by Steven Felschundneff | [email protected]
It might be an overused cliché, but it truly is the end of an era for the distance runners at Claremont High School.
After the team’s trip to CIF California State Meet last weekend, Bill Reeves announced that he has officially retired as the Wolfpack’s cross-country coach. For ten years, eight of which as a head coach, Reeves has been the cornerstone of a program that has been a gem of CHS athletics for decades.
Under Reeves’ tutelage, the pack has never lost a Palomares League championship, won two CIF Southern Section titles for girls and two for boys, and won three state titles for girls and one for boys. In 2016, Owen Bishop was State Champion in his senior year, and in 2018, Maddie Coles was CIF Champion and First Year State Finalist.
Even with this impressive track record, Reeves will miss time spent with the team the most.
“My favorite quote is ‘the journey is better than the end.’ I remember taking trips to tournaments, Idaho, Minnesota, Illinois, Texas, Washington and New York, ”Reeves said. “I just remember the time I spent with the kids mainly training, camping and traveling, it was a good time.”
After his retirement, Reeves will spend at least some of his time in Holland, Michigan, where his daughter and husband live with their four-month-old daughter, Olivia Grace. The plan is to be a snowbird for a while, travel to Michigan for the summers and return home to La Verne for the winter months – although he warned that once his wife Cyndi will retire in June, they could end up in Michigan full time.
“I have a feeling that if my daughter has another grandchild, my wife is going to want to stay there, so we’ll just see how it goes,” he said. “It’s been 37 years. I enjoyed every minute of it, but leaving my wife at home on Fridays and Saturdays to travel is a strain on her and it’s time to do another chapter in my life and be “go-pa”.
Currently, Reeves’ plan is to stop coaching, but he might be asked to seek advice from his assistant, Chris Ramirez, now the new cross country head coach. Ramirez will also inherit the duties of the long-distance coach of the track team, which Reeves led for eight years.
“He may get a phone call from me every now and then or every week,” Mr. Ramirez said.
Reeves coached at Azusa Pacific University 20 years ago and Ramirez was one of its runners. The two had a chance meeting three years ago, which led to Ramirez becoming Claremont’s assistant.
“I was racing in Marshall Canyon, which Coach Reeves’ house collides with. And I was getting out of my car to finish my race and I saw him in the front yard and he told me to come coach with me. And the timing allowed it because I had just quit my full-time job at Disney, ”Ramirez said.
At Disney, he worked as an imaginator in the production of new live entertainment at the company’s parks and resorts. “I was in the Aladdin Musical Spectacular at California Adventure,” he said. After 13 years, part of which driving from his home in Ontario, he decides to quit and focus his energy on a real estate business that he runs with her husband, Sam Atkin.
Returning to training was definitely in the cards for Ramirez who said that just before the chance encounter with Reeves, he planned to visit Chaffey High near his home and ask if he needed any help with the program. cross country.
Ramirez admits he has little time to work in the real estate industry as he also works as an assistant coach for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps cross country.
In the state competition last weekend, the girls were tenth in their division and the boys were sixth. During Reeves’ time, the boys have never finished below sixth, while the girls have a second, third and fourth place in addition to three crown titles.
“We had very good performances from Mont Sac at the CIF State Finals. We still had people wasting their time and running their public relations, ”Ramirez said.
“We go there six days a week pretty much all year round, so the culture is pretty strong,” Reeves said. When we had COVID our numbers went down dramatically and this year was our first year back and the numbers at many schools were still going down, but here in Claremont has gone up a bit. “
Ramirez said the biggest lesson he learned from Reeves was patience and empathy, especially when it comes to finalizing this season’s roster, which at Claremont means some riders won’t be in. of the team.
“It’s very difficult when you have a program that kids naturally gravitate towards because it has such a rich tradition. And when the kids like to run it’s always hard to say no to them, or we don’t have enough coaches or enough room on the team. It’s the hardest thing, ”Ramirez said. “I think what I learned from Reeves was just to be patient and gracious, to understand and to listen. Those kinds of things that are going to make him a great-grandfather.
“Honestly, it was a pleasure,” said senior Rubén Denson of working with Reeves. “He left a legacy here at Claremont High School. We’ve seen a lot of progress in our race times and in our training after four years in the program, it’s been huge to have it in my years here.
“I’m really proud of these kids and where they came from. It was obviously a difficult period of almost two years before the climax of this season. It’s really long [single] season, I don’t feel like there has been a hiatus, ”said Ramirez. “And it’s been a really long time. I think that mental strength really developed and I really saw it.
The Claremont long-distance runners will have a short but short break with track and field training starting in the coming weeks.