are no divisions for Track & Field, making it one of the few sports that is a true State Championship, representing every high school in California.

Last season the Warriors displayed depth across every discipline, but none more impressive than the throws. Led by Elena Bruckner, her breakthrough season grabbed national headlines as the gliding southpaw smashed the CCS record in the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 5.5 inches. That throw ranks her #10 all-time in U.S. History. Bruckner also ended the season with a CCS record and #1 national ranking in the discus. She is one of just three athletes to earn recognition on both national all-time lists for shot put and discus. For her outstanding achievement last season, Bruckner was awarded the Bay Area Athlete of the Year by both the San Jose Mercury News and the San Jose Hall of Fame.

Also returning in the throws is Athya Iese. Last season she was the only Freshman to make the CCS Final, her personal best throw of 39-0 from the CCS Trials is a freshman school record. She finished the season with a 6th place podium finish at the CCS Championship. Combined with Ronna Stone who graduated and is now competing at the University of Oregon, the Warriors placed three in the top 6 at the section championship.

Anna Maumalanga also returns this season. Maumalanga finished the season atop of the Junior Varsity division where she threw a personal best 30-11 in the shot put and 91-0 in the discus.

Ronika Stone had never tried the high jump before but the Volleyball star is known for her jumping ability. In her first try Stone jumped 5 feet. Within a matter of a few weeks she on her way to a school record and personal best of 5-5 winning the WCAL championship in the event. Stone, will play Volleyball at the University of Oregon next fall.

Tori Dilfer, a fellow volleyball teammate, also was a top ranked high jumper in the WCAL finshing the season with a personal best of 4-8. Stone, Dilfer and Bruckner were members of the Valley Christian volleyball team that won the DIII State Championship this fall.

Caitlyn Rowland is the top returning sprinter this season and is looking not just for a breakout season, but redemption. After a strong start last season she was sidelined with injury just a few meets into the season. Rowland worked hard to return and made it back in time for the WCAL Championship. She was one of eight sprinters last season to dip into the 13 second range for 100 meters. While the aforementioned injury sidelined her from her top event, the intermediate hurdles, she finished the season with personal bests in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races.

Adeline Bui had never run before so coming out for track & field as a freshman she was not quite sure what to expect. It was tough going the first few months but she quickly found her groove and has been on an upward trajectory ever since. Now a junior, Bui enters this season determined after qualifying for the WCAL final in both the 100 and 200 meters at the JV division last season.

She will be joined by Sydney Clark and Tiffani Johnson who also had a strong showing last season and are two of the top returners in the 100 and 200 meter events. Clark finished the season with a season best mark of 13.45 seconds, Johnson ran a season best 13.56.

For nearly a decade the Valley Christian hurdle crew has been dominant at the league level and the team looks to continue that tradition this season. Nicole Shak was on fire in the early season last year before taking a fall over the last hurdle that knocked her out of the rest of the season. The JV champion as a freshman, Shak is looking forward to getting back on the track. Caitlyn Rowland finished second in the WCAL JV division as a freshman at the 300 meter hurdles and is looking to attack the record books this season. Hannah Lee was a WCAL medalist last season in the JV division and is expected to be a major contributor to the varsity team this season.

Brianna Becerra returns as the top returner of the distance crew. Running an impressive 12:15 over 3200 meters as a freshman, Becerra’s mark ranks #11 all-time in school history. She also earned personal bests of 5:46 in the 1600 and 2:45 in the 800.

It was a strong year for the freshman class last season as two other freshman ran in the 12 minute range for 2 miles. Camille Reed debuted in her first race, running 12:53. Hannah Theaker finished the season running 12:56 at the WCAL Championship. Kailey Eddy is looking to return to top form this season. Eddy owns personal bests of 5:34 (1600) and 11:48 (3200). After a injury held her out for the early season she finished strong running 5:46 for the 1600 meters.

Middle Distance also is returning a strong core of runners. Vanessa Zenere is the top returner in the 800 meters where she finished the season with a personal best of 2:29. She also was one of eight girls to crack the 6 minute barrier with an impressive debut of 5:50. Kiko Li (2:33, 5:45) and Sophia Patterson (2:33, 5:54) will also be major contributors in the distances this season.

The Valley Christian Track & Field team opens its season March 5th at the Willow Glen and Dan Gabor Invitationals.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Track & Field Sign-Up

Thank you for your interest in the Valley Christian Track & Field program! Please take a moment to fill out our participant sign-up form at the link below:

Sign-up Form: CLICK HERE

  • Fill out the sign-up form by clicking the link above.
  • Winter Conditioning starts in January in the Human Performance Center. Workouts are weekly on Monday, Tuesday & Thursdays. If you would like additional information contact Coach Small at
  • First day of Practice is February 1st. You will need a physical and other forms on file in the Athletic Office. You can find the physical form at this link: CLICK HERE
  • Be sure to check out our team blog for updates!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Coach's Corner: Training Density

In 1976 exercise physiologist Phil Gollnick published a series of research papers on the adaptation of muscle fibers to training. The findings at the time were groundbreaking, the study showed that long runs were beneficial because they caused the adaptation of both slow-and fast-twitch fibers. Essentially after 60 minutes of running the body began to recruit fast-twitch muscle cells similar to what athletes would see in a high intensity training session. Deep in the research however there was something else in the study that nearly everyone had overlooked: too much high intensity work was bad.

Everyone, that is, except Arthur Lydiard. The famed running coach and exercise physiologist was obsessed with finding out why too much intensity was bad. Through his work with many of the World’s top athletes, he discovered that high-intensity training was something one had to use sparingly and judiciously because it could just as easily break down an athlete as build one to a peak.

He just didn’t know why and so enlisted the help of Gollnick.


Gollnick began by studying the effects of high-intensity training on the mitochondria of muscle cells, the so-called "powerhouses" because they convert the body's available energy supplies into the muscle contractions necessary to allow the athlete to maintain a high rate of speed. What his experiment showed was that when the intense exercise depleted the mitochondria, the affected muscle cells took at least 24 hours to recover. The results implied that increased power from speed work doesn't come during the workout, but rather during recovery. If you don't allow for that recovery, you damage the muscle, not strengthen it.

Hardly groundbreaking research and it is something we all know as athletes and coaches: if you do high-intensity work or work that severely stresses your system, you don't recover very fast. Yet while many coaches develop training plans that prescribe to the “hard / easy” methodology made popular 50+ years ago, training density is a component that is often overlooked. The number and placement of intense training bouts should be considered just as much as intensity and volume, especially when training adolescents with little running history or athletic experience.


“They are just not recovering between workouts…”

This was the consensus following a meltdown in one of our mid-season “check point” workouts. With a young, inexperienced team, both in running history and athletic background, our runners were having a difficult time adapting to the workload. This particular day the team looked fatigued, unmotivated and just holding 10k race pace seemed like a struggle. Without getting too in-depth regarding the stress reservoir and how the body responds to outside stresses our student-athletes were overwhelmed and the perception of their “life stress” was taking its toll. We had already modified our training toward “not getting hurt” rather than “training to win,” as we were tip-toeing around numerous injuries. Yet, even with the modified training the athletes were still not recovering.

For the record I feel strongly that at some point you need to put in the work. Rather than reduce volume or intensity further, we instead looked at using it more sparingly, increasing days between hard training bouts. Simply put our athletes were not adapting to the training stresses and needed more time between to properly recover and adapt.

Adding in greater spacing between training sessions allowed our athletes more time to recover and give a greater effort at key sessions. By simply adding the additional day or two between hard days athletes we were able to maintain training intensity and volume. Athletes saw increased confidence and motivation. With a varsity team full of runners with limited running history, the extra day also allowed much needed time to further develop their aerobic foundation.

There is no formula of proper spacing between workouts and will be largely dictated by the experience and genetic rebound ability of each athlete. While our team responded to reduced density, other teams I have coached thrived off a more condensed training program. Whatever the case, it is important to consider beyond variation in volume and intensity; we also need to consider training density and the spacing of hard workouts.

While, it's impossible to go through all of the attributes that go into deciding how much “space” is needed between workouts a few principles to consider are:

  • Athlete Development / Age / Running History - Bigger the foundation, the more "stuff" the athlete can handle. You have to think long term: running daily in the off-season is directly correlated to what training you are able to do in-season.
  • Event Type - Middle distance athletes generally have more "stuff" packed in, but overall volume is lower so total stress load is comparable.
  • Ability of the Athlete to Recover - Everyone is different. How does an athlete bounce back from various types of workouts? (Years running, cumulative mileage & genetics are major determining factors here).
  • Injury/Overtraining Risk - Train the athlete, not the event.
  • Do You Need To Go There - Don't progress to adding extra things until they need to for adaptation. Beginning runners may need to spend time “learning to run.”

While there isn't anything groundbreaking about considering density or space between workouts, I think it's an important concept to consider when not just making your season training plan but when also making mid-season adjustments. We tend to focus on volume and intensity, when in reality it's the density of the work that often is the culprit between successful adaptation and not.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Boys Season Concludes at State Championship

Fresno, CA - The Valley Christian boys Cross Country team competed in their first State Championship in school history, Saturday. The boys punched their ticket to Fresno after finishing second at the CCS Championship two weeks ago.

It was two sophomores that led the way for the Warriors for the third consecutive week. Joe Renati and Mitchell Rohr, a transfer from Tenessee, have been stellar through the championship season.

Renati opened with a 5:07 mile with the team in tow. Nedu Ndili came through in 5:10, Rohr in 5:16. A jumbled pack of of California's top harriers make the second mile a strategic one. Splits are deceptive as the middle mile twists and turns over rolling hills before ending with the largest climb on the course. The second mile is the highest point of the course, the mile the lowest. A consistent effort for even the best runners will see a positive split in the second mile. Holding strong Renati went through two miles in 10:45, impressive, considering just last spring his fastest ever 2 mile was 10:35. He hheld on to cross first for the team in 16:41, a personal best and a mark that is #2 all-time.  Mitchell Rohr was next to finish in 17:33, just off of his best of 17:15 which he ran at the Clovis Invitational earlier this season.

Nedu Ndili (17:37) and Samuel Cuevas (18:38) caught some bad fortune both caming down with colds earlier in the week.  Rounding out the scoring team was Cameron Lockard and Peter Enfantino. Lockard finished just 5 seconds off his personal in 17:50 while Peter Enfantino finished in a lifetime best of 17:51. Justin Baraona closed out the season with an 18:39.

"Being the first team in school history to make it to state makes the whole experience just that much more special," Cameron Lockard said about the race. "It really shows the talent that we have coming through our program. We have been one of the younger varsity teams for the past couple years and it is nice to end the season at the State Meet.

"It is also exciting thinking about what we will be able to accomplish next season with an older veteran varsity team."

The boys return six of their seven varsity runners next season.

Links: Results / Pics