Sunday, April 23, 2017

News for Qualifying Week

We've got lots of them! If your athlete hasn't been at practice for the last week or so, chances are their primary coach has something for them.

Qualifying Meet, Saturday 4/29, YVHS
Arrive by 9AM. Last year's Qualifying Meet explanation is still applicable. Read it here. Notes from our Sectional Coordinator:

To participate in the up coming qualifying meet each athlete must have participated in 2 of the regular season Practice meets. (I have incorrectly been saying that all could participate, but just not move on. -Greg)

All Relay Teams must be grade pure and gender pure.  No mixing grades or gender to make a relay team.

Exception: 4x400 you are allowed to mix grades.  Must be gender pure.  The relay team participates at the highest grade level of the 4 athletes.  (for example a team of one 8th grader, two seventh graders and 1 third grader runs as an 8th grade team).

Long Jump, Shop Put and Softball Throw are Open events.  Please keep all field events open until the 15 minutes following the conclusion of the 200M.

High Jump athletes must compete when their grade group is called.  If an athlete checks out to compete in a running event, they must return to high jump within 15 minutes of the conclusion of their race.  Word of advice: please try to keep your high jumpers at the event as long as possible.  Many times they could have completed their High Jump competition before their running race.  Athletes returning to High Jump after a running event usually perform poorly on their remaining jumps.

Starting with this weekend's meet, we're into the final championship weekends. All the hard work that the athletes have done over the season pays off as we taper for peak performance on these weekends.

All the practice you've done as volunteers gets called upon, too. These are the weekends when we're especially careful with how the meets are run and results are recorded. On that subject, there has been a request that volunteers make sure that every meet result includes an athlete number (not just a name) and that relay results include 4 athlete numbers for each team.

The top three finishers overall earn a place at the next championship meet, which is a change from our normal "fastest in the heat" finishes at practice meets. This can be a hard concept to grasp for younger athletes. ("But I got the #2 popsicle stick. How come I came in fifth?") In track, we always stress the importance of setting personal bests over crossing the finish line first.

After Qualifying
The weekend after Qualifying is the Sectional meet, and the following weekend is the Diocese championship. For the Sectional meet, the 1600 will be run on Thursday evening at YVHS. For the Diocesan meet, both the 800 and the 1600 will be run on Friday evening. See the meet schedule on our website.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

News for the Week of April 16th

Hope everyone had a good Easter. We're back to our normal practice schedule, weather permitting.

Mary Chatterton Memorial Relay Meet, Saturday at DVC
Athletes and Coaches should arrive: 8:00 am.
The relay meet is special. We have four events only this week, and they're all relays, with no individual races and no field events.

Event order is:
  • 4x100m - the same relay we know and love from practice meets
  • Medley - double our normal sprint medley, the distances are 200m, 200m, 400m, and 800m
  • 4x200m - another doubling, every athlete runs 1/2 lap
  • 4x400m - our usual and the final event of the day
Despite there being only four events, the overall meet length is about the same, owing to the general chaos of staging.

We will still run girls in an event first, and then boys, with an eye toward filling all lanes in the track for each race.

There are no limits to the number of races an athlete may be in this week. Opportunists might even be able to run in the same event twice.

Free Agency

At this meet, there is usually a special "Free Agent" loitering area set up for athletes in search of a relay team. Coaches are urged to look there to round out relay teams.

This means we'll see multi-age and -parish teams this Saturday. It's all good, and it's all for fun. The only two rules for relay teams are:
  • Girls teams must be all girls: co-ed teams count as a boys team
  • Teams run as the grade of their oldest athlete
See you at the track!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

News for the Week of April 9th

Practice Meet #4 at College Park
...was a challenge and a success! Despite intermittent rain and rookies in some volunteer positions, we persevered and got through it. Although I've coached for quite a while, that was my first attempt at helping to run a meet and let me assure you, it is not as easy as it looks. Thanks to all the volunteers and especially Meet Director Mike Moore.

Easter Break
Normal practice tomorrow, Monday. There is no practice Thursday and no meet this weekend. Enjoy the holiday!

Marty Mart Scholarship
The Oakland Diocese awards a $500 scholarship to one 8th grade athlete each year. The application form and further information is posted here.

Looking ahead, the Relay meet is Saturday 4/22 at DVC. That meet is just what it sounds like--all relays. It's a lot of fun for the kids. We mix and match across gender, age group, and parishes to form teams as necessary (or as desired). The week after that is the Qualifying meet at YVHS. That is open to all athletes. At that meet and the Sectional meet, an athlete has to place in the top 3 (usually) to advance. All athletes are encouraged to continue coming to practice even if they have not advanced. The last meet is the Diocese meet on May 13th.

See you at the track.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

News for the Week of April 2nd

Meet #4 April 8th at College Park
Our team is hosting this meet. Mike Moore is our Meet Director. We still need to fill some key volunteer positions to make this meet run smoothly: Head Timer, Finish Line Coordinator, Away side Head Timer, and Away Side Finish Line Coordinator. If you have any experience at the finish line or as a timer, please consider signing up for one of these positions!

Meet #4 is the last "regular season" meet. Remember that athletes must compete in two out of the four regular season meets to be eligible to advance past the Qualifying Meet. Everyone is allowed to compete in the Qualifying Meet, but to advance to the Sectional Meet, you must place in the top 3 of your age group at the Qualifying Meet and must have competed in at least 2 regular season meets. (For the 800m, 1600m, and field events, usually the top 4 advance.)

Seven-Up Club
Remember also that we award a handsome patch to every athlete who has competed in at least 7 different individual events over the course of the 4 practice meets and the Qualifying meet. This is to encourage kids to try new events, even ones they might not excel at.

Important: Relay Meet Location Changed
I have just learned that the Relay Meet on April 22nd has been moved to DVC instead of Freedom High in Brentwood. That's much more convenient for us as long as everyone gets the word!

Easter Break
There is no meet the weekend of April 15th and there is no practice on Thursday April 13th. Enjoy the holiday!

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.