As good as Jordan Hasay’s high school career was, Armando Siqueiros was always more concerned about her future, he said.
That foresight earned the Mission Prep cross country and track assistant coach the national Developmental Coach of the Year award presented annually by USA Track and Field. He’ll be honored before the Royals’ varsity boys basketball game against Renaissance Academy of La Cañada at 7:30 tonight.
“I’m honored the governing body of track and field chose to recognize me,” Siqueiros said. “I’ve been so lucky. I was very, very lucky that an athlete of Jordan’s caliber showed up at my door, and I was also lucky that the high school, the administration and the athletic department allowed me the leeway to do what I thought I needed to do (as a coach).
“They allowed me to take Jordan to this race and that race, and to make the moves that we needed to make to help Jordan develop.”
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Hasay — recently named the eighth-best high school athlete of the 2000s by ESPN Rise Magazine — set 10 national high school records for the Royals before beginning her career at the University of Oregon this past fall.
As a senior in 2009, she became the first four-time California state champion in the 3,200 meters, and the second four-time cross country champion in state history on her way to being named the SI.com national High School Girls Athlete of the Year. Of course, all the records and accolades were nice, Siqueiros said, but they were achieved operating under a cautious schedule crafted to not over-train or over-race her, risking burnout.
“The measure of my success as her high school coach will be in how well she’s doing 10 years from now,” Siqueiros said.
That plan already seems to be paying off at Oregon. In late January, Hasay won the indoor mile at the Texas A&M Challenge in 4 minutes, 38.48 seconds — the second-best time in Oregon history. That came after she ran the 1,200-meter portion of the distance medley relay in 3:21.49, a split that helped the Ducks clock the fifth-fastest women’s distance medley relay time in collegiate history.
In cross country, which Hasay intends to use as a primer for track, she was named the Pac-10 Conference Women’s Newcomer of the Year, finishing third as a freshman (18th overall) at the national championships en route to All-American honors.
“One of the things people recognize in the coaching community is how thoughtful and sensitive Armando was to looking at the big picture for Jordan,” USA Track and Field director of coaching Terry Crawford said.
“It was to make sure she not only achieved her goals in high school but that she’d be in a position to continue to develop and avoid some of the pitfalls of many young athletes.”
Siqueiros, a doctor who maintains a solo internal medicine practice in San Luis Obispo, graduated from Watsonville High before moving on to earn his medical degree at UC Irvine. Hasay remembers him always having an upbeat attitude, even after long, stressful days at his medical practice.
“He didn’t just focus on helping us with running,” she said. “He focused on teaching us how to apply the lessons in our lives — to academics and other areas.”
Siqueiros moved to the Central Coast in 1992, taking up coaching at Mission Prep a year before Hasay, an Arroyo Grande native, entered the school. Crawford had the opportunity to gain a first-hand understanding of Siqueiros’ guidance of Hasay while serving as the director of the Cal Poly track and field program until this past offseason.
“There was a certain chemistry and respect between them,” Crawford said. “You could see there was a very sophisticated, year-by-year plan carefully put together for her (to steadily improve).”
Hasay hasn’t been the only Royals star on his watch. Annie Mooney, a junior for Mission Prep, came in third at the state cross country championships this past November, taking 13 seconds off her second-place sophomore time at the same meet. Mooney, who was the state runner-up to Hasay in both her freshman and sophomore seasons, will also likely find herself courted by a number of Division I programs next year, Siqueiros said.
“I think it’s definitely a great honor for him,” Hasay said of the award. “He deserves every bit of it. He’s not only developmental with me but also with other athletes.”