Coach Fred Pichay offers insight into one of Laguna Beach’s biggest track meets of the year.
By Jessie Dax-Setkus
Track and field is a sport most are rather familiar with, largely because of the Olympics—but it also happens to be one of the oldest sports around, with origins dating back to ancient Greece. With so many activities to take part in on a track and field team, everyone can find at least one event that they excel in.
Coach Fred Pichay has been coaching this eclectic sport at Laguna Beach High School for over 30 years and trains athletes to participate in the City Track Meet, one of the biggest track and field events in the area that is slated for March 31 this year. Nearly 30 kids signed up for the winter training session and another track clinic is slated for spring, beginning in April. Here, Pichay shares a little about his love for the sport and what it takes to become a star at the City Track Meet.
Laguna Beach Magazine: What is your background with track and field?
Fred Pichay: I am an assistant coach at Laguna Beach High School, and I have been doing the city track and field program [for] over 30 years. I ran track while I was in high school and I am still running long distance[s today]; … I have run over 100 marathons in my life. … I love the kids and enjoy spending time with them. It’s not just about running, it’s about building mentorship and building relationships for a lifetime.
What do you do at the City Track Meet and the preparatory Track & Field Clinic?
FP: We do the long and short distance [runs and sprints], high jump and long jump, … and softball throw. I train the students to prepare for the City Track Meet. They are still learning how to run and I teach them how to run properly and … encourage them to be the best they can be.
What are the training sessions like?
FP: We … work out [and practice] everything, including long distance [runs] and jump[s]. We train Monday, Wednesday and Friday [for] an hour and a half a day. [It] depends how many people sign up. … We have a very good program—the kids love it.
What age or experience level must you be in order to participate?
FP: [The kids’] ages range from 6 to 14 years old. Some of the kids have never been in a program and I teach them how to run properly and build up their running form. Some of the kids have been in the program for many years.
Where does the City Track Meet take place?
FP: At [Guyer Field, which is] the Laguna Beach High School track
What do the kids take away from the track meet?
FP: I try to pick good events for the kids depending on their skill set—long or short distance. We try to find their strongest three or four events and choose those. I want to set them up for success and also prepare them for high school and college.
What kind of workout do the children get from these track events?
FP: The workouts are intense and they love it. Sometimes we do stadium and hill repeats. It is a very good workout.
What equipment is necessary for these meets?
FP: We bring mini hurdles, parachutes, [items for] strength training for [the] upper body, [the softball for the] softball throw, [which] is [for] ages 6-12 years old. Some of my students contact me later in life and they are still running, and they say thank you for helping them get into the sport. Running is a lifelong sport almost anyone can do, from a very young age into adulthood.