Friday, May 31, 2013

Reminder: team picnic and awards Saturday June 1, Pleasant Hill Park @ 11:30

Hi all -- a last-minute reminder to come on out to Pleasant Hill park at Gregory & Cleaveland tomorrow for our end-of-season potluck picnic and awards.

This is very casual and fun for all. We'll reunite your athletes with leftover or unclaimed ribbons, marvel at the accumulated lost & found pile, and thank coaches and families for all their volunteer service, too.

If you're not able to make it, I'll post the full awards list on the team site afterward. If your athlete -- or you! -- won something, we'll arrange a pickup after that. If you are present and are able to pass an award on to an absent teammate, I'm happy to delegate the task.

Hope we'll see you tomorrow.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Track reminder: picnic this Saturday, June 1 at 11:30

Hello everyone, I hope you've been enjoying your down-time from track. I know I have!

Our final event of the season is the annual potluck picnic and awards ceremony this Saturday, June 1 at Pleasant Hill Park at the corner of Gregory Lane and Cleaveland Road.

We're at picnic area #3, next to the new teen center and right off the main parking lot.

We'll be setting up at about 11:00, and will try to have the grills hot and ready for cooking around 11:30-12:00. The team will provide cold drinks of the sodas-and-water variety. You should bring something for your family to eat, as well as a dish to share. Don't leave your utensils and bowls behind! I really don't want them.

At 1:00, athletes will break into groups with their coaches for parting words of wisdom and to collect any leftover ribbons that we have from the season. Around 1:30 we'll start presenting awards from the team.

We'll also have the prize drawing for the extra helpful families who exceeded the volunteer requirements. I have already emailed the families who forfeit their deposit this season, and have cashed their checks. If you did not hear from me, you may credit your deposit back into your account with my thanks.

Finally, the mighty Lost & Found collection will be out on the park lawn for your rummaging pleasure. Who knows? We might even have things you didn't know you were missing. Everything left unclaimed at the end of the picnic goes to Goodwill, another fine team tradition.

Thanks again for a great season, and I hope to see you on Saturday.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Diocese meet results are up

The results from the Diocese meet just came in, and I've got them linked from the front page of our team site:

I've found at least one typo so far, and it looks like one of the events is under review at the moment. I'll work on massaging these to get them posted on for your data-crunching pleasure.

Congratulations to all competitors! Be sure to come to the picnic so we can mildly embarrass you by applauding your efforts.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Track news for the week of May 12

  • Diocese meet complete

Another successful CYO season is on the books. Congratulations to the athletes who made it all the way to competition on Friday or Saturday. Just getting that far is a big accomplishment. If you happened to place well in your event, so much the better. No matter what, I hope you'll remember the time spent with your friends more than your finish in an event.

I hear that the races on Friday went very well, and Saturday's events were exciting, despite the heat and being buzzed by the Goodyear blimp (no, really.) It's the best of the best at Diocese, and every mark is earned with a lot of effort. I'm looking forward to checking for personal bests.

I should have all the unclaimed awards from Saturday's field events, and we'll try to reunite them with the athletes at the picnic.

Results will come in whenever the results come in, and I'll post them on the web site as soon as they do. Keep your eye on the web site front page or on Twitter.

  • Team picnic, Saturday June 1, 11:30 at Pleasant Hill Park

The really, truly final team activity this season is our annual potluck picnic and awards ceremony. We'd love to have your athletes and your whole family there, no matter how your season worked out. Bring something to share and something to grill for yourself. The team provides drinks and we will have the charcoal grills going.

We're back at Pleasant Hill park on Gregory Lane, picnic area #3, next to the new teen center:

Setup is around 11am if you want to help. Athletes will break into groups around 1:00pm and we'll start the awards around 1:30.
  • Other end-of-season business

Volunteer deposits

Families who worked less than the minimum number of jobs this season should expect an email soon alerting you about your deposit check. We asked for five shifts plus the mini-meet at signups, though the actual required number worked out a bit lower. I never know the exact figure until the season is complete. Everyone else's checks will go into a large industrial shredder and turned into a fine, colorful confetti.

Coach gifts

A few people have asked about thank-you gifts for the coaches. You're welcome to contribute to the common fund if you like. The easiest thing to do is pay me at the picnic: checks should be made out to "CTK CYO Track" and I'll add it into the team account. This is not mandatory.


Thanks to the steady hand and fast reflexes of Paul Nuti, photos from this season are available on All the email addresses that this newsletter goes to should have access to our team's albums:

You might need to register fully on the site for access. It's free, and you're under no obligation to purchase anything. Due to the logistics of having a large team, we don't do any official photo day, so we don't make you buy a fridge magnet just to get a 5x7 for the family room.

If you have an email address you'd like us to add, let me know and we'll get it configured.
  • Other upcoming events

CTK Parish Festival, May 17-19 (this coming weekend)

Fun, food, games, prizes, and the most holy of all sacraments: BINGO. Christ the King throws a big festival every year, with carnival games, carnival food, and a carnival atmosphere. All are welcome, regardless of affiliation. You'll see a lot of familiar faces there.

Parking is tight, so arrive early if you can, or find street parking that doesn't block a driveway.

Festival times are: Friday May 17, 6-10pm; Saturday May 18, 2-10pm; Sunday May 19, 10am-2pm

De La Salle summer track & field camp, June 10-13

Last time I looked, there were still a few openings for the day camp at De La Salle high school in Concord from June 10-13. It's available to next year's 4th-9th graders.

In years past, the kids have gotten to try some events that we don't have in CYO like pole vault and discus and (very low) hurdles. Cool!

Pleasant Hill Firecracker 5K Fun Run, July 4th

Have any plans for July 4th? Come on down to the 5K fun run held first thing in the morning. The course is a three lap walk/run around the downtown area. You'll see more than a few CYO athletes and coaches out that day.

Proceeds raised go to help local schools, and the parade starts right after the race concludes.
  • CYO cross country

CYO has a cross-country program starting in August, and runs through early autumn. I'll mention this again at the picnic, and send email as the season approaches.

If your athletes enjoy distance running, and would running with a mixed group in a low-key setting, consider joining cross-country this fall. Practices are at a local park, and meets are on Friday evenings at parks around the East Bay.

  • Next season
Track and field has lower visibility than other springtime sports, so good word-of-mouth can go a long way. Feel free to talk up the program to friends and classmates and direct them towards the web site or send me an email. I'll be in coordinator-withdrawal for a while and need to get my fix.

We'll get a preview of the 2014 schedule soon, but expect more of the same: signups in late January, practices start in February, meets start in March, with the Diocese meet around Mother's Day.

Team placement depends on parish school or RE program, or the athlete's home address.

I'm on the lookout for volunteers for next year, too, as we're losing many of our behind-the-scenes people as their kids go to high school. Returning families with complicated schedules get first priority for jobs like volunteer reminders, uniform organizing and distribution, ribbon assembly and sorting, and personal best ribbons.

Expect overlong emails as we get closer to signups for next season.
  • Thank you!
I'll end on a note of gratitude:

Thank you to all the volunteers who gave their time to help the meets: we simply could not hold them without all 150+ jobs filled each weekend.

Thank you to all the behind-the-scenes volunteers who ensured we had uniforms and ribbons and who reminded everybody else where and when to show up.

Thank you to the coaches who put in so much work and time to guide each of the kids on our team to reach their own personal bests.

Thank you to the athletes, for trying hard, running fast, jumping far, and throwing well. You're the reason the coaches and I do all this, and we've had a lot of fun working with you this season. I hope you'll take away some good memories and will come back to us or join your high school track program next spring.

That's it, everyone -- see you at the picnic!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Diocese meet reminders

Just a few of quick reminders for the final meet this weekend:
  • 800m and 1600m, Friday evening, May 10
Both distance events are Friday evening at James Logan High School in Union City. According to the meet schedule, the 1600m will run first at 6:30, followed by the 800m. The schedule is on page 2 of this document:

Fourth place is considered "alternate" at this meet, and there's never a guarantee that alternates will be placed in a race.

I won't be at these races, but a couple of our coaches should be present.
  • All other events, Saturday, May 11
All other events are held on Saturday at Granada High in Livermore, just like Sectionals were last week.

Athletes do not need stickers at this meet. Please find me or a coach when you arrive so we know you're present. Once the events begin, I'll be camped out next to the away-side stands in a blue tent, near the light pole. Coaches will likely be peppered among the stands, near our team banner.

Volunteers: I'll be at the snack shack around 8:00am and 11:30am to sign you in if you're working for the team. If your athlete is flying solo, let us know so we can help them listen for their event and get them to the right place.

The order of events is different yet again -- pay attention to the grade order:

Like Sectionals, parents may not go into "working" areas of the meet unless they are signed-in volunteers. In the interest of fairness, coaches and coordinators aren't allowed to work at all.

You may escort your athlete over to the clerk area to sign in, but you may not pass through the gate. Don't risk a disqualification, please.
  • Parade at 8:30am on Saturday
All athletes on the team are welcome to walk with us in the parade, regardless of qualifying status. The more the merrier! The parade usually sets up in the softball field behind the away stands and then flows on to the track, past the home stands like a very slow 200m event. Before we get to the finish line, we'll turn onto the infield for the opening ceremonies.
  • Early is the word!
You can't go wrong if you plan to arrive early. There will be traffic to get to Union City, and Granada is always full until at least the 50m/100m events.

If you're a real early bird on Saturday, we're setting up at 6:30am, and would gladly appreciate help setting up the events for the day. We need lifters and luggers and people handy with pop-up tents. You'll get credit for the team if you catch me at setup and sign in -- yes, I'll be there, nice and early!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Track news for the week of May 5

  • Sectional meet complete
Those of you with qualifying athletes got to experience either the mellow low-key Friday night 1600m, or the sun-drenched events on Saturday. Some lucky families got to do both, and some really lucky families got to work as well. We'll see who gets to be equally lucky later in the week.

The Sectional meet is like the greatest hits of the practice season: all the teams you remember from March and April, gathered together again in one, danceable package.

But wait, there's more!
  • Diocese Championships May 10 and 11
Remember all those really fast kids you saw this weekend? Remember all those amazing jumpers and throwers? You'll get to see them again at the very last meet of the year, the diocese-wide championship. This past week was just the section one teams -- that's our section.

Coming up this week, the top athletes from sections one, two, and three all get together to compete. You'll see parishes that you've probably never heard of before, from all over the East Bay region.
  • 800m and 1600m events,  Friday May 10 with 6:30pm start, James Logan High
If your athlete placed in one of these events, they will run again on Friday night at James Logan High School in Union City. The first 1600m starts at 6:30pm sharp. Please allow for traffic if you're going.

If your athlete placed in both the 800m and the 1600m, he or she needs to choose one of these events to compete in before Friday. They may have already been asked at Saturday's finish if the league was prepared. Expect a call or email if they weren't.
  • All other events, Saturday May 11 with 8:30am parade, Granada High
On Saturday, we have the remainder of the events back at Granada High in Livermore. Starting at 8:30am, there's a parade of teams from all three sections. All athletes on the team may be in the parade regardless of qualifying status.

Since we're in section one and the first team alphabetically, we lead the parade on to the track.  Come get some great pictures and video for grandma. I know it's a drive, but if you're willing, we're glad to have you there.

We especially want eighth graders so they can lead our team around the track one last time before they go off to high school. Awwww. I'm getting a little misty just thinking about it.

After the parade and the obligatory speech-making midfield, the meet will begin in earnest with the 4x100m relays. The meet schedule is on our site:

Like the Sectional meet, some events go out of order from what we're used to. Please allow for that when making arrival plans. By the end of the day at Sectionals, we were almost an hour ahead of the published times. Be early, be flexible, and listen for the calls!

There will be an admission fee again on Saturday, and there are usually souvenir t-shirts available for sale just as you come in to the stadium, typically at a table near the main stands. These sell out fast. Seating and parking fill up incredibly fast at this meet, too.

The layout at Granada is the same as at Sectionals:

Sections two and three compete in an fifth field event event called the "tetherball toss," which is just exactly like what it sounds like. It's a kinder, gentler hammer throw. Section one does not practice this event, so we don't put any athletes forth to compete.

We do, however, have the Medley Relay. For the first time ever (?) it's on the program, albeit with the equivalent of the Barry Bonds asterisk. "Diablo Valley Medley Relay" is the Sprint Medley that you know and love.
  • Ribbons and awards
I have about 200 ribbons from the qualifying meet on the 27th, and I just sent out the personal best list on Saturday evening. The Sectional awards should show up at my house in the next day or two.

In short, there's a ton of ribbons to hand out, with more to follow. Please plan to send your athlete to the final practices and come to the picnic if only to relieve me of the burden of addressing and mailing eight gazillion envelopes over the summer.

Awards at the Diocese meet are prepared and handed out at the track. If your athlete places in their event, you can stick around to gather the award. At the end of the day, one of the coaches or I will get the remaining ones and bring them to the picnic.
  • Final practices this week
We're down to the last two, this Tuesday and Thursday, College Park Track, 5-6:30pm. Everybody on the team is welcome to come to practice. Running's more fun with a buddy, after all. I hope we'll see you there.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

More about the sectional meet

  • Final Qualifying results are up
They're linked from our team's "Schedule" page:

You can also try these links:

* Full meet results
* Full qualifiers list

I'm going to make a list of our team's qualifiers and get it online shortly. Thank you for your patience!
  • 1600m this Friday night: first call at 5:45 pm
The Sectional is done in two parts for time reasons. The mile is held this Friday at DVC. If you have a runner in the mile, please arrive in time to get them warmed up and signed in.

The running order is different than our usual -- we'll run girls 3-5, then boys 3-5, then girls 6-8. then finally boys 6-8. The event schedule for the weekend is on our web site's "Schedule" page and from the league site:

Athletes will sign in at the field. If your athlete wears track shoes (spikes) remember that they must be 1/4" pyramid style or 1/8" pyramids. No other spike designs are permitted. There's a photo of the allowed spikes on the last page of the diocese meet program if you're unsure:

There's a shoe check at both events, and athletes must wear shoes to compete.
  • All other events this Saturday: first call at 8:10am
The remaining events will start at 8:30am on Saturday at Granada High in Livermore. First call for the young girls' 4x100m relay is 8:10, and they mean it. DO NOT BE LATE.

There is a small admission fee for Saturday's meet, payable at the gate. Show up with exact change to make the volunteers' lives easier. There will be a line, and it will be slow.

Current CYO athletes - FREE
Current CYO coaches with cards - FREE
Adults & High School students - $3.00
Children age 6 thru 12 - $2.00

Seniors - FREE

Programs should be available at the gate for $1. You can also download the order of events page from our web site. The program will have pages of records and other trivia, but they'll sell out fast.

CTK typically hangs out on the away-side bleachers where the crowds are thinner and tensions are lower, but you're welcome to sit where you like in the stands. Athletes need to have stickers at this meet, so they should look for their coaches to check in. Relay athletes definitely need to find their coaches so we know that they are present.

The annual Section 1 Coaches Relay will be held immediately after the Sprint Medley. Athletes, come cheer on your coaches to glory and pulled hamstrings!
  • Meet Etiquette
The league wants us to remind everyone of some general meet etiquette tips:

- Umbrellas and pop-up tents are allowed in the back (top) row of the stands only, to ensure a clear view of the track for everyone. You'll be asked to take down anything that obstructs the view.

- No setting up chairs, tents, blankets or other obstructions between the finish line and the gate where the athletes enter/exit the field (end zone near long jump.)

- No explicatives at the meet. Do not threaten or berate meet officials, parents, coaches, athletes... anyone, really. You'll get evicted from the meet and your athlete will be disqualified.

- No coming on to the track or field area, unless you are a signed-in volunteer working a job. Volunteers are specially identified at these meets. The same eviction/disqualification penalty applies here, too.
  • Working at Sectionals 
I've sent a friendly, pleading email to families who look like they will be at the meet a while. I'll put out a call for volunteers if we need any last-second help.
  • Meet survival tips at Granada High
Like most tracks, Granada is very exposed without much shade. Remember to take care of yourselves as well as your athletes. Pack plenty of water and sun protection. Label every article of clothing and water bottle that you hope to ever see again. If you're working a job, wear a hat, good walking shoes, and have water that you can carry easily. Bring some binoculars for easier spotting if your athlete has a field event.

Every track is laid out a little differently: at Granada, all field events will run in parallel: boys and girls compete at the same time. Athletes are staged for their races in an very out-of-the way place.

Here's a blimp's-eye view:

Don't miss the a second shot put area tucked way up by the tennis courts. Last year, this was the girls' shot ring. High jump will have two sets of equipment in the end zone near the gate to the track. Softball and long jump will run in parallel like we did during our meets. Long jump is along the north end of the field, just like College Park.

If you park in the main lot, you'll come to the stadium through the main gate/spike check station. Past the gate, you'll find yourself at the south end of the main stands. To your right is the snack shack and a large concrete water fountain. Volunteer sign-in will be next to the snack shack. Look for me to get signed in.

  • During the meet

When athletes sign in for a race, they'll do it in the area marked "Clerks" on the diagram. Access is through a gate near the snack shack. Only athletes, clerks, and shepherds may be in this area -- no parents, coaches, or coordinators allowed. Once inside, athletes may not leave until they run their race, or are dismissed if they are alternates who didn't get moved into a lane. Athletes need to get water and use the bathroom before their race is called.

Running events happen as usual: athletes will be brought out onto the field by shepherds only. You may hug/praise/console them after their race is over, once they have left the field.

Be especially careful not to crowd along the track during the 50m and 100m races, tempting though it may be. We've had a whole season to practice, and your kids know what to do. ("Run fast!")

Field event check-in is at the event itself, when the athlete's grade is called. Athletes won't be accepted early, and will compete in the order assigned. If they miss their calls, they're out of luck -- field events close when the last athlete in the grade has completed their jumps or throws.

Just like practice meets, athletes are allowed to leave a field event to run a race. They must notify the volunteer working the event, and return right after their race completes.

The best thing you can do for your athletes is find someplace where you can hear the announcements, and nudge them when it's time for their event. I'm sure they'll do fine. Keep them hydrated: offer light, healthy snacks, find shade and wear sunscreen.

Oh, and have fun, too!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Preliminary qualifiers list is online

I'm still waiting on the official list from the league, but I do have enough information to post a preliminary version for our team. This is built from the initial results, with my notes from the seeding meeting incorporated.

This is also linked from the "Schedule" page on our web site.

  • Are these all the meet results?

No -- just the top finishers in the events from our team. The full and final results are on their way. The delay is driving me crazy, too.

I'm 99.44% sure that this is an accurate list of qualifiers from our team, subject to the standard disclaimers about how CYO is all-volunteer, supposed to be fun, and not the Olympics.

  • What does "Alt 1", "Alt 2" and "Alt 3" mean?

This indicates the first, second, and third alternate in an event. If one of the scheduled athletes or relay teams is not able to make the event, we will fill their lane with the first alternate (Alt 1). If there are two openings, then first and second alternates will be placed, and so on.

Assignment of first, second, or third alternate is done by a complex algorithm that juggles openings among the three meets that were held on Saturday. It's not a reflection of your athlete's performance, their character, their families, or coaches. A fourth-place finisher at our meet may still be the third alternate for the Sectionals.

Alternates are not guaranteed to compete.

At the seeding meeting, we moved some alternates up into regular competition already. Some of our relay teams benefited from this move.

Per league rules, athletes who competed in more than three individual events got cut from their last event, which also affected the list of qualifiers.

Athletes may drop from an event over the course of the week for a variety of reasons. If we know about this in advance, an alternate may find themselves slotted in to a race before Saturday. Keep checking when we get the full results up. Otherwise, alternates will get placed in a race (or not) at the meet.

  • Wait! I still have a million questions!

And I have a novel-length newsletter waiting in the wings to answer them. The immediate things to think about are:

* If your athlete qualified in the 1600m, I'll see you Friday evening at DVC

* If they are in another event, I'll see you early Saturday at Granada High in Livermore

* Relay team members should alert your coach at once if you can't make it on Saturday

The meet schedule is linked from the team site if you want to start planning your weekend:

Coaches contacts are available through the web site: