Running helped her make a teacher

DBHS Spanish teacher Kruger was on the cross-country and track team at Irvine High School.

Stacy Kruger competed at cross-country invitationals including Mt. SAC.

Photo courtesy of Stacy Kruger

Stacy Kruger competed at cross-country invitationals including Mt. SAC.

It was on the high school cross country team that Stacy Kruger was inspired to start her journey to becoming a Spanish teacher.

The Diamond Bar High School language instructor competed in cross country for three years at Irvine High School in the graduating class of 2006, changing her as a person and also made her more outgoing in her community.

“I was more of a shy person so [cross country] helped me to open up, and our team was a very small group but it tightened [our relationships] so it was very supportive, having a strong sense of a community,” Kruger said.

When she first joined the cross country team, she did not have an actual coach until her coach came to her school in 2002. Kruger’s cross country coach became her main inspiration to teach Spanish.

“My Spanish teacher was also my cross country coach, and he was one of my teachers that made learning Spanish fun,” Kruger said via email. “2002 was when my coach, Randy Rossi, returned to Irvine High School from Northwood High School and he influenced my decision to a certain degree to pursue a major in Spanish at college.”

Because most of Kruger’s family played water polo, she tried out for water polo first, but found that it was not her passion.

Kruger then became the first person in her family to join the cross country team after she discovered her enjoyment for running.

“I was originally going to do water polo two summers before I was in a water polo camp,” Kruger said. “But then I discovered that the sport wasn’t really for me and I really liked running in middle school so I decided to pursue with that instead.”

Kruger lettered twice in the sport and competed on varsity for two seasons. She also recalls memories of her team placing third in a competition at Mt. San Antonio College during her first year of cross country.

Additionally, Kruger ran the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter cross country events in varsity. These events were common for long distance runners.

“In preparation for this race, we trained at Peters Canyon Regional Park as it is very hilly like the Mt. SAC course,” Kruger said via email. “We would train there every Friday during the summer and periodically during the actual season and I believe that the races were separated by grade level, so we were ninth graders, and it was our first time running the course.”

Kruger also added that she had many unforgettable interactions with her teammates while participating in cross country which made her high school years the most memorable.

“I liked the team aspect of the sport and also the idea of being able to challenge yourself and to improve from it,” Kruger said.

Although she enjoyed the sport, Kruger also admits that there were a few challenges that she came across while competing.

“My cross country coach told us that running was 99 percent mental and one percent physical,” Kruger said. “So sometimes for me I would always push myself and practice, and sometimes I psych myself out in the races and not be able to push myself to the limit, so that would be a little frustrating at times.”

Since graduating from high school, the Spanish teacher shared that she still enjoys running and runs whenever she has free time available.