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Newbury Park High School Coach Sean Brosnan On Building The Greatest HS Cross Country Team Of All-Time

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“I jokingly told my wife, ‘I bet if just had a decent bunch of kids, I bet I could win a state meet and be a national-caliber team.’ She was like, ‘Yeah…yeah…’ I emailed all the coaches in the area. I decided to go back to school to get my credentials and maybe I’d teach in high school. Nobody got back to me but Newbury Park. The coach was like, ‘Hey, I’m retiring in a couple of years. We need someone to take over the program.’ That’s kind of how it happened. I just walked into the program, sat down with the guys and we were not very good at the time. I just started setting the standards high. It made some people mad at first. I might have lost one or two kids mentally wanting to put that work in. It turned around pretty quickly. We won a state championship in three years. We won a couple more and then a national championship. My girls won the state championship. It’s just been snowballing since. The biggest thing I say is that we don’t set boundaries. We really don’t. We just go after what we want.”

I got to meet Newbury Park High School coach Sean Brosnan earlier this month when three members of his boys team came into NYC for the Dr. Sander Invitational and ran the second and fourth fastest times in history for the high school indoor 3K and then Colin Sahlman became the 13th US high school boy to break four minutes for the mile when he ran 3:58 and beat a field of collegiate and pro runners. During the cross country season, this team established itself as arguably the greatest of all time. At the RunningLane Cross Country Championships in December, they scored 28 points as they went 1-2-3 with Colin Sahlman, Leo Young and Lex Young running the three fastest times by US High Schoolers on a 5K cross country course. Sahlman led the way with a 14:03. As you’ll hear in this episode, this group gets swarmed by fans at meets. They have a YouTube vlog. They’re rising stars right now. So how did Sean Brosnan stumble upon this program after years of running post-collegiately and as a professional just trying to break 4 minutes for the mile into his 30s? And then how did he take it over and make them so good. Consider this a little bit of an insight into his training philosophy mixed with a How I Built This around the program.

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