New Cross Country Coach at Trinidad State has familiar last name
Valley Campus / February 10, 2016 / Written by Greg Boyce
For the first time Trinidad State will have student athletes at its Alamosa Campus starting in the fall. Trinidad State Athletic Director Mike Salbato announced Monday the appointment of Lauren Martin, a highly decorated runner from Adams State University, as the new cross country coach at Trinidad State. She’s a two-time individual national champion in 5,000 and 10,000 meter races and is an 8-time All American who graduated from Adams State in 2014. She’s also the daughter of Damon Martin, the acclaimed director of Cross Country and Track & Field at Adams State.
“This is a first for us, and a little unusual in the athletic world,” said Trinidad State President Dr. Carmen Simone. “We will have a group of student athletes on the Alamosa Campus, and another group on the Trinidad Campus. They will train separately, but compete as one team. And to get someone with the running experience and background of Lauren Martin as our coach is very exciting. Both groups will benefit greatly from her expertise.”
Martin will start work at Trinidad State in a few days, but she’s already preparing. “We’re getting a little late start, which is a little nerve wracking, but I’ve already compiled a list of about 50 men and 50 women who I’m going to call,” said Martin. “I look forward to recruiting because I like to share my passion.”
"Alamosa is one of the greatest training grounds for runners in the entire country, which is evident by the amazing success the Grizzly programs have had over the years,” said Salbato. Both Trinidad State campuses are well above a mile high. Trinidad sits at 6,025 feet, while Alamosa is 7,543 feet above sea level. “It will be interesting to see how successful we can be training at that altitude.” Salbato noted Trinidad State had success in women’s cross country in the late 1990s with two top-ten finishes in the nation before the program was discontinued.
It’s obvious Martin knows the right balance for high altitude training, after running for years in the San Luis Valley competitively as well as directing a large summer cross country camp in Alamosa for the last three summers. “Altitude is a double-edged sword. It is one of the best benefits in the entire country. It helps build red blood cells, a bunch of physical things and also psychological things, but it’s also a negative, if kids don’t listen to the training plan,” said Martin. “They get excited and motivated and if they work a little too hard then the altitude affects them extremely negatively. So it’s learning the fine balance between the two. Your body breaks down a lot faster at high altitude. You have to spend more time recovering.”
Her understanding of the nuances of high altitude training belies her young age. “Fatigue at altitude is a real thing and as soon as it becomes a real thing, then it becomes a mental thing,” noted Martin. “Once you get tired and you’re breathing harder than anybody else, mentally you start to second guess everything.”
These are lessons learned not only from countless miles of running, but also from the coaching of her father, a resource she’ll use in her new job. “I think working with my dad is a great plus. In my opinion he’s one of the best coaches in the entire country and so being able to work with him is a great advantage,” said Martin. “I think even being in the same city as them (Adams State) is a benefit. There’s so much rich history with cross country in the San Luis Valley and I think Trinidad can add to that.”
Martin will spend most of her time in Alamosa, but will have coaching help on the other side of La Veta Pass for the team members who will train in Trinidad.
“Her love for the City of Alamosa, and her positive outlook on what a strong athletic program can bring to a school and a community really cemented her as the top candidate in my eyes,” Salbato said of Martin. “She has a great deal of experience as a top caliber athlete and with running the massive summer camps at Adams State, so we are excited to see her bring that knowledge over to TSJC. Also, she knows the importance dedication to academics and positive community outreach plays in the life of a student-athlete."
"The Athletic programs at TSJC continue to be a strong part of campus life in Trinidad so it will be great to finally take the Trojan mascot over to the Valley Campus,” said Salbato.