As an alumni who graduated in 1979, Mr. Danny Delgado ’79 found his way back to Christian Brothers and started as a religion teacher. After serving as a P.E. and biology teacher, he became the chemistry teacher, robotics team leader, and cross country coach most of us know today. Although Mr.Delgado is considered one of […]
As an alumni who graduated in 1979, Mr. Danny Delgado ’79 found his way back to Christian Brothers and started as a religion teacher. After serving as a P.E. and biology teacher, he became the chemistry teacher, robotics team leader, and cross country coach most of us know today.
Although Mr.Delgado is considered one of the best chemistry teachers at Christian Brothers, he is truly recognized for his role as the cross country head coach.
“Our sport is your sports punishment!” he says with a casual smile.
Mr. Delgado’s ability to push his athletes harder through kindness and his positivity on and off the course is what makes him stand out among other teachers and coaches,
“We train hard and we want to improve week to week, but we don’t want to forget to have fun with it and not forget it’s a sport,” he says. “It’s meant to have fun, not just be a punishment”
Cross country’s popularity over the years at CB is due to the fact that Mr. Delgado is an energetic coach and that cross country is the key foundation to every other sport.
“Cross country is great conditioning for any sport because it helps build your lungs and you develop a tolerance of constantly pushing yourself”
Even with the 60-70 runners the team has at all levels, the amount of people dedicated to taking it to the next level is quite slim.
“It has nothing to do with age, but mainly interest,” Mr. Delgado says. “A lot of people just do it to get in shape or to just hang out with their friends. But out of those 60, a little under half of those take it seriously as a sport and not just an activity.”
This year, however, has been quite difficult for the team.
“This year is really a rebuilding year for us as a whole with so many runners graduating and so many new runners who have not been built up to our standards”
Other runners, however, have their mind on other goals besides running cross country,
“A lot of juniors and seniors quit because they want to focus on school and need to get their grades up to get into a college they want,” Mr. Delgado says.
Varsity runner Jack Stokes (’21) agrees that junior year seems to be the hardest to manage academics and cross country.
“It’s just hard to be able to keep my grades up while going to every practice everyday and be able to focus my social life too and hang out with my friends,” he says.
Like most things at CB, consistency is key to Mr. Delgado and his track team’s performance,
“We are very consistent and are able to perform and really compete with other D-II, D-III, D-IV and D-V schools because we condition our runners consistently. We finish about mid-pack compared to the D-I and D-II schools, but CB definitely holds its own out there”
Although Mr. Delgado says anyone can do cross county, only the mentally and physically strong can perform in the sport,
“You don’t have a team to back you up or pick up your weight — you’re against yourself and against the clock, but you’re also against other runners and the course itself,” the science teacher says.
“It’s really a mental thing to be able to tell yourself to keep running even when you’re tired and know you can just stop right there,” Jack added.
The terrain of these runs really can change the outcome of a race and shows who has been putting in the work.
“Sometimes the terrain is flat and grass — it can be dirt and hills, or it could be chips, or it could be asphalt,” Mr. Delgado says. “But the bottom line is this — you gotta put in the work because it will show who is working and who is not”
Jack has a personal preference of what he like to run on.
“I like to run off course and I like the hills when I run because it doesn’t make it that hard with something else to focus on besides just the distance”
But as in everything great in life, greatness never comes easy to anyone.
“It hurts — cross country hurts,” Mr. Delgado says. “It’s not an easy sport, and most just think you go out and run, but you have to challenge yourself to be faster and stronger every week.”
The training for cross country is just as hard, if not harder than the courses themselves.
“We start training the second week of June in the summer, and we put in about anywhere from three to five hundred miles in the summer, and in August in the season, we put in about 40 to 50 miles a week”
Just like every sport, injuries occur, and running these long distances on the rough terrain courses causes a lot of tension on the lower body,
According to Mr. Delgado, “the most common injury is probably shin splints” because the muscle or tendon is overworked. “Another is hip flexors because running puts a lot of strain on your lower back”
Jack and injuries are not two things that get along,
“Luckily, I have never gotten injured at all because I make sure to warm up,” the junior says. “But I have seen a lot of people around me get hurt many times.”
For people who can’t reach the 40 to 50 mile a week goal but want to join cross country, Mr. Delgado strongly suggests starting simple.
“Just start running anywhere — you have to put in the work. You’re not just gonna wake up one day and be able to run that much. It takes time and hours of practice”
No matter if you like running in the mountains or on the sidewalk through the city, one thing is for sure: you have to put in the work constantly if you want to seriously run cross country because there’s a reason cross country is called “your sports punishment”.