The City Section cross-country prelims will be held Saturday at Pierce College, and one of the City’s best coaches, Jun Reichl of El Camino Real, is no longer with the Conquistadores.
One week before school began in August, Reichl walked away from his teaching and coaching jobs to return to school to pursue a PhD in neuroscience.
The former runner at Royal High and UCLA was hired in 2014, at age 24, as a science teacher at El Camino Real. He became the cross-country and track coach, and the rest is history. In 2017, he helped Justin Hazell become the first City Section boys’ runner to win the state Division I cross country title.
Stepping away from teaching and coaching to go back to college was a tough decision, Reichl said.
“It was a door I kept open,” he said. “I want to see where it takes me.”
He decided it was now or never.
“I still love coaching,” he said.
He can always return to coaching, but for now, he wants to explore neuroscience.
Vinnie Brascia, who was track coach at Eagle Rock, has taken over at El Camino Real. Like Reichl, he’s young and enthusiastic.
But make no mistake: The City Section has lost a great coach and teacher. Who knows? Maybe Reichl will go from being an outstanding coach to doing something outstanding in neuroscience.