BIO: Shannon Murakami is perhaps the greatest distance runner to come out of Saugus HS. Fearless and tough, she was a game changer from day one. Her ability to train and recover from workouts are legendary. She competed at UCLA after leaving Saugus, qualifying for the NCAA National meet as an individual in 2009.
Favorite Saugus run: Agua Doce, unless it's a workout, then my favorite is probably 8x400 with a minute rest.
Favorite Saugus moment: It's hard to pick just one. As an individual I would say winning state. I remember crossing the finish line and seeing you and giving you a hug and you telling me how proud you were and that you knew I could do it. As a team, winning state for the first time.
Saugus Nickname: Shan-Man
High School PRs: 4:42 (1600m), 2:10 (800m), 10:31 (3200m), 17:08 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed at Saugus: 2003-2007
Favorite Quote: "Shannon can pee standing up"
Advice to current Saugus runners: Saugus workouts are tougher than races. If you can survive the workouts, you will survive the races. Races feel easier as the season goes on and you've put in the miles. And always listen to your body, if you're injured, tell coach. Don't lie and say you feel fine. You'll regret it later when it takes longer to recover.
BIO: Made the Varsity Boys team as a freshman and lettered four years. Claimed the first Saugus individual league title for a boy in XC in a decade. More importantly he helped bring confidence to a program devoid of winning. Competed at San Francisco State and San Jose State before being diagnosed with cancer that cut his career short. Not to be counted out, "Brando" got out of the hospital put together a few months of solid training with the Saugus Varsity Boys team (that went onto win the state meet) and shocked the SCV by winning the SCV Half-Marathon! A true inspiration to all who know him.
Favorite Saugus run: the Beast
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning 2009 Foothill league Track and Field team championship my senior year after coming so close the year before (this included the legendary triple at the Canyon dual)
Saugus Nickname: Brando
High School PRs: 4:28 (1600m), 1:58 (800m), 9:28 (3200m), 15:29 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed at Saugus: 2005-2009
Favorite Quote: "No brain, no pain"
Advice to current Saugus runners: My advice would be to always show up with a positive attitude and ready to work hard because you get out what you put into the sport. Championships aren't just handed to you. Also to enjoy the ride because the moments you experience with your Saugus teammates in practice and on race day will be the ones you remember for there rest of your life.
BIO: Of all the great runners that have worn the Saugus "S", Katie Dunn got the most out of her ability. Not blessed with great running form, she instead worked and willed her way into becoming an elite runner. During her senior season she became All-CIF, All-State and All-American in Cross-Country with an amazing 5th place finish at NTN. Her legend only grew when she anchored the Saugus team to a then state record in the 4xmile with an unbelievable 4:53 (4:51 1600m) split. Because of her tenacity and every woman spirit, she was a fan and coach favorite all throughout California. The saying would go, "if Katie Dunn can run fast, so can I". After Saugus she led Glendale college to two team state championships as their #1 runner during her tenure.
Favorite Saugus run: Steady States
Favorite Saugus moment: 4xmile anchor leg at arcadia.
Saugus Nickname: Katie "the killa" Dunn
High School PRs: 4:51 (1600m), 2:18 (800m), 10:33 (3200m), 17:20 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed at Saugus: 2004-2008.
Advice to current Saugus runners: Listen to the coaches!! They know what they are talking about and believe in your ability, push yourself through pain. Your body can handle a lot more than our minds let us think.
BIO: Bozzy joined XC late as a junior. He first became a distance runner as a sophomore when he tried out for the team by running 6:00 for 1600m. By the end of the year he had run 4:56. But it wasn't until his senior year that he captained a culture of no excuses and led the winless Saugus boys team to their first league title in 9-years. Graduated from UC Irvine and now teaches English in Japan.
Favorite Saugus run: Lowe's Trail 10 mile tempo
Favorite Saugus moment: 3rd place individually at league, which helped Saugus Boys win first XC title in 9-years
Saugus Nickname: "Bozzy"
High School PRs: 4:41 (1600m), 2:13 (800m), 10:14 (3200m), 16:23 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed at Saugus: 2005-2007
Favorite Quote: Trevor Bolls saying, "if you're tired, run faster. "
Advice to current Saugus runners: Have faith in yourself and in the training you are given. Sometimes the fastest runner doesn't win; sometimes it's the runner with the stronger will, too stubborn to lose. I've seen people come from the bottom to become champions when no one, even themselves dreamed it possible. Run to win and crush your enemies, both internal and external. There is no greater feeling than victory: over your opponents and your preconceived limitations. Be a champion.
BOZZY ADDS: Super honored. Running changed my life for the better; it completely reshaped my mentality and outlook on life. I owe you a lot Rene Paragas, no matter how many big bear meals or coaching hours I put in, you and the sport made me a better man. A debt not easily repaid.
BIO: One of three Saugus athletes to win individual state championships and one of three Saugus athletes to score on four state championship teams. Every time she stepped on the course or track to race she had a good chance of winning. Carried the banner as the team's #1 runner through the first Saugus dynasty of 2007-2010, leading those teams to back-to-back runner-up national finishes. Probably the best competitor we've ever seen at Saugus.
Favorite Saugus run: Towsley!
Favorite Saugus moment: Standing on the podium with my team after placing 2nd at NXN (2008)- I had a fractured shin, but my face hurt more from smiling so big.
Saugus Nickname: "Mahoney" (boring) or "K-Money"
High School PRs: 4:54 (1600m), 2:17 (800m), 10:25 (3200m), 17:01 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2007-2011
Favorite quote: "Either way it's gonna hurt, so just run faster." - Paragas, before my first race
Advice to current Saugus runners: Eat a peanut butter sandwich two hours before your race, carry a ridiculously large water bottle around everywhere you go, love your body as it is (appreciate your strength), and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Running should be fun! Remind yourself that hard work pays off, give yourself a hug, and go buy some glitter tattoos.
BIO: Was recruited the first week of school her freshman year (tricked into joining). From there she blossomed into one of the toughest runners the school has ever seen helping to win multiple championships. Later she became the team captain of what is arguably the best Saugus squad to ever compete - the 2008 team.
Favorite Saugus run: The great wall
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning state as a team for the first time.
Saugus Nickname: "lightning bolt Molt"
High School PRs: 5:15 (1600m), 2:27 (800m), 11:39 (3200m), 18:05 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2005-2009
Favorite quote: "stare at the back of her head" -Linam
Advice to current Saugus runners: Never under estimate yourself. Set a goal and strive for it. You have it in you!
BIO: Todd Lewis single-handedly turned the Saugus Boys Cross-Country program around. Some of it with his feet, but mostly with his heart and leadership abilities. While a solid runner in his own right, it was his desire and commitment to the program that recruited a large portion of the team that would later win league titles. Moreover his enthusiasm made practice a little easier for everyone.
Favorite Saugus run: East Canyon
Favorite Saugus moment: Arrowhead/Big Bear Annually
Saugus Nickname: Rook, T-Lew, The Godfather
High School PRs: SLOW, don't put up, ha ha, I'll lose credibility
Years competed: 2004-2008
Favorite quote: "We'll wait for you" -- CP
Advice to current Saugus runners: Commit to the experience and it will teach you the dedication and discipline necessary to succeed in life.
BIO: The first of the running Frankian's to represent Saugus. Karis arrived on a team that already was one of the best in the country. She quickly made herself right at home becoming one of just three in state history to score on four straight state championship teams. As she evolved from key team member to team leader, she bridged the gap between the great Saugus runners of the past to a new generation of Saugus runners that were mentored by her leadership. Karis has since gone on to become a multiple time All-American at Master's College.
Favorite Saugus run: Agua Dulce or 9xCruise Intervals
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning state in '10 (5 in top 10) or in '11 (redemption after losing cif)
Saugus nickname: Silent Wolf (I was too quiet!)
High School PRs: 5:05 (1600m), 2:23 (800m), 10:31 (3200m), 17:06 (Mt. Sac)
Favorite quote: Ask yourself "Can I give more?" & the answer is usually "Yes!" ~Paul Tergat
Years competed: 2008-2012
Advice you would give to current Saugus runners: Time goes way faster than you think it will. Decide what you want to be good at & succeed in & give more than 100% in those categories. You won't regret it! & just enjoy every moment of every day! These are what makes your high school career so memorable!!
BIO: The addition of Amber Murakami to the Saugus XC team took the program to a whole new level. She was the first Saugus athlete to score on four straight team state championships and earn four births to NTN/ NXN. She gave the team the much needed depth to compete at the national level. More importantly she was a consistent tough trainer that elevated the Saugus Girls Varsity team's work ethic to legendary status. She was the team captain her senior season and ran her best races during championship season. After Saugus she continued her career at UCLA scoring as their #5 runner during her freshman season.
Favorite Saugus run: the IHOP breakfast loop - a challenging but rewarding long run
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning our very first team state championship in 2006!
Saugus nickname: Bam (Amberkami by CP)
High School PRs: 5:00 (1600m), 2:16 (800m), 10:47 (3200m), 17:38 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2006-2010
Favorite quote: "you cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back" -Pre
Advice to current Saugus runners: NEVER GIVE UP! Running is one of the most difficult sports in the world because you always have to overcome obstacles (physical AND mental). It doesn't matter how many times you face injuries or other difficulties, keep putting in the work and it will pay off. Oh and always listen to your coach; he knows what he's doing.
BIO: Nina Moore was originally a Basketball player that came out for Track as a junior. There she focused on sprints running the 400m in 64-seconds. During that season she was heavily recruited by Coach Paragas to run Cross-Country. After months of trying she finally agreed to run distance for her final year at Saugus and what a year it was. After intense summer training she came out guns blazing running 18:01 in her first race. She only got better earning All-CIF honors and breaking 18:00 at Mt. Sac three times that season, before finally helping the team to a 2nd place finish at nationals. In track she ran the 3rd leg on a team that set the then state record in the 4xmile. After Saugus she led Glendale college to a team state championship while claiming an individual state title herself. She also set the junior college course record at Mt. Sac that season, before finally transferring to run at Long Beach State.
Favorite Saugus run: “The beast” because it burned going up but it was so nice coming down.
Favorite Saugus moment: running at nationals and getting 2nd
Saugus Nickname: Nina Beana
High School PRs: 5:03 (1600m), 2:18 (800m), 10:49 (3200m), 17:55 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2007-2008
Favorite Quote: “Run Like you stole something”
Advice to current Saugus athletes: Be consistent, do the cool downs, drink water, train at the most elite level you can, love what you do and do not look back!
BIO: Baxter joined the Saugus distance teams as a sophomore at a time when the boys teams had experienced zero success. He quickly changed that with his hard charging finishes. For two straight years his sprint finish was feared and almost unbeatable culminating with two Foothill league titles at 1600m. All this was accomplished while playing high school and club soccer becoming the first viable multi-sport distance runner on the boys side. He matriculated over to UCSB where he ran for 4.5 years eventually earning scholarship status. Later he was featured prominently in the feature "McFarland" as the #1 man on the rival "private school" team. Today he helps train and mentor future Saugus greats and legends.
Favorite Saugus run: Loops at the top of the Grinder
Favorite Saugus moment: Tying for Varsity League Champions in Cross-Country my junior year (I don’t know if you can put this, but we took a crap in Canyon’s celebratory punch bowl that day)
High School PRs: 4:23 (1600), 2:03 (800) 16:12 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2005-2008 (started running my sophomore year)
Saugus Nickname: "Ken" by admirers
Advice you would give to current Saugus Runners: In this sport you get out of it what you put into it. Work hard, be dedicated, and have a reason for why you run.
BIO: Annie Randall joined the Cross-Country team from soccer. After dividing her time for 2-years, she broke out at the Clovis Inv her junior running a stunning 18:24. From there she continued to improve breaking 5:00 in the mile as a junior, while also helping Saugus win two state titles and countless invitationals throughout her career. She was a member of the state record 4xmile team as a junior and also ran on the then state record teams at Mt. Sac and Woodward Park. In track she helped Saugus to a CIF-SS title in 2009. After Saugus she competed for 4-years at Long Beach State before graduating in 2012.
Favorite Saugus run: Agua Dulce, Towsley
Favorite Saugus moment: Breaking 5 minutes in the mile for the first time, junior year at Trabuco Hills
High School PRs: 4:55 (1600), 2:16 (800), 10:39 (3200), 17:39 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2005-2009
Favorite Quote: "Remember where you come from and how you got there"
Saugus Nickname: Randall, Fanny Scandal
Advice to current Saugus runners: Cherish every moment you have as a Saugus runner because they will go by in a flash. It was the best time of my life and i'm sure it will be yours. You will never have an experience anywhere else like you will at Saugus. Stay committed, stay focused and don't miss practice! All those long runs, double and triple days and 6am workouts will truly pay off and lead to amazing PRs and accomplishments!
BIO: One of the first "built from scratch" Saugus distance running greats. Stephanie began her career as a swimmer and parlayed that fitness into distance running success after a year of training in the Saugus program. She stormed onto the scene her sophomore year, starring on 2008 squad, arguably the best Saugus team ever fielded. Her accomplishments while at Saugus are unmatched: a member of three state championship XC teams (twice all-state), scorer on the 2009 CIF-Champion track team (CIF 1600m champ in 2011), anchored the 4xmile state record setting team (2011), all the while being one of the top ranked academic students in her class. She matriculated to the University of Arizona where she took her running to unprecedented levels. She was the pivotal 5th scorer on the 2013 Arizona women's XC team that finished 2nd in the nation! A feat only equaled in the SCV by all-time Canyon great Lauren Fleshman (scored on 2002 Stanford runner-up team). Stephanie is currently in med school in Chicago.
Favorite Saugus run: the Long run
Favorite Saugus moment: Varsity girls trip to Big Bear High School (also the first summer bbq as a freshman when Merissa and I matched, we were such cool kids)
High School PRs: 4:47 (1600), 2:14 (800), 10:30 (3200m), 17:21 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2007-2011
Saugus Nickname: "Steph" or "Bolder-Bulder"
Advice to current Saugus runners: A Saugus runner always attacks the hill. BEARDOWN
BIO: Four out of the past five years the Saugus Boys Cross-Country team has finished top 3 in state, winning it all in 2013. That success was built on a bedrock of hard work, determination and confidence. What most people don't realize is that those qualities were instilled into the program by a group of young men back in 2006. The person that drove and personified that team was a young freshman named Alexander Nelson. Alec was without a doubt the hardest trainer we have ever had at Saugus. Willing to outwork anyone. His relentless drive to be great inspired and rubbed off on his teammates and the program as a whole (just ask the "Amigo de Cuatro"). Before his arrival the Saugus Boys Varsity teams had done no better than 5th in league. Once Alec was on the scene they won four straight league titles and placed 4th at CIF earning a birth to the State meet. The very next year they returned to finish 2nd at state, riding the legacy that Alec had set in motion and continues to this day.
Favorite Saugus run: Mexican Hat Trails
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning league Cross-Country 2006
High School PRs: 4:25 (1600), 2:05 (800), 9:29 (3200), 15:30 (Mt. Sac)
Years competed: 2006-2010
Saugus Nickname: "The Big Mazungo"
Nelson on his teammates: “These guys are crazy, They just go out there and fight. They don’t read the Web sites. They just go out there like maniacs. They just want to win. That’s all they know.”
BIO: "The one no one has ever heard of." The story is well known. Samantha Ortega was a self-described couch potato. Then by chance Jeff Hallman (her PE teacher) advised her she should join Cross-Country during her freshman year. Because it was so late in the year, Sam would run 2-miles a day by herself after school for about two weeks, before running her first Saugus race - a 9th place finish in the Girls Frosh-Soph race. That's were the legend begins. She would go on to win the Girls JV 3200m the following spring. Then when her team desperately needed a frontrunner in the Fall of 2012, she became one. Running an incredible 17:33 at the state meet to lead Saugus to a 7th straight state title. From there the accolades would pile up: All-State honors, All-CIF honors, 4xmile national leaders, All-American at Footlocker 2013, Beast record holder...But it was always her team that most concerned her. And in 2014, after losing the 2013 state meet by a mere 5-points, she led the "Redeem Team" to the school's 8th title in 9-years. Now at Arizona State, Samantha Ortega now plies her abilities in trying to bring another program to the top. Not with talent, but through hard work, heart and desire. Her trademark qualities.
Favorite Saugus run: THE BEAST
Favorite Saugus moment: Winning the state title back in 2014 - "the Redeem Team"
Saugus Nickname: Mamatega, Smortega, Sammy, Spam
High School Pr's: 4:53 (1600), 2:17 (800), 10:20 (3200), 16:47 (Mt. Sac), 40:30 (Beast)
Years Competed: 2011-2015
Favorite Quote: "A new day, a chance at redemption"
Advice to current Saugus runners: Work. Literally work your butt off every single day. And results will come. It's not going to be easy, and it will never get easy, but if you want to be great, and continue to be great, then work hard, on the track, at home, in school, and you'll find you can be successful in anything.