CIF State Cross Country ChampionshipsWHERE:
Woodward Park, FresnoWHEN:
Saturday, Nov. 26RACE TIMES:
Division IV girls, 8:30 a.m.; Division V girls, 9:05 a.m.; Division IV boys, 9:40 a.m.; Division V boys, 10:10 a.m.; Division I girls, 10:40 a.m.; Division II boys, 11:15 a.m.; Division III girls, 11:45 a.m.; Division I boys, 12:20 p.m.; Division II girls, 12:50 p.m.; Division III boys, 1:25 p.m.LIVE RESULTS: Click here Saturday
D1 girls – Sarah Baxter (Simi Valley)
D3 girls - Carrie Verdon (Campolindo-Moraga)
D4 girls - Cami Chapus (Harvard-Westlake)
D5 boys - Billy Gaudreau (St. Margaret's)See top 3 rankings below
SAN FRANCISCO -
This has always been Jim Tracy's favorite day on the calendar.
The University (San Francisco)
cross-country coach drives his team to Fresno the day before the CIF State Meet at Woodward Park. His girls' teams have won a state record eight championships.
"We jump out of the van, get into running gear and jog directly to the course," he said Tuesday. "We go over everything one last time. There's something about a season's worth of preparation coming down to one day. It's exciting. It's invigorating."
Tracy looks forward to that experience again today though he can't run or train with the team anymore.
Seventeen months ago, the 61-year-old was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, a fatal condition also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
His inspirational story
hit national and media outlets worldwide a year ago when University's then No. 1 run Holland Reynolds collapsed from dehydration about 50 feet from the finish. She crawled the line to secure the team's eighth state crown.
Reynolds' effort was partially inspired by her dying coach and was portrayed as a metaphor for Tracy's unyielding devotion to the team and sport he's coached since 1994.
Most believed 2010 would be his final season but Tracy is considered a "slow decliner" by ALS doctors. So, despite a steady deterioration of muscles and energy, he leads the Red Devil caravan to Fresno once more.
"I'm just very thankful I can continue to contribute in some way," Tracy said. "Yes, it's hard not to be able to do thing things I used to. Running with my team in Fresno was one of the greatest things in my life. But just being there with them, talking them through their race, seeing them compete – I consider myself lucky."
He's been overwhelmed with support from University, which set up a special needs fund for Tracy. The school has raised enough funds for him to reside in a two-bedroom apartment in the Presidio.
"I've lived my whole life renting small rooms from people," he said. "Now I have more stuff than I've ever owned. It's really rather odd. Sometimes I just have to laugh. Before I didn't have anything and now I have everything."Best part of the day
He has four assistant coaches now – Alex Mason, Kevin Krulik, Bob Darling and Brittany Garrett - after utilizing just one for most of his career. Though he leans on them heavily, he still gives the big speeches before the big races. Like tonight.
The Red Devils are overwhelming favorites to take the Division V (small school) crown behind the one-two punch of seniors Bridget Blum and Reynolds, who last week took second and third in the North Coast Section Championships at Hayward High. Juniors Jennie Callan and Lizzy Teerlink were fifth and 18th.
University's girls won their 19th NCS title, 13 since Tracy took over. The boys were second but have won 11 NCS crowns.
"We're so thrilled that Jim has been our coach throughout the year," Reynolds said. "I don't think we were expecting this last spring. He still teaches us and inspires us and pushes us. It would be awesome for us seniors to finish with three straight titles.
"He's doing surprisingly well, but of course he's getting worse. It's just great for him to be out here."
Reynolds, whose courageous finish last year will forever be linked to Tracy's legacy, said the media attention was a bit overwhelming at times last season.
The New York Times, CNN, Good Morning America and ESPN's "Outside the Lines" all interviewed Reynolds, to name but a few. Her fall to grace was also told internationally and recently a Japanese news station from Nippon traveled West to do the story and actually asked for a reenactment of Reynolds' crawl to the finish.
"Pretty funny," she said.
After a year of re-telling her story, the highly competitive but largely private Reynolds was burned out on the topic and at many levels wondered "what was the big deal?" But the station also offered $1,500 for the interview and all that money could go to Tracy's trust fund.
"And any attention to help A.L.S. cause is a good one," Reynolds said. A documentary about Tracy's life - "Running for Jim" - is currently in the works and the producers have pledged 100 percent net proceeds to A.L.S .charity.
In January, Tracy and the Red Devils will be featured in a "Runner's World" centerpiece.
All of it has left Tracy wondering "when all the media attention will end?" he said. "Believe me, I'm not complaining."
When he attends the Forbes Norris Research Center in San Francisco to test new drugs, including a trial one called NP001, Tracy is treated like a celebrity by other patients.
"I had a women come up and thank me," Tracy said. "When I asked why she said that the more my story gets told the more attention ALS receives and that helps push forward more research, more testing, more money."
He's in the fourth of six phases of the NP001 infusions. Nobody is sure if they are helping or hindering.
"All I know is that I'm fighting as hard as I can," he said. "Coaching is by far the best part of my day. The program keeps me going and fighting and something to shoot for.
"This is my 18th year of coaching. If we win (Saturday) we'll have nine state titles. That's 50 percent. That's awfully good. That's something to be proud of."To continue to defray Tracy's medical and living expenses, donations are still being accepted. They should be made payable to: Jim Tracy Special News Trust. And mailed to: University High School, 3065 Jackson Street, San Francisco, Calif., 94115. For more about Tracy's life, condition and A.L.S. to coachjimtracy.com.
Top 3 seeds according to Dyestat.comGIRLSD1 –
1. Erika Reddish (Vista Murrieta). 2. Hagen Reedy Jr. (Buchanan-Clovis). 3. Sarah Robinson (Gunn-Palo Alto). Team: 1. San Clemente. 2. Dana Hills. 3. Great Oak. D2 -
Sara Baxter (Simi Valley). 2. Karis Frankian (Saugus-Santa Clarita). 3. Paige Tennison (Newport Harbor-Costa Mesa). Team: 1. Simi Valley. 2. La Costa Canyon. 3. Saugus.
1. Carrie Verdon (Campolindo). 2. Karlie Garcia (Oakmont-Roseville), 3. Nikki Hiltz (Aptos). Team: 1. Vista Del Lago. 2. Palos Verdes. 3. Campolindo. D4 –
1. Cami Chapus (Harvard-Westlake-North Hollywood). 2. Anna Maxwell (San Lorenzo Valley-Felton). 3. Vanessa Fraser (Scotts Valley). Team: 1. JSerra. 2. San Lorenzo Valley. 3. Mayfield. D5 –
1. Julia Maxwell (Branson-Ross). 2. Alexia Velarde (Marywood-Palm Valley). 3. Bridget Blum (University-San Francisco). Team: 1. University. 2. Xavier College Prep. 3. Thacher. BOYSD1 –
1. C.J. Albertson (Buchanan-Clovis). 2. Sergio Gonzalez (Arcadia). 3. Luis Gutierrez (Rancho Cucamonga). Team: 1. Arcadia. 2. Rancho Cucamonga. 3. Great Oak. D2 –
1. Darren Fahy (La Costa Canyon-Carlsbad). 2. Kristian Martinez (Golden Valley-Santa Clarita). 3. Dylan Blankenbaker (Ramona). Team: 1. Golden Valley. 2. Loyola. 3. La Costa Canyon. D3 –
1. Danny Martinez (St. John Bosco-Bellflower). 2. Jonah Diz (Palos Verdes). 3. Myles Smith (St. John Bosco). Team: 1. Palos Verdes. 2. St. John Bosco. 3. Campolindo. D4 –
1. John Lawson (Drake-San Anselmo). 2. Daniel De La Torre (La Salle-Pasadena). 3. Will Wilde Botta (Bishop’s School-La Jolla). Team: 1. Salesian-Los Angeles. 2. Don Bosco. 3. San Lorenzo Valley. D5 –
1. Billy Gaudreau (St. Margaret’s-San Juan Capistrano). 2. John Whelan (Etna). 3. Paul Brenneman (St. Margaret’s). Team: 1. St. Margaret’s. 2. St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda. 3. Chadwick.