Sunday, March 31, 2013

Track news for the week of March 31

Happy Easter, everyone. Hope your kids haven't consumed as much sugar as mine have.
  • Meet awards and results
The coaches handed out the first batch of awards at practice on the 26th, giving out ribbons for those who placed in their events or set personal bests at Meet #1 on the 16th.

Ribbons from the next meet are in and off to the sorter, and the next round of personal bests are, too. We usually get all caught up by the end of the season.

Results are linked from our Schedule page after I get them from the league:
  • Practice on Thursday only this week: no practice on Tuesday
There's no practice on Tuesday, April 2. Enjoy your break from the bleachers.

Practice will resume this Thursday, April 4 at the usual time, 5:00-6:30pm, weather permitting.

Because College Park is on spring break, there's a very good chance that the gates to the large student lot will be closed and locked. You should still be able to pull into the loop in front of the school, and maybe even wrangle a parking space.

Please drive extra carefully and watch for athletes moving between parked cars no matter where you're driving.
  • Relay meet Saturday, April 6, 9:00am at YVHS
This is my favorite meet of the season, though it's often banished to the end of spring break. There are neither field events nor individual running events at this meet: just relays.

The event order is:

Medley (200m, 200m, 400m, 800m)

You would think that with only four events on the schedule, we'd be in and out quickly. You would be wrong! This meet typically lasts just as long as a regular practice meet, thanks to the added complexity of staging and running relays. If you're working, you will be kept plenty busy. If you're spectating, prepare for some down time between heats.

Distance runners take note! This week's medley relay is twice as long as our usual sprint medley event.
  • Relay team rules
There are a couple of rules that we follow when we assemble relay teams for practice meets:

- A team runs as the grade of its oldest athlete (the "run up" rule)

A group of third-graders with a fifth-grade bonus athlete on the team runs as a fifth-grade team and should line up with the fifth-graders.

- Girls' teams may only contain girls; co-ed teams run as boys

Self-explanatory, I think. As soon as a boy joins a team, the entire team runs with the boys' races.

So, here's your track brain-teaser: If you have a team of three seventh-grade girls and one third-grade boy, how should they run?

If you answered "as a seventh-grade boys' team" then you are wise indeed and should volunteer as a clerk!

Coaches are always the final authority on the members of a team, and are free to arrange runners and teams as they see fit. Please trust their judgement and respect their decisions -- it's always hard for the fifth runner without a team, or that group of three that can't find a fourth, but the kids will bounce back quickly.

There are no limits to the number of relays an athlete may participate in at this meet. All grades may run all events, and some athletes learn that they can game the system and run the same event twice...
  • St. Mix-and-Match of Hodgepodge, patron saint of free agency
A little math will tell you that it's very hard to form relay teams when many of your athletes are on vacation. Enter the magic of the "free agent" zone.

For this meet only, athletes not assigned to a relay team may come to a special location on the field to be placed, subject to the above rules but regardless of parish. This often results in at least one ad-hoc team per race made from four totally disconnected parishes, formed seconds before the athletes were sent off to their start positions. Baton handoffs in these improvised teams are a wonder to behold.

We'll make announcements about this special area on the field and I'm going to invent a couple of volunteer positions to help out here. If we have four otherwise unattached athletes hanging around, we'll transform them into a team and get them running.
  • Volunteers this week, and YVH students-for-hire
There are fewer positions this week, but we still need volunteers, and if you signed up this week, expect a notice from our tireless reminders. If you signed up but are unavailable, please reply back so we're not surprised Saturday morning.

Since we're back at Ygnacio Valley, you may opt to hire a YVH student for your shift for $25, paid in cash or a check made out to CTK CYO Track. Hand your payment to me in an envelope with your name and the meet date on it. Since we only have one practice this week, you can email your intent-to-hire to me now so I can pass it along to YVH:

Please reserve early. YVH is also on break this week, and student helpers are limited. Do not wait until the morning of the meet to hire a student.
  • Special jobs this week
Since this meet is so different, there are a couple of volunteer positions that I'm opening up/inventing for Saturday:

- Extra shepherds

There's a lot of walking and guiding this week, so we'll toss a couple more shepherd/runner positions in the mix to give folks a break

- Dedicated corner judges

You'll stand at the corners during the events and watch the handoffs, and help usher athletes on and off the track between races

- 4x200m handoff coordinator

This relay is unusual enough to warrant an extra person out on the far corner to help the final baton pass in the 4x200 (probably a coach)

- Free agent advocate

Athletes in the free-agent waiting area don't always speak up, and coaches can forget they are there: adult supervision can help get these athletes placed on teams and on the track


That's all for today: please reply if you intend to hire a student for this Saturday -- the sooner I can get a count in to YVH, the more likely it is we'll have extra help. Have a good Easter, and I'll see you Thursday at the track.

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