Who are the Shafter Striders?
The Shafter Striders are a youth cross-country team that was started back in 1989-1990. The program was started by Terry Lewis, who wanted to help improve the High School cross-country program. He made several offers to help the High School cross-country and track teams, but was turned away each time.
Lewis decided to start a program that would introduce the younger kids to cross-country, hoping they would continue running and, eventually, improve the High School program. After posting an ad for a no-cost running program in the Shafter Press, he received many calls. A few practices later, he came up with the name “Shafter Striders”.
In 1993, Lewis was offered a coaching position in Shafter High’s cross country and track teams. He did both for a year, but quickly realized it was too much. He then handed the program over to other coaches and to this date is still involved with the High School teams, with great success! As the years went by some coaches would leave and new ones would take over. We hope to keep this tradition alive.
While Shafter Recreation was only able to provide insurance & liability coverage at one point, now we are able to offer much more. Just last year, for example, SRPD joined forces in an effort to create a low-cost program that is available to children from 4 years old to 8th grade.
The program would not be what it is today without the guidance and influence of all the previous coaches: Terri Lewis, along with Rick Gonzales, Daniel Cruz, Joni Lewis, Robert Waters, and Joan Handel were coaches from the early times in the program. Most of the coaches were parents who would go out and help the team.
Many of our runners continue to participate in High School events, and we are proud to say that our teams do fantastic!
In its earlier stages, Shafter Striders would host jog-a-thons and collect unwanted items to sell at family yard sales to pay for entry fees, uniforms, and charter buses for runners who made it to the State Championships!
In their youth, many of the Shafter Strider coaches today ran for the Striders, the Shafter High cross-country program, and/or the Shafter High track program!