Sunday, May 6, 2012

Track News for May 6, 2012

* Sectional Meet

Well, we're almost done. The sectional meet was Friday night (for the mile) and Saturday (for everything else.) I got to attend both, and saw a lot of great running, throwing, and jumping on display. I know a lot of our athletes set personal bests, and a few even qualified to move on to next week.

Great job, everyone. Thanks to the parents who helped out on Saturday. You kept things running smoothly, and I was very pleased to not hear our team being scolded over the PA system to provide missing volunteers. I like feeling smug.

* Diocese Meet

That's this coming weekend. The 800m and 1600m are held at James Logan High in Union Cit. Athletes that placed in the top in either event will race on Friday night, starting promptly at 6pm. Given the distance from our home turf, please give yourselves lots of extra time to get there. Remember: athletes may only compete in one of the 800m or 1600m at the final meet. If you happened to place in both, you need to choose one.

Saturday we're back at Granada High in Livermore for another 8:30am start. There is a parade with all the teams in the diocese -- think "opening ceremonies of the Olympics" -- and is really something special. All athletes from our team are welcome to participate. Since we're in Section 1 and the first team alphabetically, we historically have lead the parade.

Again, get there extra early to avoid the huge line at the gate, and having to park far from the school. The diocese meet is very popular and well-attended.

There are usually souvenir T-shirts available as you come in the gate. I don't know if they'll be offered again this year, but it can't hurt to slip a little extra in your wallet, just in case.

* Results

Old-timers will notice that we didn't hand out ribbons at the sectional: this is a new decision this year to keep the coordinators from having to play "pass the ribbon" around as team results are settled. We'll get the results posted and available as soon as possible. The waiting is the worst part.

I know for certain that a number of relay teams disqualified on Saturday. Passing outside the allowed zone is often the worst offense, though I know there were some other problems. If your athlete ran on a team that was DQ'd, please try to take it as a "teaching moment." A relay team is four people trying very hard to work together to move a baton around a track very quickly. Things often go wrong, but these are children involved. It's especially painful when it's your own child affected, but they will grow, and learn, and be fine for the experience. One bad relay will not stop them from being a happy, well-adjusted adult.

The best races I saw Saturday were the ones where it was obvious that the team was coming nowhere near the top three places... and they were smiling anyhow. "Flat last but smiling all the way" isn't a bad philosophy for CYO.

* Special Results

The 4x400 event is handled differently after the sectional meet. To be fairer to the other two sections in the diocese, it is only the fastest overall boys and overall girls teams that progress in the 4x400. Section 1 is lucky to have as many athletes as we do. You'll see a lot of teams in the parade from sections 2 and 3 that are lucky to have a dozen athletes among them, and can maybe scrape up a single 4x400 team or two. Rather than simply dominate at most grade levels, section 1 takes only our fastest teams forward. Happily, our team is almost always well-placed.

Also, the Sprint Medley is always treated as a second-class event by the diocese. You may not see it on the official programs, but we will run the medley at the diocese meet. I believe the same top-times-only rule applies to the medley teams as with the 4x400.

When the results come out, I'll publish them online, taking extra care to show which athletes and teams progress to next week.

* Alternates

I also know there was some confusion and disappointments about fourth-place finishers and their chances of competing last week.

Alternates are never guaranteed to run a race. Fourth-place finishers swap in only if an athlete or relay team can't make it. The odds of an alternate making it into a race are hard to guess, and it's especially frustrating when an athlete or team shows up at the last moment, bumping the alternates back out of a race. As coaches and coordinators, we can't predict who will or won't be able to make a race, so I advise alternates to try and show up anyway, but don't be crushed if you don't get to run: it's not the end of the world, really. (See the "well-adjusted adult" comment, above.)

* Practice

Two more to go: Tuesday and Thursday, same time, same place. The whole team is welcome. If you ask really nice, the coaches might relive their relay race from Saturday.

* Picnic

June 2! Martinez! Waterfront Park! Awards! Speeches! Potluck!

If you have a donation towards coaches' gifts, look for someone at practice, or me on Thursday or next Saturday. Our coaches been working hard since February to build our team. They deserve to be spoiled a little.

* And More Fun Still...

The Christ the King Parish Festival starts next Friday night May 18 and runs through May 20. This is the social event of the year for the CTK parish kids, and everyone is invited. Many of our own team families are working the festival, and your kids are bound to see someone they know from track hanging around. There's games, live entertainment, bingo (of course), books and goods for sale, and other amusements. Come on by, and tell everyone how awesome the track program is.

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