Cuesta College cross country coach Brian Locher can add a new job title to his résumé with the Cougars.
Locher was named the Cougars’ track and field director after former coach Jani Johnson announced her departure from the position Tuesday. He will also remain cross country coach.
“I’m really excited,” Locher said. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a while, so I’m just ecstatic.”
Locher said that Johnson was told during last year’s track season that as a full-time faculty member, she would be given a reduced load, and that he knew the position may become available.
“Jani is phenomenal to work with,” said Locher, who has assisted Johnson with track and field since his arrival at Cuesta. “She takes suggestions well but is also a fantastic team leader. The team has always bonded very well together.”
Locher said that Johnson would remain at the school, continuing within the physical education department, and that she would remain with the team in at least a limited capacity.
“We’ve got some pretty lofty goals,” Locher said. “I’d love to make a big bang in my first season.”
Locher inherits a team that has yet to finish better than third in the Western State Conference on the men’s side and a women’s side that has had issues in recent years.
“I think the men will have a chance at a conference title, if not second place,” Locher said. “Our women can do better as well. We’ve struggled but had some great individual women.
“We’re looking to have a bigger team this year with more depth.”
Locher said he hopes to build more rapport with local high school coaches in an attempt to draw more athletes to Cuesta.
“I want to attend more area practices to continue outreach with the coaches and meet some of the students,” Locher said. “Jani did a good job of building a foundation with the athletes around her.”
Mustangs add two for next season
The Cal Poly women’s basketball team signed guards Jasmine Harris and Kristen Ale to national letters of intent.
Harris, a 5-foot-9 guard from Thomson High in Scarborough, Canada, has scored 20 or more points in 11 games this year, including a 31-point outburst against Wasterdown.
As a junior, Harris led Thomson to an undefeated regular season, including the city and regional championships.
She was selected to the Toronto Star East Regional All-Star Team in 2009.
Ale, a 5-7 guard from Bishop Montgomery of Carson, averaged 10.6 points, three rebounds and two assists per game as a member of the Del Rey League first team.
Ale was named to the CIF-Southern Section team as Bishop Montgomery (28-9) advanced to the Division 4 championship game.
Zamora leads Cal Poly’s conference selections
Senior forward David Zamora became the first player in school history to earn four-time all-Big West Conference honors after he was named to the conference’s first team.
Zamora leaves Cal Poly as the school’s all-time leader in points (64) and appearances (79). He is tied for the most goals in school history with 25 and is third with 12 assists and 68 starts.
Joining Zamora on the first team was junior center back Patrick Sigler, who collected his third all-conference honor. He scored the game-winning goal against UC Riverside on Oct. 2.
Midfielder Junior Burgos, defender Wes Feighner and goalkeeper Patrick McClain were named to the all-conference second team while forward Chris Gaschen earned honorable mention.
The Mustangs (8-7-3, 5-3-2) finished third in the Big West, but were not invited to participate in the NCAA Tournament despite a 3-3-1 record against other tournament teams.