Earlier today, Big Bear TC posted a video on Instagram. In the video, Sean Brosnan, the former head coach of high school powerhouse Newbury Park, is found explaining that he will be joining the UCLA Bruins as the team's newest cross country and distance coach.
UCLA has since confirmed the hiring.
The Newbury Park Panthers are coming off of the most historic academic year of performances that a boy's high school distance program has ever had.
At the 2021 RunningLane XC National Championships, Newbury Park swept the top-three spots and put four boys in the top-six positions. They would end up dominating their competition, scoring a mere 29 points.
The 2nd place team, Cheyenne Mountain, finished with 121 points.
On the track, incoming Northern Arizona freshman, Colin Sahlman, would go on to run 1:48 (800), 3:39 (1500), 3:56 (mile) and 8:33 (3200). Lex Young would run 4:01 (mile), 7:57 (3k) and 8:35 (3200) as well as 13:43 (5k track). Leo Young ran 4:00 (mile) and 8:39 (3200). Aaron Sahlman posted times of 1:48 (800), 4:01 (mile) and 8:01 (3k).
The boys at Newbury Park were also responsible for producing current NCAA megastar Nico Young who left the high school scene as one of the best distance runners in prep history. He is now consistently in the national title conversation with NAU at the collegiate level.
Other names such as Colorado Mines commit Daniel Appleford (8:52 for 3200 meters) and current Colorado Buffalo Jace Aschbrenner (13:52 for 5000 meters) generated headlines while they were in high school.
The Newbury Park girls have also had plenty of national-caliber success in their own right.
Last fall, the Panthers placed 9th as a team at the 2021 RunningLane XC National Championships. The girls team also placed 17th at the 2019 NXN Championships.
Alabama commit Samantha McDonnell has run 10:12 for 3200 meters and finished 6th at the 2021 RunningLane XC National Championships. Meanwhile, current Adams State runner Fiona Hawkins is a two-time D2 All-American after just one year in the NCAA circuit.
Earlier this year, the Newbury Park girls also held the 4x1600 meter relay outdoor national record of 19:48...until Saratoga Springs broke that record a week later.
The examples are endless.
In recent years, the UCLA men and women have struggled to remain competitive in the always-loaded PAC-12, at least when it comes to the distance events. Their men's team had a legitimate shot of qualifying for the cross country national meet in 2019, but a surprise back injury to top scorer Robert Brandt (now with Under Armour) ultimately forced the Bruins to end their season early.
It should also be noted that UCLA, along with across-town rival USC, will be venturing to the BIG 10 in the near future. Once there, the competition in the longer distances won't get any easier.
But now UCLA has one of the most recognizable coaching names in the country leading their program. And over the long-term, that star power could yield promising results.
With a recognizable and highly accomplished name like Sean Brosnan now overseeing UCLA's distance groups, top high school recruits who are familiar with Brosnan could flock to Los Angeles in hopes of training under the former leader of Newbury Park.
There is, of course, one more caveat to consider.
With recruiting season just around the corner, all of the national attention will now turn to Newbury Park's rising senior stars: Aaron Sahlman, Lex Young and Leo Young.
With UCLA only an hour away from Newbury Park High School, could one (or all) of these three distance stars opt to follow their former high school coach and join the Bruins?
That's only speculation, but that possibility seems far more realistic than it was 24 hours ago...