Our campus, located on 427 acres in the foothills of Ojai, has the kind of rugged, tough terrain and weather that makes for challenging cross-country training—and that develops successful distance runners. Our cross country team has another advantage: the School attracts students who already exhibit the mental toughness and willingness to push beyond their comfort zone that’s essential for the sport, whether they’re serious runners or just getting started.
The season kicks off with the Ojai Invitational Cross-Country Meet, featuring some of the top runners in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara Counties and progresses with several other invitationals and league meets. Both our girls’ and boys’ teams are perennial contenders for the league championship; in the last eight years, our boys' and girls' teams have sent 12 teams to the State Championship Meet in Fresno. In two of the last three years, Thacher has been the only school in the county to send both of its teams to States.
Members of Thacher's cross-country teams have gone on in recent years to compete on squads at Amherst, Colorado College, Connecticut College, Dartmouth, Davidson, Stanford, Colby, Tulane, Vassar, and Vanderbilt (where Kristen Findley CdeP 2009 recently set the university record for the women's 1500 before going on to compete professionally out of Austin, Texas).
Fred teaches occasional xBlock electives, tutors in mathematics, and serves as head coach of both boys’ cross country as well as boys’ JV/third team soccer. In his 30+ years at Thacher, he has coached basketball, baseball, football, track, and 35 seasons of soccer—from third team to varsity, girls and boys. In 1988 he was named Ventura County’s boys’ cross country coach of the year, and in 1993 he was honored as CIF coach of the year for division six boys’ soccer. Fred played intercollegiate soccer at West Point and can often be spotted running the roads near the Thacher campus and around Ojai, where he lives with his dog, Tularosa (“Tule”).