In his Glory Days: Brian Wiencek

The DBHS math teacher started off running up and down hills with his cross country team. After running became too taxing on his feet, Wiencek started biking.

Tess Guan, Web Editor

Calculating the curves of graphs isn’t Diamond Bar High School math teacher Brian Wiencek’s first experience with slopes, as the calculus teacher has previously participated in cycling and cross country events.

As a sophomore at Orange High School, Wiencek was required to take the Presidential Fitness Test, which includes how far they could run in six minutes. The cross country coach was impressed by the distance Wiencek was able to run and asked him to join the team. His best meet mile time while in high school was 4:50, and in track, which he ran the 800 meters race in, was 2:00.9.

Wiencek would then spend his high school and college years participating in cross country and track events.

“I’d get up and run with the coach Monday, Wednesday, and Friday before school,” Wiencek said. “I’d get up at 5 a.m., run five to eight miles with the coach, and do the same workout with everyone else after school.”

Wiencek ran for Santa Ana Junior College, where his team won the state championship, and Cal State Fullerton. He managed to beat his best high school mile time by 20 seconds during college.

“I helped contribute in effort than in points. I was the barometer of how hard everyone was working; I worked out hard every workout and unfortunately for me, the guys who were the top seven varsity runners, all had considerably more talent than me–three of them ended up being world class and two ended up being Olympians,” he said.

The team would go on workouts together, using Wiencek to judge whether they were working hard enough.

“If I was still close to them, they realized they weren’t working to their potential, so they knew they were working hard when they could drop me from the workout. Because I drove them to that, they worked out hard and they were able to become state champions,” Wiencek said.

In a 1990 race at Cal State Northridge, Wiencek had the experience of running with Olympic gold medalist Noureddine Morceli.

Although he placed tenth, the coach was impressed with Wiencek’s effort, awarding him the same awards given to the top seven runners.

Besides competitive running in school, Wiencek has also participated in two marathons, the Big Sur Marathon and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

After college, Wiencek began cycling for fun, since he began having foot issues, preventing him from running competitively. He has participated in multiple non-competitive cycling events, biking from the Canadian border to Huntington Beach in 2000 and biking from the San Francisco Bay to Kansas City in 2002.

Taking a break from the sport, Wiencek began coaching cross country and track at Cal State Fullerton for the women’s team; his first coaching job for a high school team was at Los Amigos High School. Despite his foot injuries, he would run with the team during practices. His positions varied from assistant coach to head coach. He coached for 19 years, stopping in 2011, when he had the nerves removed. He plans to run and cycle again soon.

Throughout his running career, Wiencek has participated in several events; his most memorable  experience was the Azusa Meet of Champions event, which he ran during his time at Cal State Fullerton.

“I was running the 500 meters on the track, and I heard the announcer say, ‘okay so today’s featured event of the day…’ and he named off people in this event, ‘the silver medalist from the Olympics, the Kenyan national champion… and Brian Wiencek from Cal State Fullerton.’ Basically I raced against a world class field, and I was not a world class runner.”