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Newbury Park Cross Country Summer Practice

Next in our series of west coast high school cross country summer practices, we spent a morning in Big Bear, Ca to watch Newbury Park High School run a tempo run at The Ranch Park. Big Bear Lake is located about 2.5 hours northeast of Newbury Park and has an elevation of near 7000 feet. The team spends four weeks in Big Bear which requires help from coaches and parents. Alumni also come up to Big Bear to spend some of the time training with the team and do individual workouts to prepare for their college cross country season. We also saw a high school from Florida training at the park and a film crew from Big Bear Track Club capturing the workout that later can be viewed on YouTube. We spoke to assistant coach Steve Hawkins about the Newbury Park program.

Do you have any special summer activities?

"This is it (four week Big Bear Team Camp). It is no different in what we do down below. We do recognize that the benefits of altitude training do not last through the whole academic year . . . probably not through the whole cross country season. What it seems to do is gives us a kind of kick start for conditioning for when we go down the hill and the intensity of training can be higher. The intensity of training is the limiting factor . . . the harder you train, the better the payback (as long as you stay healthy while doing it). You get the boost of the elevation along with the training and that allows us to train harder sooner. It shows because the kids run really fast in September and they can carry it through to October and November.

What is the secret to Newbury Park's success?

"I think talented kids obviously. The training is really good and the kids believe in it. Those three things make for a successful program."

How does Newbury Park create their team culture?

"The answer to that . . . somebody could write a book and be rich. Creating culture is not as easy as one can imagine. Coach Sean Brosnan has a very strong personality and has a very clear picture of what he wants it to look like. He had some kids when he first started the program who really bought in and held each other accountable. He actually mentioned one of them, a boy named Ethan Duffy that really helped him establish the culture, the expectations of the program and it is kind of taken root. It is part of the reason the program is small because it is the culture that not necessarily every high school athlete is going to embrace."

Pictures from Newbury Park's tempo run at The Ranch Park are found HERE

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