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Alumni Spotlight: Jamie Park Duncan ’89

Jamie Park Duncan graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1989. Park was the most decorated SBHS runner for the Channel League. Park was the first female Don to have represented the USA in the international cross country competition. Park was the youngest of 12 children, and her brothers and sisters encouraged her to join them in activities and sports.

Tennis became an early passion for Park. She decided to attend Santa Barbra High School as they had a strong program for girls tennis. Though attending SBHS meant a bit of good natured ribbing from three of her brothers who had attended San Marcos high. In 1985, just before starting high school, Park took up a friend’s invitation to enter a 10k race. She completed the distance in 40 minutes, at 6:27 minutes per mile pace. That day, Park captured the women’s title and caught the attention of a number of Don cross country runners who encouraged her to join the squad. That fall, she competed in both cross country and tennis, and in the spring ran track winning her first four Channel League 3200m titles.

Ms Park’s first Channel League title prompted the News-Press to talk about her saying “Jamie Park of Santa Barbara recorded an amazing win in the two-mile. Park measures just 4’11” and weighs only 87 pounds, but she won the event in a solid time of 11:29:2.” Ms Park earned a full scholarship to Division II Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a freshman, and Division I Arkansas her sophomore year. At both Divisions, Park won the NCAA 10,000m races and All-American honors which is rare for both male and female runners. Park qualified for and competed in the 1990 IAFF World Cross Country Women’s Junior Championships. As the second USA finisher, and 23rd overall (4.4 km/14:57). Team USA finished 11th in the world. As a junior, Park won the 1987 CIF-SS 4-A Cross Country Championship making her the first Don female to win a CIF Southern Section Cross Country Championship in any division. During her junior and senior seasons, Park won the Channel League Championships in Cross Country, 1600m, and 3200m races; plus two CIF-SS 4-A Cross Country titles.

Her senior spring added two 2nd place finishes in CIF-SS 4-A 3200m and 1600m events. Out of Parks’ CIF state appearances, she was the first Don to compete in state cross country finals. Upon Park’s last Channel League track championships in 1989 she won two titles. Once again the News-Press reported “Jamie Park of Santa Barbara High wrapped up her career in the league by winning the 1,600 and 3,200 meters at La Playa Stadium giving her nearly 10 miles of championships over the last four years.” During Freshman year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she placed 3rd in the 1989 NCAA Division II Cross Country 5k title running in a muddy course. In February of 1990 Ms Park qualified for the USA Women’s Cross Country Team and a spot at the IAFF world championships to take place in Aix-les-Blaines, France. On March 24 1990 Ms Park became the second USA finisher, and overall placed 23rd (4.4 km/14:57) with team USA achieving 11th in the world, to top off her freshman year she captured, in June, the 1990 NCAA division II 10,000 meter championship, and her second All American award. At the end of her sophomore season 1991, Park became Arkansas first women’s track and field NCAA Champion and first outdoor national champion.

Even though Park did track, she also maintained a high academic record, focusing mainly on the sciences. Park’s amazing academics led to her achieving a dream she had since middle school, a career in medicine with a focus on exercise science, as she became a physician’s assistant. Park returned to Santa Barbra along with her husband and three children, also serving as an emergency foster care family. Park now lives in Santa Barbara with her husband Andrew Duncan and their three children, each an athlete attending San Marcos High School.

Park enjoys her career in medicine but when asked how she trained with three children her reply was “I had a double jogger [stroller] and everyday I would take them out with a power bar as their snake, dog on a leash and off I would run for 6-8 miles! It was hilarious!” Some ask when her children discovered she could run fast she says “they would run some of the local 5Ks with me and they would be pooping out at mile one and their mom would barely be breaking a sweat.” 


  • Lorraine Hernandez

    Lorraine Hernandez is a freshman at Santa Barbara High School and a writer for The Forge. She hopes to write creative and inspiring articles. Outside of The Forge, Lorraine likes to draw.

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