HS Cross Country: The roots of a nationally ranked championship team

Doug Soles, head coach of the nationally ranked Great Oak High School Cross Country and Track team. Devin Davis photo.

In an attempt to get to know the man behind the nationally ranked Great Oak High School Cross Country and Track team, Valley News interviewed Coach Soles to try and uncover the secrets of his team’s success.

Coach Soles is a Graphic Design teacher at GOHS and has been teaching there for 14 years running. Soles was put in charge of  the Cross Country program in 2004 and quickly started a tradition of winning. He began coaching track at Desert Hot Springs as his passion stems from his own experience when he competed in high school running cross country and track, he then competed in track while in college.

The Great Oak running programs, under Coach Soles’ training and management, is the only school in the nation to have both boys’ and girls’ teams  in the top rankings. In order to achieve their goal of being the best combined program in the country, their work ethics are put to the test as he challenges each of the athletes to their breaking point. The runners begin with an in-depth warm up followed by 30 minutes of core and immediately into the main workout piece finishing with core hits.

Coach Soles philosophy on coaching: We have the deepest team in the country. I expect them to give everything they’ve got and always work to get better. I expect their best.”

Valley News: How do you think your team will place, by the end of this season?

Coach Soles: We swept state four  years in a row and the girls just won their sixth out of the last seven State meets. Between the boy’s and girls’ teams we have won 10 state championships since 2010 and just got our number11 overall. No matter where they place at the NXN, I know they worked hard and won’t settle for second place.

Valley News: What areas do you think would need the most improvement?

Coach Soles: We function at a pretty high level. We proactively identify trouble areas so there are not a lot of weaknesses. We also emphasize nutrition habits.

Coach Soles expresses his pride in that they are very Pro-Temecula. The athletes love the support they receive as they run by. People honk and wave with their encouragement and support. “There are a lot of people out there now that realize we won the national title in 2015. We bring a lot of good recognition to Temecula.”  The athletes absolutely love the support we get from the community. It is just tremendous and they really appreciate it. The teams are trying to do everything they can to represent at a very high level.  We are sponsored by Nike so the way we look, act and perform is held to the highest standards. In a nutshell –when everyone observes our Championship teams they think of what an awesome community Temecula must be.”

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