HS-Track & Field
HEAD COACH: KARIN HANSEN
Coach Hansen's involvement in competitive running followed a somewhat unorthodox path: although she played basketball throughout elementary school, high school sports didn't much interest her and she graduated from Clovis High School in 2001 having never run more than a mile at a time. Once in college, Karin decided on a whim to try out for the track team and never looked back. Hansen credits strong personal drive and supportive coaching with her collegiate and post-collegiate successes, which include a Coach's Award, a 4:45 1500 best, and three international Corporate Challenge Championships.
Karin describes her coaching demeanor as thoughtful, encouraging and extremely detail-oriented. Students can expect her to be honest and hardworking; she believes that coaches as well as athletes should never stop trying to better themselves. Of her coaching philosophy, Hansen says:
"In order to succeed, you have to dream big. You have to nurture within yourself a positive feedback loop that dispels doubts and transforms criticism into motivation. But it's not enough to turn that on at the end of a race; the will to win must be ever-present in an athlete's mind. Long before the championship meet or even the first day of practice, the truly great runner prepares for his or her moment of glory in the most mundane of ways: by training consistently even when no one is watching. I feel strongly that competitive running is about the closest you can get to a real meritocracy, in sports or in life. This sport gives back what an athlete puts into it; and when you see someone succeed in running, you are witnessing true grit."
In her free time, Coach Karin enjoys cooking, eating, trail running and unearthing house and techno gems from past, present and future.
ASSISTANT COACH: ANDREA ESQUIVEL
This San Francisco native has been logging miles in Golden Gate Park and along Ocean Beach since the spry age of 12 but did not begin competing in cross country until her senior year at Balboa High School. Following graduation, Andrea attended City College of San Francisco where she joined cross country and track, competing in the 800,1500 and 5k. Andrea has competed internationally and continues to compete in local races.
Ever fascinated with the physical feats that the human body can achieve, Andrea pursues an education in Kinesiology with plans to attend graduate school for physical therapy. With this knowledge, she plans to open a training facility for recovering athletes and to establish a community running club for young girls.
Andrea attributes her love of the sport to her XC coaches whose vitalizing personalities influenced her greatly. She hopes to educate young athletes on the various elements of running and to awaken their passion for sport. Andrea accounts that running has given her the mental strength that has carried over into all aspects her of life. Some fall in love with the edge and thrill of racing but for Andrea, it's the grit and mental battle that keep her going mile after mile.
When not running or studying Andrea enjoys hiking with her dog, fruit hunting at farmer's markets and listening to podcasts. This will be Andrea's first year as assistant coach.
Bay Area born and raised, Michael Neal Jr. extended his athletic dominance at the youth and high school level by playing one season at City College of San Francisco, winning a state title with the rams before earning a scholarship to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. At Kearney, he was a two-time all-conference defensive back and named an All-American for the Lopers.
After graduating from The University of Nebraska at Kearney with a double BA in Sports Administration and Business Management, with a minor in Marketing, Mike was hired full time as a sports performance and speed coach at Gamespeed. Three years later, after years of tutelage from Aaron Thigpen, Michael found himself starting Real Neal Football. In 2012 Mike went out on his own with Real Neal Sports, a complete performance training business geared to all sports and all fitness levels. He was then hired by International High School in San Francisco as the sole performance trainer for all student-athletes.
He conceptualized and incorporated into the curriculum a comprehensive fitness and training program. He organized and conducted all aspects of conditioning and training for student-athletes.
Michael has been blessed to have many great coaches, trainers and mentors to help him build himself into a very knowledgeable performance trainer and is ready to teach his player/athlete what it takes to mentally and physically be successful.
Mike holds multiple certifications, has worked with countless clubs, youth, collegiate and professional groups, and he continues to educate himself on the importance of the human body.