After the Stafford High School track and field team competed in the Class 5 state championships last month, veteran head coach Pete Augrom had no clue it could potentially be his final meet with the Indians.
Augrom remains hopeful the outdoor season will resume since the Virginia High School League delayed the start of spring sports to March 30.
But if the coronavirus pandemic prevents the season from taking place, Augrom has coached for the last time at Stafford.
He informed his athletes recently that he’s accepted the head cross country position at Lightridge—the newest high school in Loudoun County that will open next school year.
“It’s weird to think my last meet might’ve been the indoor state meet ,” Augrom said. “With no real certainty right now on the outdoor season, this is not the way I wanted to go out.”
Augrom’s exit may not be ideal, but his tenure at Stafford resurrected the track and cross country programs and established a new culture.
Augrom, a 40 year-old Rochester, N.Y. native, arrived at Stafford as a U.S History and U.S. Government teacher in the fall of 2005. He began his coaching tenure in 2006 and was officially hired as the head coach of cross country and track and field in ‘09.
His boys cross country teams won three regional titles. Boys and girls cross country captured seven district/conference championships. The girls won their first district or conference title in 18 years in 2015.
The highlight of Augrom’s cross country tenure was the 2011 boys team winning the Group AAA state championship. The Indians have also had numerous track and field individual district/conference, region and state champions.
“Coming in at 25, I’ve kind of grown up here,” Augrom said. “It was my first head coaching position. There were a couple of years of growing pains and getting confident in what I was doing.”
Augrom said former Stafford coach Pete Gorfida as well as former Mountain View coach Dave Davis were mentors.
He can continue to seek guidance from Davis in starting up a program. Davis did the same when Mountain View opened in 2005 and he led the Wildcats to the 2009 Group AAA cross country state title.
Lightridge will open as a Class 3 program but is expected to grow into a Class 5 school in a few years.
Augrom said he’s looking forward to the challenge of building a program from scratch. He noted Lightridge won’t have any seniors and will have a small junior class.
“Stafford had a huge history here and we had to get it back on the right track a little bit,” Augrom said. “But the chance to start from ground zero is really something you don’t get to do that often. When it comes up, you’ve got to jump at it.”
Augrom will continue to live in Stafford with his wife and three children. His wife teaches in Stafford County Public Schools and his children are enrolled there. He’s been hired solely as the Lightridge cross country coach and is unsure if he’ll direct the track programs.
Stafford athletic director Chris Dodd said the vacancies left by Augrom should be posted on the school system’s website next week.