Now the mentor has taken the baton from the teacher.

Chris Galindo is the new Lodi High boys and girls cross-country coach. He takes over for Greg Wright, who stepped down but remains as an assistant coach. Wright ran the program from 2000 until he stepped down last spring.

“I was a former athlete of Greg’s,” said Galindo, who is a 2003 Lodi High graduate. “I’ve known him for quite a while.”

Galindo, who teaches science and physics at Lodi High, was one of Wright’s assistant coaches for the last two years.

Entering this new season, Galindo is looking to keep tradition going in the Flames’ program. The Lodi girls have won 16 consecutive league titles that include the last five Tri-City Athletic League, and the Lodi boys have always been in the chase for the TCAL title in recent years.

On Wednesday, both squads held a light workout at Lodi Lake on Wednesday. The heat in the Valley played a role in keeping the practice minimal.

“We don’t want to overexert the guys, but we still want to get in our miles,” Galindo said. “Working on form running, making sure that their knees are high and the race that they are having next week.”

That race is the annual Flame Invitational, which will take place at Lodi Lake on Friday, Aug. 23. There are 32 schools that are projected to be at the invitational.

“This is our gauge to see how we’re going to do,” Galindo said.

Building the core of the fitness in the runners will continue to increase as the season gets running into place, Galindo noted. That include workouts from flatlands to hills. A trip to Lake Tahoe when the runners are on their two-week break after the first nine weeks of the school year, which will be in mid-September, is also on the agenda.

“Being in Lodi, we don’t have that many hills,” Galindo said. “During our two-week break, we don’t have a meet scheduled. So that’s when we’re (going to Lake Tahoe) when the kids can have some time we can get away for the weekend, not worry about school, and train really hard.”

As a former runner under Wright, Galindo wants his Flame runners to experience different situations as it was during Wright’s tenure.

“Being behind Greg, you don’t want to change with what’s working,” said Galindo of Wright. “You take everything he says as gold because he’s successful and you can’t argue how successful he has been.”

Some of Galindo’s top boys runners back this season are Lucas Fonda, who was the lone Flame who advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships last November. Returning for the girls are Pamela Decko, Paris Heiser, Frida Rodriguez, Yasmin Melendrez and Audrey Garcia, all of whom advanced to the section’s championships last year.

Contact Mike Bush at mikeb@lodinews.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.

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