Cross Country welcomes new coach

Over the years, Newbury Park High School’s Cross Country team has risen to fame after many successful seasons. With some of the best runners in the country, the cross country team has put Newbury Park on the map. The team has endured many changes as seniors last year have graduated and they have received new talent in the form of new incoming freshmen. However, the freshmen are not the only new faces on the team. This year, the team has been training with a different coach since their previous one, Sean Brosnan, left to coach at a collegiate level at University of California Los Angeles.

This year aims to be no different as coach, Kris Karsten, hopes to lead the team to nationals. “Our goals will always be every single year, no matter where we are ranked, that we want to win state on the boys side and the girls side. We want to try to earn a berth to the Nike National Cross Championships,” Karsten said. Karsten’s training methods prepare the runners for upcoming competition while also helping the athletes avoid injury. Running, like most sports, takes lots of time and effort to improve. It takes many hours running in order to go long distances. “In running, you’re working towards something that you may not see the benefit from until three months from now. So it’s hard to keep working when you don’t have that immediate feedback or gratification and that’s probably the number one thing. Start gradually and just be very, very patient because it takes a while to build up as a distance runner,” Karsten said.

This is Karsten’s first year as the coach, therefore the team has made adjustments to work with the new coaching style. This includes a different training regimen. Zoe Maturo, a sophomore runner for girl’s JV, focuses this year on conditioning to avoid injury. “The training plan is a little bit different. It’s the same structure of usually two workouts a week and a long run at the end of the week and other types of runs mixed in between the workouts. It’s changed because now we all do strengthening exercises together after school instead of as small groups of people going before school three days a week,” Maturo said.

Boys varsity captain, Arnav Shetty, feels the changes have been beneficial and that Karsten has done a good job adjusting everyone to the new training. “[Karsten] explains the benefits and it allows us to develop a much better relationship with him and trust him really easily when it comes to new things,” Shetty said. The training also contributes to the teams’ success in races as running long distances requires extensive training. “Your body’s gonna ask you to stop. It’s gonna ask you to slow down because it wants things to be easy and you have to know that you’re capable of much more than what your body’s telling you to do. You have to fight that and you also have to realize that you have to trust yourself and your training because you’ve been training this hard so you can’t be going easy on race day,” Shetty said.

As the fall sports season comes to a close, cross country will continue to have races throughout November, including the state championship. Karsten curates his everyday workouts for the team to ensure that their energy will last the long season. “The way that I train runners is that I try to have everyone hitting their best races at the very end of the season, which is coming
up. For the varsity runners, I want them running their absolute best at state, which is in November,” Karsten said.