September 25, 2013
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – If you know The Master’s College cross country and track and field head coach Zach Schroeder, you’d be able to attest that he has a good head on his shoulders when it comes to running.
In the seven years he’s been at the helm of the Mustangs’ running programs, Schroeder has assembled multiple cross country conference championships, produced countless All-American athletes, and created a culture of excellence in the five teams he oversees.
More recently, Schroeder’s impact on the running community has reached beyond the friendly confines of The Master’s College as the multi-sport head coach has brought three annual running events to the Santa Clarita Valley: The Mustang Challenge, The Placerita Canyon Holiday 5k, and beginning in 2013, The Master’s College Community 5k.
Last Saturday, the squad’s second annual home meet, The Mustang Challenge, and the first-annual Master’s College Community 5k, played a focal point in the Santa Clarita Valley running community where an estimated crowd of over 900 spectators and competitors gathered at Central Park to partake in the day’s festivities.
At 7:15 a.m., the community 5k started things off when a field of 86 runners, consisting mainly of students, faculty, staff, and alumni of The Master’s College, toed the line. Notably, all entry proceeds went to The Master’s College cross country and track programs. 18 minutes and 3.2 seconds later, Matt Rose (Rosamond, CA) crossed the finish line as the winner of the inaugural community 5k.
“Running in races like these are enjoyable because I get to meet new people and run against a new field of competition,” commented Rose shortly after finishing. “These events bring me joy. Nothing else matters when I’m competing. I love it.”
Fortunately, Rose’s experience was just what Schroeder had hoped while planning Saturday’s events.
“We were really excited for the first year of The Master’s College Community 5k,” commented Schroeder. “Our hope was to give the TMC community a chance to interact with the greater Santa Clarita Valley. We enjoyed seeing so many TMC alumni, staff, and friends come out and support the program by competing in the 5k and then sticking around and supporting the other races.”
Immediately after the community 5k, The Master’s College men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the second annual Mustang Challenge. Hannah Kellerman (Sartell, MN) placed first in 17:49.76 in the women’s 5k collegiate open race, while John Hurd (Fairvew, PA) represented TMC as the first Mustang runner to finish in the men’s 8k in 25:35.34.
“We’re hoping that this can be a standard part of what we offer the community on a yearly basis,” Schroeder further commented. “From here on out, we plan to host The Master’s College Community 5k and The Mustang Challenge on the third Saturday of September so the community can enjoy a quality running event here in Santa Clarita.”
And even though it’s almost a full year until the next Master’s College Community 5k/Mustang Challenge combo, runners can look forward to December 28th when Schroeder already has plans to host the squad’s annual Placerita Canyon Holiday 5k at The Master’s College.
“We’re looking to bolster the number of running events in Santa Clarita,” said Schroeder. “Each last weekend of December we host the Holiday 5k on the campus of The Master’s College. This is another great opportunity where the community can see what athletics at The Master’s College looks like.”
But between now and the Holiday 5k, Schroeder’s main focus will be grooming his collegiate runners to continue to compete with excellence. This Saturday, September 28, the Mustangs will travel north to compete at the prestigious Stanford Invitational.