On July 2 West Coast XC joined Buchanan, from Clovis, CA, at their Saturday practice. The team ran to Woodward Park in Fresno, home of the California State Cross Country Meet, from the elementary school starting point. The athletes were doing a long run covering loops in the park which the coaches call clovers. We talked to assistant coach Marty Simpson about Buchanan's summer practices and their team culture.
What are Buchanan's favorite summer traditions?
Buchanan goes to Morro Bay on the California central coast at the end of July for a team camp. It is nice to get out of the Central Valley heat and run at the beach. They also meet Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings at Buchanan High School and Saturday they meet at an elementary school and do runs at Woodward Park. On Tuesday and Thursday the athletes meet together for their own runs.
How does Buchanan create excitement for their program?
Buchanan tries to meet athletes at where they are athletically. If the athlete is achieving at a high level, then they will travel to meets that will challenge them. Older athletes mentor younger athletes within the program and the coaches do their best to go to clinics and learn more about the sport. Coaches care about athletes reaching their best. Even though Buchanan is one of the top distance programs in the state of California, the winning is not as important as creating life long runners. While we watched the Buchanan athletes run their loops or clovers at Woodward Park, many alums, who were on their own runs, came up and said hi to Coach Simpson. Some alums also joined the team at the elementary school for the Saturday run. Buchanan has created quite a running community in the Fresno area.
How does Buchanan handle the summer heat?
The Central Valley of California are known for their hot summers. In August, during summer practice, the team runs in the morning and start walks or light runs in the afternoon to acclimate to the Central Valley heat. Once school starts they back off a bit on the mileage to get used to the heat. About two weeks in the school year, most athletes have adjusted to the Central Valley heat and are ready for the demands of after school practices.
To view pictures from Buchanan's run at Woodward Park, click HERE