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Running for a cause: Claudia Terrones, Lompoc High's athletic director, to cover 360 miles, one for each of her school's athletes

Running for a cause: Claudia Terrones, Lompoc High's athletic director, to cover 360 miles, one for each of her school's athletes

One day after receiving some sobering news, veteran Lompoc High School Athletic Director Claudia Terrones, an avid runner, went on her usual 6-mile run.

Only this time, “It felt different,” she said. “I was going about it a different way.”

On that July 4 run, “I decided I would run a mile for each of my athletes,” during her runs, Terrones said.

Terrones made that decision the morning after she found out the previous evening that, because of a spike in COVID-19 cases countywide, high school athletes in the Lompoc Unified School District would not be returning to campus July 6 for summer workouts as planned.

“I’m up to mile 75,” she said. “I’m going to run a mile for all of our 360 athletes.”

Besides being the school’s athletic director, Terrones is also the longtime Lompoc girls basketball, and track coach.

“The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I identify with our athletes from the mental aspect. This has been hard. I’m doing this to give them the message, ‘We haven’t forgotten you,’” she said.

For weeks, Terrones said, she, district administrator Paul Bommersbach and Cabrillo High School Athletic Director Gary West collaborated on a plan to present to LUSD Superintendent Trevor McDonald concerning the return of athletes to campus.

Then, less than 72 hours before the athletes were to return, those plans were scuttled.

In the media poll, Montana received eight first-place votes, Montana State six and Eastern Washington and UC Davis one each. In the head coaches poll, Montana earned three first-place votes and Montana State, Eastern Washington and Sacramento State one each. Cal Poly, under new head coach Beau Baldwin, is scheduled to open its 2020 season Sept. 5 at ULM (formerly Louisiana-Monroe).

“It was a blow, but in that situation you can either sit back and do nothing, or you can decide you’re going to do something,” Terrones said.

Terrones decided to do something, running a mile for each of her athletes.

She said she has used the school's athletics Facebook page to promote the project.

“My family and the coaches have helped with this,” she said.

“(Before each run) there’s an announcement on the page which athletes I’m running for. There is a quote of the day, and the announcement on the page always ends with, “Stay strong, Lompoc #wegotthis.”

Terrones said, “My daughter, Tara, 12, helps select the quote of the day. My daughter, Tessa, 9, will hold (the page image) while I’m making the announcement.”

A big plus through all of this Terrones said, is, “We live in an awesome community.”

Terrones said that when the Facebook page promoting her running project was launched, “My video reached over 2,000 people. People liked it (on Facebook), then people shared it.

“It reached a lot of people, not just parents. The parents would go on to say, ‘thank you for not forgetting us.’ I feel good about their attitude.“ When she, West and Bommersbach submitted their plan for athletes’ return to campus, said Terrones, “We had it all down.

“We had all the (players’) bags ready, we had the forms for the kids to fill out, we had the workout pods for the athletes set.”

Those plans did not come to pass July 6 but, Terrones said, the trio’s efforts were not a total loss.

When high school sports in California do return, “We’ll be ready,” said Terrones.

“I’ve got our football calendar done, and I’ve pretty much got our cross country calendar done.”

Under the return plan the CIF announced, the season opener for most fall sports, including football, will be in January.


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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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