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Coach of the Year: Rene Paragas

Under Rene Paragas, Saugus distance running has reached a level of excellence that is unrivaled

Posted: July 4, 2009 9:39 p.m.
Updated: July 5, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Saugus cross country and track and field coach Rene Paragas has consistently kept the Centurions at an elite level. This year his teams won Foothill League titles, won a third straight CIF-Southern Section Division II title and advanced record numbers for one event to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

 
To have great talent on your team is one thing.

To get the most out of that talent is something else entirely.

High school athletes get injured. They come down with illnesses. By nature, kids are up-and-down emotionally.

None of that stops Rene Paragas from winning with them.

Saugus High School has an impressive tradition in cross country and track and field, and Paragas managed to add more distinctions in 2008-09.

The Signal's 2008-09 Coach of the Year isn't afraid to test the limits of his athletes in practice. But the results speak for themselves.

Ask the Saugus girls cross country team, which finished second at the Nike Cross Nationals and won its third straight CIF State Division II championship.

The Centurions finished the state race in 90 minutes, 6 seconds to break their own previous state record. They beat the second-place team by 109 points - the widest margin of victory in the history of the state meet - and sophomore Kaylin Mahoney won an individual state title with a time of 17:34.

Mahoney is part of another group of record-setting runners that can vouch for Paragas' coaching ability.

She joined senior Anne Randall, sophomore Stephanie Bulder and freshman Karis Frankian in the 3,200-meter run finals at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

Never before had four runners from the same school reached the girls 3,200 state finals in the same season.

Not until Paragas worked his magic.

One of his chief principles is simple: the more Saugus runners in a single race, the better they all perform.

If they see their teammates ahead of them, they push harder to catch up. If they feel their teammates behind them, they push harder to stay ahead.

After the four Centurions qualified for the 3,200
finals, Paragas wasn't gushing about setting any records.

He was just happy they all made it.

That team dynamic is forged during practices, tough practices that often find the athletes running considerable distances, sometimes twice a day.

But there is a competitiveness that comes out of the training - not to mention the incredible stamina, which also served the Saugus boys well.

The boys cross country team won its third straight league title, and senior Brandon Jauregui became the first male Centurion to win an individual Foothill League title.

Jauregui was also there in the spring when the boys track and field team won its first league title of any kind since 1986.

The Saugus boys probably won't have to wait that long for another league title.

It could come as soon as next year, as it could for the girls track team and the cross country teams.

With Paragas coaching, Saugus is always a threat.


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