Sinnott retires as Carson High cross country coach
The 14-year coaching vet said his relationships with athletes and coaches will be fondest memories
If you take one step inside of Pete Sinnott’s office, you can tell what his time coach Carson High cross country has meant to him.
Draped along one wall is a large blanket woven with a blown up 2011 Carson cross country team photo.
Just to the left of the door are plaques and framed photos of former athletes and thank you notes.
There’s also a letter from United States Senator Harry Reid written in congratulations after the Senators’ won boys and girls state titles in 2009 on top of a Sinnott being named Coach of the Year.
Sinnott attended Carson High in the late 1960s and early 70s and ran both cross country and track where he became a state mile champion.
After 15 years in charge – taking over the Senator cross country program in 2006 – Sinnott has decided to retire.
“I had to make a decision and I just don’t feel like I am in a position right now to coach like I used to, to be responsible for people’s kids like I used to be,” said Sinnott.
“Coach Sinnott’s track record of fielding highly competitive and championship teams and individuals at Carson High is a testament to the love of the sport that he has dedicated decades to,” said Carson High athletic director Blair Roman. “He will be missed greatly as he moves on to other pursuits in his life. The caring to mold his athletes not only as runners, but also as people, is a great legacy coach Sinnott has left behind at Carson High. We wish coach Pete the best of luck.”
Roman also added that assistant coach Nicole Kastens will take over as head coach, following Sinnott’s retirement.
Molding future generations
Sinnott says that his favorite part about his coaching career was seeing the growth of the athletes that have come into his life.
Instantly, Sinnott could rattle off names of previous Senator runners that worked their way to Valedictorian status – like Ethan Lopes, Brandon Buonacorsi and Tony Zia.
Sinnott was also at the helm for two salutatorians, two student body presidents and the first Carson grad to get into MIT.
“Our emphasis was building a person rather than a team,” said Sinnott. “The kids did all the work, but being a part of a team, a lot of these kids were friends through high school. … That’s what makes a team.”
Along with former runners, Sinnott still holds plenty of appreciation for anyone that helped with the program along the way from former team managers, to parents and assistant coaches.
The list of names extends through former competitors and team managers such as Victor Favero, Kora Ashton, Jeanne Stelzer, Porfirio Juaregui and plenty others.
Along with the memories of state championships and regional titles, Sinnott said the team-building exercises were some of the best moments on the job.
“We would hike to Clouds Rest in Yosemite, … great day. It looks over the Yosemite Valley and it’s spectacular,” said Sinnott. “The other place is the Sierra Buttes, … and afterward we would go get pizza.”
Along with the summer trips, Sinnott also took pride in his ‘special days’ such as life lesson day, poetry day and a ‘be thankful’ day.
“During cross country, I probably have them for that time more than anyone else in their lives. They’re with me six months a year, six days a week for three hours a day,” said Sinnott. “I think this area is as good as any place in the country to run.”
Successes in all areas
As his teams came together, so did the production on the course.
Sinnott has been at the helm for three girls team state championships, a boys team title and two individual state champions.
Along with the accomplishments at the state level, Sinnott also helped lead the Senators to several regional titles, most recently in 2018 when the Senator boys bested Spanish Springs by two points.
“Cross country really is the best team sport in America. You have to have five good runners,” Sinnott said. “The team concept is really important in cross country and helps kids to build and work together.”
Along with memorabilia on his office walls, Sinnott has thank you letters from current and former athletes saved on his computer.
Regardless of world circumstances, the upcoming fall season will be plenty different for Sinnott who said he also just sold his ranch and business.
“I will miss the energy and the affection,” said Sinnott. “The kids really appreciate people that work with them and try to help them grow as people.”
After 14 years of success in charge of the Carson High cross country program and molding students around him, Sinnott’s legacy in the community will continue to have reach for decades.