Photograph by George Sakkestad
Saratoga High School cross country runners (from left) Katrin Cooper, a sophomore, along with co-captains Laurel Hui, Laura Reeve and Henry Barmeier stake an Oasis Club sign into Laura's front yard. For a $20 suggested donation, Saratoga families can receive an Oasis Club sign to post by their driveway that also signals to the athletes that they have found a friendly spot to grab a drink from a hose if they're thirsty.
Thirsty runners find oases in Saratoga
By Lisa Toth
The summer heat may be kicking up a notch, but the members of the Saratoga High School cross country team know exactly where they can grab a drink of water--by stopping at an "oasis."

The team's head coach, Peter Jordan, noticed that on the team's hot, lengthy runs that the runners needed some places along the way to get water. He also offers the rare opportunity for the top seven male and seven female runners on the team to participate in the Iolani Invitational Cross Country meet on Sept. 10 in Hawaii. So Jordan tied the two ideas together with the formation of the Oasis Club.

To help defray the cost of the trip to Hawaii--particularly for runners in need of financial support--the team is offering memberships to its Oasis Club. For a $20 suggested donation, Saratoga families and community members will receive a sign to post in their front yard. This identifies the household as a cross country supporter, willing to have athletes stop for a drink from their hose as the runners are training through the Saratoga neighborhoods, parent Carol Barmeier said.

"I've already used it," team co-captain Laura Reeve said.

Reeve said she and a friend were on a run on a scorching afternoon and knew of a house that had an Oasis Club sign, so they decided to stop. Jordan, who also teaches French at the high school, added it's great to see his vision popping up on front lawns throughout the community.

"I think cross country gets overlooked so much in light of our football team," Reeve said. "We're the underdog in the school sports arena, but I hope this will change that."

The Oasis Club signs are also a good safety measure for those hot, dry 6- to 8-mile runs, Jordan said. He said fundraising isn't the most important part of the Oasis Club; it's more about how it represents the community's support for the team.

"I had 250 signs made," Jordan said. "I'd like to have to make 250 more."

Liz Nast, the mother of a Saratoga High cross country runner, said they already have their sign posted. But a built-in water fountain in their front yard isn't just used by passing runners and bikers--it's a friendly spot for the mail carrier, garbage collector and gas and electric workers to stop for drinks. Nast said she supports the Hawaii trip and the Oasis Club because it's a great way for the team members to bond.

"Saratoga is a community that helps each other," said junior Kunuk Shin, a cross country team member. "People cooperate for a good cause."

Henry Barmeier, a senior who went to the state meet last year, said he hopes the club's campaign creates greater awareness about the quality of the running program, and that the community will support them in achieving their ambitious plan.

Saratoga High doesn't have your average cross country team, he said. They're a little wild and crazy. Henry said as long as athletes have a zany attitude and can put up with the workouts, they make the team since it's a non-cut sport. The team members go out on informal training runs every Tuesday and Saturday during the summer.

To purchase an Oasis Club sign or contribute to the fundraiser, visit the activities office at the school, 20300 Herriman Ave. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday during the summer. Interested supporters can also contact Peter Jordan by email at