Cross Country History
Our girls' Cross Country program has had a tradition of success, winning six league titles (1988-1991, 1999, 2002), three CIF runner-up finishes (1993, 1999, 2002), two CIF champion titles (1995, 2003) and one state championship title (1993). 16 teams have advanced to the California State meet (1990/5th, 1993/State Champs, 1995/5th, 1998/4th, 1999/2nd, 2000/11th, 2002/6th, 2003/6th, 2005/10th, 2007/6th, 2008/11th, 2012/17th, 2018/11th). In addition, the Lady Eagles have had four runners finish in the top five at the state meet; Lori Mann was 2nd in 1998, Katie Nuanes was 3rd in 1996, and Meghan Mainwaring was 4th in 1998.
The boys' program owns four team league championships, eight league runner-up places, 16 C.I.F. appearances, 12 C.I.F Finals appearances which includes one C.I.F Championship, three second place finishes, one third place and one fourth place finish. Our trips to the State Meet number six for the team and six other appearances for individuals. There have been four individual C.I.F Champions in the history of the school, Michael Murray in 1994 & 1995, Steven Murray in 2000 & Mike Powers in 2002. In 2005 the Eagles had their first Orange County Champion when Julian de Rubira won the sweepstakes race in the time of 15:00. Julian also became the 3rd Orange County Runner of the Year, after the Murray brothers, Michael in 1995 & Steven in 2000. The Eagles nearly had their first Olympian when Ryan Martin '06 came within one place of making the London Olympics with his 4th place finish at the Olympic Trials.
Head Coach | Mike Powers '03
An Alumni of SMCHS, class of '03, Coach Powers was D3 OC Champion (15:04), Trinity League Champion, CIF SS champion (15:07 at Mt.SAC), and 5th at the State Championship (15:42) cross country. In track, he was Trinity League Champion in the 3200m with personal bests of 1:57 (800), 4:21 (1600) and 9:24 (3200). He went on to run at UCSB and majored in English Lit. There he ran 30:31 for 10k in cross country at the NCAA Wester Regional Championships and was named USCSB MVP and Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Athlete of the Year for cross country. In track, he excelled at the 3000m Steeple chase and was Big West Conference Champion, ran 8:48 at the NCAA Western Regional Championships earing him All Wester Region, and qualified for the D1 NCAA Championships where he finished as an All-American Steeplechaser. After college, he went on the run semi-professionally, finishing in the top 100 at the USATF XC Club Championships with a time of 30:59 in 2016. He also has personal bests of 14:29 in the 5k, 3:56 in the 1500m, 51:50 in the 10 mile.
Coach Powers has been coaching for eight years. He started at SMHS then went to El Toro before taking a break to go back to school to get his Masters in Education, followed by Portola HS and now back at SMHS where he is also a teacher. He has coached a number of talented athletes, most notably coaching Jason Engle (’13) to an SM school record in the 1600 with a time of 4:14. Jason went on to compete at the Air Force Academy. He hopes, through athletics, to instill the virtues of discipline, hard work, and sportsmanship, so that they can then apply these principles to their lives outside of sport. Coach Powers' philosophy approaches each athlete as an individual, hoping to help his students set and reach their athletic goals, resulting in a lifelong love of running and fitness.
Assistant Coach | Martin Dugard
Martin Dugard is among the most successful distance running coaches in Southern California. Prior to arriving at Santa Margarita in 2020 in search of a new coaching challenge, Coach Dugard served for fifteen years as Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at JSerra Catholic High School. There he transformed both programs from brand new entities into perennial state championship contenders. Coach Dugard's cross country squads hold the best record in Trinity League history, winning a combined thirteen team championships and twelve individual crowns. At the CIF level, his teams have recorded five team championships, three runners-up titles, and four individual champions. Coach Dugard's teams also excelled at the State level, winning three State Championships, one runner-up, and two third-place titles. In one remarkable streak between 2015 and 2019, his runners won four individual State championships. 2019 also marked the first time on the national stage for one of Coach Dugard's runners, which concluded with an All-American honor. In track and field, Coach Dugard has seen several runners break 4:11 (1600m) and 9:00 (3200m). His runners have gone on to top NCAA schools, including Navy, UCLA, Cal, Wake Forest, Gonzaga, and USC. Coach Dugard serves on the Board of Directors for the USA Track & Field Foundation, chairing the Olympic Developmental Program. He is also a member of the Southern Section CIF Advisory Committee. Outside of coaching, Mr. Dugard is an eight-time New York Times #1 bestselling author, writing books of history and the memoir, To Be A Runner. Coach Dugard is also a Fellow of Britain's Royal Geographical Society (FRGS). His personal competitive background includes NCAA racing for Northern Michigan University. He has also has run the Boston, New York and Los Angeles marathons, completed the legendary Raid Gauloises adventure race, and is co-holder of the around-the-world speed record, having flown from New York to New York in 31 hours and 28 minutes at twice the speed of sound aboard an Air France Concorde in 1996. Coach Dugard and his wife, Calene, have three sons and are long time residents of Rancho Santa Margarita.
Assistant Coach | Haley McHugh '14
Haley McHugh, an Alumni, class of 2014, is new to the Santa Margarita Cross Country team. During her time at SM she was on the Track and Field team, running the 400m, 800m and 4x400 relay. She held the records for the JV 400m, Varsity 4x400m relay and distance medley relay. After graduating SM, Haley went off to University of Oregon where she started running distance. She now works as a Pediatric Speech Therapist in Rancho Santa Margarita. She strives to be a great motivator for runners to push to be their absolute best in all situations on or off the race course.