Athlete of the Issue: Sid Bagga

Senior Sid Bagga, donning the number 342, pushes ahead of his opponent.

Senior Sid Bagga, donning the number 342, pushes ahead of his opponent.

Kaitlin Fenn and Maddie Geary, Sports Editor, Staff Writer

Oftentimes, cross country is regarded as not much of a team sport because members of the team are essentially competing against one another. What many people fail to realize though, is that a good cross country runner is not only competitive with his or her teammates, but also encouraging. Accomplishing these two attributes can be very difficult because they are polar opposites. However, Sid Bagga ‘15 has proven to be not only a wonderful teammate and leader, but also a spectacular competitor. Additionally, his story as to how he has become so successful at a sport he only started freshman year is peculiarly intriguing…

“I was fat and slow freshman year,” Bagga said. “And I decided to join cross country.”

But despite his decision to emark on this new endevour, Bagga was lazy and skipped practice, and as a consequence, was kicked off the team. After begging to get back on the team and succeeding, he decided to start putting in the hard work needed to be successful in the sport. His hard work the rest of his freshman season turned into what is now his fourth year on the team, his second on the varsity squad, and his earned title of captain.

In addition to being a member of the cross country team, Bagga runs for the track team as well, but prefers cross country because he is better at long distance running and likes “running free” rather than on a track.

Running is not as easy as it seems though. The varsity teams for cross country and track train year-round besides a couple two-week breaks, one after track season in June, and one after cross country in December.

“We do mileage training during preseason, peaking at about 70 miles a week, which is 11.5 miles a day,” Bagga said.

Although the first few weeks of training in the beginning always feel like hell, according to Bagga, once you get into the rhythm of it, every run turns into a rewarding experience. Another experience he advocates for is the post-run dip into a lovely bucket of freezing cold water.

“I am extremely pro-ice bath,” he said. “There’s no bonding experience better than submerging your half-naked body into a trashcan full of 20-degree water with a teammate. In all seriousness, ice bathing is a great test of guts, and it has a lot of physiological benefits.”

Over the past few years of his running career, Bagga has grown to idolize a 1970s runner, Steve Prefontaine. “I like the way Steve runs by putting his all into a race,” Bagga said. “Also, his moustache is godly.”

He has tried to model Prefontaine’s running by giving every race his best effort, which has payed off. Bagga’s personal record in the mile is four minutes and 40 seconds, which, according to him, is not even that fast. His best three mile time is around 16 minutes, good enough to land him on the Diablo Foothill Athletic League’s Second Team All-League. “I was disappointed. I was really hoping for first team, and I was very close to it. It’s fine though, at least I’m on track to get it this year.”

Bagga loves cross country for multiple reasons. “I got to join a team that is a very close family that I feel like I am a part of,” he said. “I also like the team aspect, but the individual competition too. You’re trying to beat your teammates and get the best time you can, but you also all need to support each other because the top five runners on your team score.”

Running gave Bagga a passion to devote himself to in high school, and also made him more fit. Now he looks to the next step in his life, college, where he hopes he can further pursue that passion. “I would love to run cross country and track in college,” Bagga said. “While I haven’t committed yet I’ve talked to a couple of coaches, such as the UC Davis and Bowdoin coaches, about possibly joining their collegiate programs.”