Sunday, May 4, 2014

Track news for the week of May 4

Sectionals complete

We're almost at the finish now. Our section 1 championship meet is complete for the season, and there's just one more to go. It was a pleasure to work with the mile runners on Friday night, and to see everyone try their best on Saturday. Like any track meet, there are disappointments and there are pleasant surprises. We couldn't have asked for a nicer day at Granada.

Preliminary results are up in spreadsheet form now and linked from our schedule page:

We're working to fill in the gaps from the mile event and get final times on the one of the races. Thank you for your patience! Once I get the final updates, I'll put these on and look for personal bests.

The top three places per gender and grade at this meet will qualify for the final meet, with fourth place as an alternate. This is true for all events except the 4x400m relay. An official list of qualifiers will come out soon.

In the 4x400m relay, the top three fastest teams overall by gender will progress -- 3 girls teams, and 3 boys teams, regardless of grade. Only two heats of the 4x400m are run at diocese: one for girls, and one for boys.

Qualifying relay teams are under the same rules as sectionals: if an athlete on a relay will be absent, tell me and their coach so we can find a substitute to run in their place.

Final practices this week

I've given up trying to predict lacrosse. They weren't on the schedule last Thursday but we got bumped anyway. They aren't on the schedule this week... so who knows?
  • Tuesday, meet on the blacktop until we determine if lacrosse is playing
  • Thursday, do the same -- and it's our final practice!
Please continue to send your athletes to practice with a full water bottle. There's only one working fountain that I know of over by the track. That's a long way away if we're practicing at Valley View or the back field.

Staying hydrated is vital as summery temperatures roll in. Sports drinks are popular but sugary: lots of plain water is always best.

Ribbons from the qualifying meet and personal best details from that meet are out to the sorters, so I would expect that we'll pass them out at practice. Ribbons and medals (!) from Sectionals should arrive at my house soon, too.

Oakland diocese championships, May 9 and 10

The final CYO meet of the season is this week, split over two days:
  • Friday is both the 800m and 1600m events at James Logan High in Union City/Fremont
  • Saturday is a parade and the balance of the events, again at Granada High in Livermore
Please give yourselves enough time to arrive at James Logan if you have a distance runner competing. Friday traffic can be challenging.

In my experience, all times posted for events are optimistic, but the meet start times are very real, so please don't arrive late and miss your event while you hunt for parking or wait in line at the gate.
  • 6:00pm start on Friday
  • 8:30am start on Saturday
Download the program from the diocese web site here:

Please pay extra attention to the order of events, as they get switched around. Athletes must report to their field events to check in when they are called so it doesn't close without them. They can leave when their race is called but must tell the field event judge they are doing so. They are supposed to write down the event and look for the athlete when that race is over.

"Tetherball toss" is the one field event that our section does not practice during the season. It's like a kindler, gentler hammer throw. You'll see it happening off to the side of the track near the long-jump end.

Saturday's meet will be busier than the sectional, and you will see many new-to-you parishes from around the Bay. A "parade of champions" opens this event where all the teams stroll past the home stands, just like the Olympics. The parade lines up alphabetically by section, so our team will lead it off.

All team athletes are welcome to participate in the parade, not just qualifiers. If you find yourself in Livermore early on Saturday morning and your athlete happens to be in their track uniform, come on by. Eighth graders will continue the tradition of carrying the team banner and leading the parade. Great photo op!

There's a little speech-making after the parade, and then the meet starts in earnest. Cross your fingers for a smooth(er) start this weekend. It's surprisingly difficult to get hundreds of children and adults to all move in the same direction on time.

Families of qualifying athletes will again be required to fill volunteer positions at the meet. I may not know our responsibilities until late in the week, so expect to be assigned to a job as needed and last-minute.

All volunteers jobs are wonderful, as you know, and the people who fill them doubly so.

Picnic, May 31 at 11:30

Sometime late this coming Saturday afternoon, all the coordinators from all the teams in the diocese will let out a collective sigh of relief. We're done! Woo hoo!

Well, nearly done...

We still have our team picnic, May 31 at Pleasant Hill Park. Awards, food, fun, and digging through lost and found -- my favorite part. Bring something to share and something to grill, and we'll have cold drinks and hot charcoal grills.

I'll send a reminder mail as we get close.

Final business

I'll review the volunteer totals with Gina and will contact you if the deposit check is in peril. Otherwise, it will be shredded into a fine mulch. The rest should be cashed this week or early next week. Our team is planning to help College Park update their bedraggled high jump equipment, and get a new surface on the track, too. Rest assured that your deposit will be put to good use.

If your athlete has unclaimed awards, the coaches will have them at the picnic. If you miss the picnic, however, we pass awards to friends and classmates who claim that they'll see your athlete. The remainder will sit on my front porch in Pleasant Hill, near College Park. I'll email those families directions so you can come get them at your leisure.

Next season

I know, we just wrapped up, but while track is still on your mind...

CYO cross country starts up in August, and the program is growing each season. Great for athletes who want to try distance, or who enjoy clambering around on the hillsides after practice. Email and web site updates will come this summer

Signups for track will roll around again in January. Practices will begin in February, and meets start in March. Please help promote our program! Talk to classmates, swim team friends, neighbors, cousins, etc.. There's bound to be a team in their home area, and hopefully it's ours. Next year, though, I think I'll schedule practice around lacrosse.

The St. Stephen Horses?

I've been advised that our plain T-shirt uniforms are neither particularly comfortable to run in nor fashion-forward. I'm considering a uniform upgrade next season into a performance-wear-style top. Old uniforms will still be honored, and we'll have a clearance sale of the leftovers. And if we're going to change the shirt, I think it's time to reconsider the art as well.

Here's the issue: St. Stephen's doesn't have a mascot! CTK is the Crusaders, St. Catherine is the Vikings, and St. Stephen is... a winged foot. A classic design, sure, but maybe not as inspirational as an actual mascot. Our poor runners in gold just get no respect.

St. Stephen families and athletes, here is your homework for the next two weeks: help think up something that can represent your parish's team. Five minutes on Wikipedia was not particularly inspiring. Evidently he's the patron saint of masons, horses, and casket makers, and I am not making any of those up. I bet you can do better, as the "St. Stephen Rocks" doesn't exactly make me think of speed. Unless we write "St. Stephen ROCKS!" which will look more like a tour t-shirt than a track uniform.

Let me know your ideas, and let's see if we can get something worked up for next season that I can add to the uniform, and demote the winged foot into a supporting role.

The St. Stephen Stallions? St. Stephen's Avalanche? The St. Stephen Speedy Deacons? Help me out here, everyone. I got nothin'.

Thank you!

I'm going to give your inbox a break for the next few weeks except for the occasional results update and volunteer assignment. Before I go into running-silent mode, I want to again say thank you to all the families, to the coaches, and to the athletes for trying hard and having fun.

I know I have asked you to sit in freezing cold, baking sun, and driving rain. I know that you worked a double shift when you thought it was going to be a single, and worked a single when you thought you could finally relax in the stands. It's a huge amount of trouble, week after week, just to watch some children run for a minute or two.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

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