Sunday, March 26, 2017

News for the Week of March 26th

Meet #3 is coming up this Saturday 4/1 (no fooling) at DVC.
The first race might be anytime from 8:30 to 9:00.
Athletes and coaches should be there at 8:00AM.

Meet #2 on Saturday was a success except for a couple of possible relay DQs (no problem, practice meets are for learning!) and a pulled muscle or two that I hope will heal quickly. When the results are up on, I'll post on Twitter (and thus the home page).

Meet #1 ribbons will be available for distribution at the end of Thursday's practice. By the way, I changed the rules yet again regarding Personal Best ribbons--if I gave them out for trying an event for the first time, it would have been 170 PR ribbons for Meet #1! So I went back to the old rule that you actually have to beat your previous best time/distance/height to get a PR ribbon.

Monday, March 20, 2017

News for the Week of March 19th

Meet #1 Recap
Our first official CYO meet of 2017 is in the bag! Thanks to all the families who helped out at the meet and especially our Meet Director, Amanda Donohue. Here's what happens next:
  • Results from the meet are keyed in by the league and sent to team coordinators
  • I clean them up and post to our team page on  
  • The league also provides blank ribbons and filled-in result/place stickers
  • Our Awards volunteer, Kirsten Kirkpatrick, assembles and sorts the ribbons
  • Ribbons are then distributed at practice a week or so after the meet
The first meet always has a few rough edges. Meets should take a little less time each week as volunteers hit their stride along with the athletes.

Ribbon Notes

The top three finishers in each race heat and field event should receive a ribbon at a future practice. Placement at practice meets is determined by grade and gender: if we combine heats at the meet, the results are sorted out afterward.

Our team tracks personal bests, and hands out special gold ribbons. Returning athletes who broke their own records from previous seasons will get a ribbon at practice. To make the result compilation more automated, the first time an athlete does an event counts as a personal best and gets a ribbon!

Finally, we have a special "7-up Club" for athletes who compete in seven or more different individual events during one season. Relays don't count towards this total and the Warpath Meet does not count. There's a fancy embroidered patch that we'll give out at the end of the season.

Meet #2: Saturday March 26th, Granada High School in Livermore
  • Athletes/Coaches arrive: 8:00 am
  • First event: 8:30 am
Someone left a St Catherine shirt and track shoes at practice today. If they are yours, let me know.

I will bring our "lending library" of hand-me-down track shoes (spikes) to practice on Thursday and the meet Saturday. Anyone is welcome to grab a pair for the season if you find some that fit. (Spikes are a nice psychological boost primarily for the older kids, say 7th and 8th graders.) And if you want to donate any that your athlete grew out of, feel free.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

News for the Week of March 12th

Practice Time
5:00-6:30 Mon and Thurs until further notice

War Path Recap
I hope everyone had fun on Saturday. It was almost perfect weather.

Our regular meets are conducted much the same way, but results are recorded on paper, typed into the computer afterward, and then posted online. The paper feathers are a War Path exclusive.

Uniform Pickup
Uniform shirts and team sweatshirts will be handed out at practice Monday and Thursday. Look for a table at the bottom of the stairs from the parking lot. They will also be available at the meet on Saturday, starting at 8am.

We'll hand out the ordered sizes first, and then we can make swaps for unworn items (trying it on is fine.) Parish assignments are fixed, so we can't swap one parish's shirt for a different one.

If you registered late (after 2/12) that may have been too late to get a sweatshirt. If you paid for one and you don't get one, you'll get a refund.

Meet #1 on Saturday, March 18, Granada High School, Livermore
  • Volunteers, athletes, coaches arrive: 8:00am
  • First event starts: 8:30am
  • Estimated finish:  1:00pm
  • There are still two important meet jobs open: Head Clerk and Field Events Coordinator. If you volunteered at any meets last season, you are qualified to perform these functions! Please consider changing your sign-up from "generic worker" to one of these two jobs.
  • We are the meet host. Our meet director is Amanda Donohue, who needs your support, patience, and gratitude.
  • Unfortunately, I will miss this meet, but our other coaches will handle everything just fine.
  • Parking: There is a band competition taking place in the parking lot of Granada High School, so it will be necessary to park on the street. You can park along Wall Street, or Mocho Street, which is the back entrance at Granada. It sounds like a mess, so give yourself extra time and plan on a walk.
Volunteers are committed for the entire meet, but athletes can come for just the first half or just the 2nd half in the case of schedule conflicts. Just let your primary coach know when that's the case.

Note that whereas dropping off athletes for practice is perfectly acceptable, for meets that's not the case. It is impossible for coaches to keep track of all the athletes at a meet and so parents should plan to stay and provide a "home base" in the stands for their kids. Food and drink other than water should remain in the stands. The team will drop bags and extra clothes in one area on the field and athletes should be encouraged to hang out there when not competing so it is easier for coaches to find them when events are called or relays need to be formed.

An athlete only needs to compete in 2 out of the 4 "regular" season meets to be eligible to advance past the Qualifying Meet.

In previous years there have been "rent a student" options for fulfilling your volunteer hours. I know YV is not doing that this year. If I find out that's an option for any of our meets, I'll let you know.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

News for the Week of March 5th

Practice this week: 5:00-6:00 at College Park
Coaches have a certification meeting right after practice on Monday, so we'll want to end on time and clear out.

War Path Invitational
Our first meet is this Saturday, 3/11, Ygnacio Valley's "War Path" invitational. Uniforms not required: regular running clothes are fine. Note that the meet is "All Comers". That means parents and coaches are welcome to compete! (The charge for competitors is $6.) The team pays the entry fee for all of our athletes, but there is a $3 charge for spectators too.
We won't need volunteers for this meet, but you should have received email regarding signups for the meets that start the following weekend.

Remember to bring:
  • Cash for gate admission ($3 per spectator) and some extra in case there's a snack table
  • Appropriate weather protection: sun hats and/or jackets, sunblock, sunglasses (or rain gear, depending)
  • Something soft to sit on, like a stadium cushion or old blanket
  • Optionally: healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt tubes, pretzels--nothing too heavy
If you plan to bring a pop-up tent or umbrella for shade, please set up in the back row of the bleachers so you don't block anyone's view. Pack bungee cords or tie-downs, as Ygnacio Valley can be windy, especially in the morning.

There is no smoking or alcohol permitted at this or any CYO event.
    Athletes should:
    • Have a light breakfast
    • Wear sunscreen and running shoes
    • Be on time to warm-up with the team
    • Be willing to try events and have fun
    We want to get the team together on the basketball court no later than 8:45am.  The courts are between the stadium and the school. Coaches will warm the team up and get a head count.

    The team is paying admission for our coaches and registered athletes.

    Find a seat when the gate opens, and we'll bring the team in when we're warmed up. They'll find you in the stands.

    New to track meets?

    Don't worry: meets are pretty predictable, even if they don't look it.

    Field events start when the meet begins. There will be announcements over a PA system or bullhorn calling different age groups down to participate. Events at this meet are:

    High Jump
    Long Jump
    Shot Put

    In CYO, we limit shot put and high jump to 5th graders and older, for safety.

    Athletes check in at the event when their age group is called, provided they're not already lined up for a race (or are on the track!) High jump and long jump will be visible from the stands, but the shot put ring is tucked out of the way outside the main stadium fence.

    Running events follow an order, usually done from youngest athletes to oldest.

    These stage (line up) on the field. Last year there were hurdles with signs attached per age group. The same PA or bullhorn should be used for calls for these events.

    The event order is:
    1. 1600m  (4 laps, "the mile")
    2. 4x100 Relay   (every runner carries the baton 1/4 of a lap)
    3. 400m   (1 lap)
    4. 100m   (a short dash along the straight)
    5. 800m   (2 laps = 1/2 mile)
    6. 200m   (1/2 lap)
    7. 4x400m Relay  (every runner carries the baton 1 full lap)
    A key tip: if an athlete is waiting at a field event when their desired race is called, they should leave the field event to go run, after telling the field event clerk. Then return to finish the field event after the run.

    Running events determine the pace of the meet, and won't stop if an athlete is busy at long jump or in the bathroom. Paying attention to the calls is a track meet survival skill. If you miss your call, you miss the race. Oops!

    Which event?

    That's pretty much up to the athletes and their coaches. This week is a little looser, just to get everyone to see how it all fits together. Unless the coaches have something specific in mind, I'd encourage a go ahead and try it attitude.

    Regarding the season as a whole: after this meet, we have 4 regular-season CYO meets. An athlete has to compete in 3 out of 4 of them to be eligible to advance past the Qualifying meet in the post-season. So there may be times when it will be advantageous to come to a meet and do the first event before heading off to that soccer tournament, or vice-versa, rolling in better-late-than-never to get in one of the final relays.

    See you at the track!

    Sunday, February 26, 2017

    News for the Week of February 26th

    Practices this week will be 5:00 pm to about 6:10 pm.

    I have updated the meet schedule on the website to include locations and start times.

    We got our meet assignments from the league and will be posting positions on Signup Genius soon. We still have 3 weeks until our first meet that needs parent staffing, so no need to panic. On the other hand, I'm sorry to say I underestimated the number of volunteer hours we would be assigned and we won't make it without boosting the family commitments a little. Therefore we are requesting that each family help out as follows: Assuming that working a full meet counts as 2 "shifts", we need a family with one athlete to work 5 shifts; a family with 2 athletes to work 6 shifts, and a family with 3 or more athletes to work  7 shifts. I apologize for the bait and switch, it was not intentional.

    Meet Coordinator Needed
    We have been assigned to host 2 of our 4 regular season meets, because we have one of the larger teams. I really need someone to take on this role so that I can concentrate on coaching. If you're willing to do both meets, that would be worth 7 shifts and satisfy your commitment for the year! I can of course get you the information and support you need to do the job. Please let me know if you'd be willing.

    More about the upcoming Warpath Invitational meet in next week's post.

    Sunday, February 19, 2017

    News for the Week of Feb 19th

    Hello families, it's time again for this week's news...

    Practice this week, 5:00-6:00pm

    Safety at College Park

    There are lots of other sports going on inside and outside of the track stadium. Remind your athletes to walk around the outside of the track fence to get to the stands. Don't cut across the field during games or other teams' practices. And look both ways before stepping onto the track--a good rule for volunteers and spectators as well as athletes.

    During lacrosse practice, we get to add dodge ball to our list of skills. Please make sure your athletes keep their eyes open for the occasional missed pass.


    ...have been ordered. We'll let you know when they come in and are ready to be picked up.

    Track not working out?

    Hopefully things are starting to get a little smoother for your athletes. The first few practices can be chaotic until the groups settle in.

    Sometimes track isn't a good fit, though, and that's OK. You may drop from the program with a full refund if you notify me via email by February 28. Your deposit check will be shredded, and we'll remove you from the volunteer sheets.

    Starting March 1, the fees refund drops to 50%, with the deposit check shredded.

    Dropping on or after our first (real) meet on March 18 means a forfeit of both your fees and deposit.

    Uniform costs are refunded at 100% or 50% as above, provided you haven't picked them up yet. Once handed to you, the uniforms and sweatshirts are yours to keep.

    Don't just vanish. Let me know if you need to withdraw an athlete from the team so we can update our records and handle any refunds you're entitled to.

    Upcoming Event: "War Path" Invitational, March 11

    Ygnacio Valley High School holds a special all-comers track meet each year to help raise funds for their track team and for new equipment. Provided we have good weather, we'll attend this meet as a team again this year. The team will pay the admission fee for our registered athletes and coaches.

    I highly encourage everyone to come out if they can. It's a very low-key event, with no volunteer requirements. It gives everyone a chance to see how meets work. Think of it like a special Saturday practice.

    We don't need our uniforms for this meet since it's not a CYO function. Regular running clothes are fine.

    Volunteer News

    We hope to have the volunteer schedule posted in the first week of March. We're still waiting for final meet information from the League. We'll let you know when you can start signing up. If you have questions in the meantime, you can email

    Sunday, February 12, 2017

    News for the Week of Feb 12th

    Practices continue Mondays and Thursdays, 5:00 until dusk (~5:50).
    We will have practice on President's Day, but it's not a big deal if an athlete can't make it.

    Fee checks will be deposited on 2/21, or shortly thereafter. (We had a few requests for forewarning.) This does not apply to volunteer checks, which are held until the end of the season.

    Weather Watch

    If the forecast calls for rain, I will post any cancellation of practice by 3:00pm on the team Twitter account (@ctktrack). Those tweets appear on the front page of our web site, too. If there is no tweet, practice is on!

    Late Signups Still Accepted

    We're still taking signups at practice and we're still collecting missing birth certificates, concussion forms, payments, and deposits. If you haven't received an email reminder, then you probably aren't missing anything.

    See you on the track!