Sunday, May 27, 2012

Track News for May 27, 2012

* Picnic
Our end-of-season picnic is this coming Saturday June 2 at Waterfront Park in Martinez. The picnic starts at 11:30, and we'll be setting up around 11:00 if you'd like to help. We'll have grills going and drinks provided: you bring something to cook for your family for lunch, and something to share with the other families. You're welcome to bring chairs, blankets, frisbees, soccer balls, kites, etc.. This is a pretty informal gathering.

We'll be recognizing a number of athletes with awards, handing out all the remaining ribbons, saying goodbye to our eighth graders, thanking our coaches, and trying very hard to reunite all the items in our Lost & Found with their original owners, or with new owners at the end of the picnic. It's a good time for all.

* Summer

CYO slows down for the summer, but don't forget about track...

The Summer Olympics are being held in London this year, so get your Tivo ready to record the track & field events. You'll see some events you recognize, and some new ones besides.

Cross-country starts up in mid-August: we'll talk about this at the picnic, too, but if you enjoyed track, and are maybe a little tired of soccer, why not come out for cross country? Practice is usually at Hidden Lakes Park in Martinez, and meets are on Friday evenings at local parks. It's a smaller, much more low-key program than track & field, and you'll see a lot of familiar faces. Plus: Popsicles on hot days. What's not to love about Popsicles?

* Thanks

I just wanted to say thanks (again) for all the help, support, and effort that each of you put in this season. Just being able to get an athlete to and from practice is often a challenge, to say nothing of working for a few hours at a meet. This was my first season acting as coordinator for our team, and I can honestly say that I couldn't have done it without all of your help.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Track News for May 13, 2012

* Diocese Meet

Friday and Saturday marked the end of our competitive season with the Oakland diocese championships in Union City and Livermore. We had athletes from our team competing in nearly every event at the meet. Everyone did quite well: I saw a lot of medals and ribbons and heard about a lot of PRs being set.

Awards for the running events were passed out on the track after the races. Field event awards took much longer, and I stuck around until the very end of the meet to pick them up. I've got a heap to get to the coaches, and we'll bring them to the picnic.

* More Awards

Even if you didn't go to the diocese meet, our sorters have ribbons from the qualifying meet and some personal bests that they need to get back to me. I have the remaining awards from the sectional meet, and once he results come out I know we have some personal bests from this weekend, too. Athletes: make some room in your ribbon box. There will be some special team awards handed out at the picnic: the coaches and I are getting together soon to plan all of these out. And of course, our super-helpful family drawing for those who went above and beyond their volunteer assignments.

* Picnic

Saturday, June 2 at Waterfront Park in Martinez, 11:30-3:30ish: we'll set up around 11 and love extra help.

You should bring:
  • Something to grill for your family & barbeque tools (tongs, spatula)
  • Something to share with everyone else: salads, fruit, chips & dip, dessert -- whatever you like
  • Yourselves! Athletes and their families are welcome
The team will provide drinks and get the grills going. We'll hand out awards by the score, and try to reunite athletes with their belongings as the massive Lost & Found bin appears. Items left unclaimed at the end of the picnic are free to take, and anything left after that goes to charity.

I'll send a reminder email when we get closer.

* Thank You

The CYO Track & Field program is volunteer-run, and completely depends on the participation of the athletes' families to exist. We wouldn't have awards, photos, or meets without your help. And without the coaches, we wouldn't have a team at all. Thank you to everyone for making our team such a huge success this year and in every year.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Diocese meet information

* 800m/1600m tonight

Both the 800m and 1600m events are running tonight at James Logan High School in Union City starting at 6pm. Please give yourselves ample time to get there.

Athletes do not need stickers for the diocese meet. It's still nice to let a coach know that you made it.

* Parade and other events tomorrow

The rest of the meet is back at Granada High in Livermore on Saturday. First shift volunteers need to be signed in and ready to work at 8am, and I recommend that everyone else try to get there early to deal with parking and seating. There will be a small admission charge for everyone except athletes in uniform, and coaches/coordinators with badges. Remember to allow extra time for the spike-check at the gate, too, if you have a pair of running shoes with spikes.

Coaches, there's an 8am meeting on the field (see the program link below.)

We open the meet with the team parade, and we have an amazing new banner to show off. I'm very excited about it. Our team historically leads the parade onto the track, so don't be late!

Immediately after the parade and opening speeches (sorry) the events will open. I recommend printing off a copy of the event order from the Oakland CYO site:

This is also linked from the front page of our team web site.

Again, athletes do not need stickers for the diocese meet. The layout is the same as last week: the clerk area is next to the snack shack, and all athletes and alternates should report to the clerk when their grade and event is called. We won't know if alternates get to compete until the clerks take them onto the track.

* Weather watch

The forecast for Livermore for tomorrow looks sunny and hot. Please pack lots of water, sunblock, floppy hats -- whatever it takes. Athletes: please make it a point to find shady spots tomorrow between your events, and stay hydrated. Spectators, that applies to you, too. If you're bringing some form of shade technology for the stands, show up extra early to stake out a spot in the top rows.

* Video feed

Granada High has a live stream of video over the Internet if you have family who can't make it to the meet.

Almost as good as being there! It's hard to see athlete's faces, but if you know the current event, you can usually pick out our red, blue, or yellow shirts on the track. (I text lane numbers to the grandparents so they know who to cheer for.) Track in the 21st century!

* For all the athletes

HAVE FUN! No matter what the results look like, if you had a good time this season, then you've won.
“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”
                                                              -- Jesse Owens

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Plum District discount coupon for DLS summer sport camps

I know I've mentioned it before, but De La Salle high school in Concord runs week-long sports camps, and devotes a couple of weeks to track and field. It's open to athletes who will be in grades 4-9 in the fall.

There's a coupon offer on Plum District right now that can save you some money on their sports camps. Here's a link right to the coupon:

More information about the camps is on the DLS web site:

My own kids have attended this camp over the past few years and have enjoyed it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Awards from the Sectional meet... mostly

I have most of the awards from the Sectional meet ready to be passed out at practice tomorrow. We're short in third-place medals and a few other awards, but I've given the count to the league and will keep bothering them until it's resolved.

If your athlete knows they earned a ribbon and doesn't get it tomorrow, please don't freak out. We'll try to get it all settled by the picnic.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Diocese meet qualifiers (relays)

We've gotten more updates from the league, so I've put together a draft list of the relay teams that will be competing at the diocese meet. We're waiting on the final, final, final seeding from the diocese, but here's a draft version, showing the names of the athletes who ran on these teams last week:

For the first time ever(?) the other two sections appear to have medley teams, so we're going to run the medley for all grades, just like the 4x100m relay (top three teams run, fourth place team is alternate.) Alternates in the medley might have a better-than-average chance of running, says the league. We'll see what happens. Maybe the event will even show up in the program this year!

The 4x400m is limited to the top three finishers overall by gender. Track is a sport of traditions, even when they don't always make sense -- this is one of those. Bad news for the younger teams that had little competition on the track. There's always next year.

We have CTK placed in all three relays, which is very impressive. If you know for certain that your athlete cannot run on Saturday and they belong to these teams, please let Mike Stone or Trish know immediately so they can make plans and find substitutes. Their contact information is on our coach page:

Monday, May 7, 2012

Diocese meet qualifiers (individual events)

The full results from the sectional meet are available:

I've gone through this list and pulled out the names of athletes who qualified in the individual running and field events:

Congratulations to everyone who competed, whether or not you placed. These meets are much more challenging, and our team is well-represented in the results. We should have a good group for Saturday's parade. Everyone on our team may be in the parade, whether or not you made it to the diocese meet. If you happen to find yourself in Livermore on Saturday morning dressed in your track t-shirt, come on by!

Remember that if you're running the 800m or 1600m, you race on Friday evening at James Logan High School in Union City. Please allow plenty of time to get there with weekday traffic.

The league officials are supposed to be getting together with the other sections by Wednesday. I'll send email when things are updated.

I've purposefully left out the relay seeding for now until I hear from the league. Based on previous years, though, we can make some educated guesses:


The top three teams in each grade and gender from our section will progress. The fourth place team is the alternate, and may not run. I see teams in the 7th and 8th grade girls, and the 8th grade boys here.


The top three teams overall per gender progress. I know this is hard news to the other teams that ran on Saturday. Based on times, it looks like the eighth grade boys and girls teams have the four fastest finishes from our section.


This is still up in the air at the moment. We know for certain that we will be running it, but I'm not sure if we're combining across grades or not yet. Reportedly the other sections have a few teams this year, which is excellent news -- our athletes will get to compete against some new faces. That always makes for exciting races.

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.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Sectional Update

* Updated Qualifier List

I've updated the qualifiers list to account for scratches that have come in from other teams.

At a suggestion from the coaches, I've also listed lane assignments and alternates in the running event sheets.

Alternates are the 4th place finishers from the meet on April 28th, and they are not guaranteed to run on Saturday. "Alt 1" means an athlete is the first alternate, and will be the first one chosen if a regular athlete is a no-show in that event. "Alt 2" is placed next, and then "Alt 3."

I apologize if this catches you by surprise and changes your weekend plans. If you're attending the meet and your athlete is an alternate, they should sign in as usual, but they (and you) won't know if they're running until the race is taken to the start line.

* Sectional Volunteers

Thank you to all the families who have stepped up to cover volunteer jobs. We need two people (or one dedicated person) to be the "stands marshal" during the meet: there is a morning and afternoon shift open. Please let me know if you can do this job.

There will be an official sign-in table near the snack shack. Volunteers working on the track area will be given wristbands. I will try to position myself near the table first thing after setup to get you signed in and stickered.

* Practice

Our last two practices are next week. Ribbons have been passed out for the meet on the 21st as well as personal bests for the 21st and 28th. Ribbons for the 28th should be coming out soon. Practice is always open to everyone.

Unclaimed ribbons will come to the picnic: I hope you'll be there, too.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Families going to the sectional: we need your help!

The work schedule has been put out for the meet this Saturday, and CTK has been assigned some (but not many!) meet positions. The assignment breakdown is on the league site:

You must have a sticker to work at the meet, which I'll have with me. I will be there to set up, and then will hang out near the large concrete water fountain near the snack shack with the volunteer stickers before the first and second shifts. Look for me with the brown cowboy hat, and if it's cold and windy, inside a team sweatshirt, too.

All first shift volunteers need to be there and ready to work by 8am. Not a problem, though, since you'll be coming early for parking, right? Right.

Please let both Katy and me know if you're able to step up and help out with these jobs.

Setup and Cleanup

If you come early, we could use your help. I'll be there with tents to make the clerk area for the athletes, and will be staying to the very end for the meet. I'd love company if you can help on either side of the meet. If you're really early, your admission might even be waived. I plan to be there by 7am, in case you need a definition of "really early."

Cleanup crews start taking down and bagging tents during the 4x400 relay, which is the next-to-last event. If you're there for a 4x400 or medley team, by all means stick around a little and help out.

Clerk of the Course, second shift (noon to close)

This is pretty easy since all the sheets should be run off in advance. You will be verifying that athletes check in to the events by finding their names on a sheet and checking them off. All the races and lane assignments are settled.

Medley Judges at turn #1 (3 openings, near end of meet)

Stand at the first corner during the medley relays and watch the baton passes: they need to occur inside triangles printed on the track, and athletes cannot impede each other (no stepping out of lanes, tripping, etc.) Disqualifications (DQs) happen here.

Relay "Runner" for DQs

Monitor the corner flags during the relays, and if one of the judges reports a problem by putting up a flag, you go out to the corner and find out what the issue was: which lane and team had the issue. There are officials ready to handle the disputes, but we need someone to watch the corner judges and see what issue was raised. This applies very much to the 4x100 relay at the start of the meet: we need to resolve DQs quickly to keep the meet moving.

Judge, first shift

Just like the practice meets, and mainly in case there's an issue with the timing system. Absolutely the best place to be in the meet: you'll see every race finish.

First Aid

If any of our regular First Aid people are attending, please let me know. Otherwise, someone who is comfortable helping kids cool down & calm down, maybe bandaging a scrape or cut. I'll bring our kit and ice packs to the meet.

Stand Marshal
(2 openings: 1 in morning, 1 in afternoon)

Make sure that the railings are clear in the front of the stands (kids like to hang on them, which obstructs traffic and views.) Make sure views are open to spectators: nobody should set up a tent or umbrella in the middle, but only up at the top, out of the way. Sometimes parents get upset at this meet -- see DQs, above. We need to remind everyone to use CYO-appropriate language and behavior. There are marshals from many teams in each shift, in case there's issue with other parishes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Qualifying results are up, Sectional meet information

Our coordinator's meeting was last night, and we reviewed all the results from the meet on the 28th. The results are up as a Google spreadsheet and are linked from our team website and from the league's page:

Congratulations to the athletes who qualified and will be representing Christ the King, St. Catherine, and St. Stephen on Friday and Saturday.

If your athlete qualified, then they should absolutely plan to attend the meet. If your athlete is an "alternate" then they should also plan to attend. Alternates are placed when a regular athlete is a no-show, and I have seen many alternates moved up at the last moment to compete over the years. The 800m and 1600m do not have alternates because those events do not run in lanes -- all listed athletes may compete.

* Showing Up

The 1600m (mile) event will start at 6pm this Friday at DVC. Athletes running this event should plan to be there no later than 5:30pm. You need to find parking, get through the gate, and locate your coaches before you run.

All other events are run on Saturday at Granada High in Livermore. First gun on Saturday is at 8:30am, and based on my experience trying to find parking in the past, you should be walking in the gate by 8:00am or before. There is a small attendance fee that will be collected at the gate on Saturday to defray the league's costs.  It's usually a couple of dollars for adults, and a bit less for children. Competing athletes, coaches with badges and coordinators with badges do not need to pay admission. It's a small perk, but we'll take it.

All athletes competing on Saturday and Sunday will need to wear a sticker with their number and team as usual, which the coaches or I will have. Show up and find your coach right away.

I can't say this enough: please do not be late. The 4x100m relay is the very first event on Saturday, and coaches need to have teams prepared and in the clerk area right away. Late athletes and relay teams are scratched from competition.

Athletes bringing track shoes (spikes) will need to have them inspected at the gate. Only one-quarter inch pyramid spikes are permitted in CYO. I have spare spikes and wrenches if you lose one. Please allow time to get through the gate, and have your shoes ready for inspection.

* Settling In

The Sectional and Diocese meets are very, very popular. Parking is always at a premium, and seating in the home stands doubly so. If you plan to bring a tent or umbrella for the stands, you need to be there extra early to stake out a place in the back (top) of the stands. Don't block someone else's view, please: you'll be asked to take your portable shade down if you do. Granada can be very windy, so plan to bring bungee cords to lash down everything, too.

The visitor-side stands are usually sparsely populated, by comparison. If you are coming for a few events, you can always set up on the away-side and walk around to watch the finish of the race from outside the fence. I like to pack a pair of binoculars for these meets.

* Out of Bounds

Absolutely no one is allowed on the track or field at any time during the Sectional meets except for signed-in athletes being directed by the meet staff. Everyone must sit in the stands, no exceptions. The clerk area is typically closed to anyone besides athletes: not even coaches or coordinators may violate the holy sanctity of the E-Z Up tents. In years past, the clerk area at DVC has been outside the track fence on the north side, near the snack shack and restroom buildings, and at Granada it is tucked away behind a fence between the stands and snack shack. Show up early and orient yourselves to the facility.

Athletes should use the bathroom before going into the clerk area, because they're usually not allowed to leave once signed in.

* Following Along

The event order at the Sectional is different than practice meets, and sometimes grade orders are reversed. The order of events is on our web site:

I recommend printing it off and keeping it handy, and helping your athletes pay attention to the calls.

Athletes and alternates need to report to events when called, and at the Sectional, every field event will be running both a boys and girls area, so they will close promptly. Don't wait for the final call: get over to the event and check in, even if you're an alternate.