Sunday, March 30, 2014

Track news for the week of March 30

Relay meet: the aftermath

We survived our first combined track meet/swim meet of the season. The athletes will remember Saturday for quite a while. I'm sure the volunteers will, too, and I hope you find forgiveness in your hearts.

There was no shortage of offers of help before and during the meet, and we had many hands to strike the tent and haul all the soggy equipment out to the curb. Everyone embodied the CYO spirit on Saturday, and I appreciate it tremendously. We had many new people in key jobs, and it all ran smoothly. Thanks to everyone for pitching in.

I have to confess that despite the wind, cold and rain, this is still my favorite meet... though I won't be sad to see the sun again next time.

Practice this week: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

No fooling, we have a bonus practice this week. Check Twitter or the web site if rain is likely, but otherwise the plan is:
  • Tuesday: lacrosse game in the stadium, so meet on blacktop promptly at 5pm.
  • Wednesday: bonus practice, meet in the stands at the track at 5pm
  • Thursday: normal practice, meet in the stands at the track at 5pm
Meet #3 at Ygnacio Valley on Saturday, April 5

Same place, same time... hopefully better weather!
  • Setup at 8:30, done quietly to be nice to the neighbors
  • Athlete check-in and first shift start at 9:00
  • First event start at 9:30
We're midway through the season now. We have two practice meets left before championships begin with the qualifying meet on April 26.

For an athlete to be eligible to compete at qualifying:
  • They need to have participated in at least two "practice" meets on 3/8, 3/15, 4/5, 4/12 (the relay meet doesn't count, alas)
  • Their families need to be finishing up or have completed their volunteer time by the qualifying meet
If you haven't been able to attend the meets or work shifts, please make sure you're getting those done in the weeks we have left.

Hire a student this Saturday

We're at YVH again, and high school students should be available to help out:
  • Inform Gina Marks of your intent to hire a student helper no later than Wednesday
  • Pay me $25 per shift no later than Thursday: exact change or a check to CTK CYO Track
If you want to carry over an unused check from the relay meet, let me know that, too.

Meet results & being careful

As we approach the end of the season, make sure you're trying your best at your volunteer jobs, especially those involving recording and verifying the results.
  • Print neatly on the sheets and relay cards
  • Measure and mark each heat, jump and throw consistently and correctly
  • Carry the best marks into the result columns for final placement
  • Rank the athletes according to their best mark when the event closes
  • Ask for help to resolve ties if we have one
Meet hosts are told regularly that the league's data-entry team makes no corrections to the sheets. I don't get a chance to go through the results before turning them in, so the quality of the data ultimately comes down to you, the noble volunteers.

If you have any questions about how to mark something down or conduct an event, these final few meets are your chance to ask. Each event's clipboard has a sheet of directions laminated to the back, and I'm always happy to go through it with you.

Relay DQs

Starting with this week's meet, we'll be watching relay handoffs more carefully. If you are working as a corner judge, please confirm that baton exchanges happen inside the marked zone on the track (the big triangles.) Passes outside the zone or athletes that interfere with another team cause the offending team to be disqualified.

Dropped batons, sloppy or comically bad handoffs are not grounds for a DQ, as long as they are in the zone and don't impede other runners. (Impeding being stepping out of the lane, causing someone to trip, etc.)

This can be tough for all athletes -- and parents and coaches, too -- and we want to have a couple of weeks to practice before qualifying.

Lost and Found

I'm hearing several reports of sweatshirts lost or picked up by the wrong person after meets. At least two are missing as I write this, and I have two others in the collection...

Please put your name on water bottles and in all your clothing. A clever idea that I stole from another family is to use a laundry marker to write your name in huge letters on the inside of the elastic band at the bottom of the sweatshirt. This makes it easy to find your own, and to know when you've grabbed someone else's by mistake. Tiny initials on the tag get ignored. No name or initials is a lost sweatshirt, guaranteed.

The current collection is huge, and into its third Hefty bag now:

A small, soggy pile of things wound up in my car yesterday after the meet. I'll document those and get them on the web site soon.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Relay meet status: the waiting game...

My hope of the storms arriving today didn't come true, so now we move into contingency mode. The forecast right now isn't looking optimistic as I type this, but I'm not surrendering yet.
I'll be up early to check the forecast, and will be out at YVH by 8am to check in person.

Please check Twitter or the team web site for status updates.

We're @ctktrack on Twitter, and messages show up on the main page of

There's three ways this can go:

Hold the meet
If these rains somehow blow through tonight, we'll hold the meet. Even if it's a little drizzly, we'll run. I promise that the athletes will not melt, and that they will remember running in the wet for years to come. Parents and coaches will remember it too, for different reasons...

Delay the start

If the tail end of the storm is passing, we can start an hour or two later. I know this means that your carefully-laid plans for Saturday may be upended, and that volunteer shifts will be confused. We'll be grateful for your help and patience.

Cancel the meet

Not my preferred option, of course. If this happens, families that are scheduled to work or have planned for a student helper will not have it counted against them. I have not yet cashed the student hire checks, and we can decide what to do with them next week (shred, return, or apply to a future YVH meet.)

* * *
No matter what happens, this storm is supposed to bring cooler temperatures behind it. If we're running at all tomorrow, all the coaches expect to see their athletes in warm clothes. Sweatshirts or jackets, track pants or sweat pants! Our uniforms are colorful, but not very warm -- we would rather you be warm.
Check the site tomorrow morning for updates.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mary Chatterton Relay Meet information

About the Mary Chatterton Relay Meet

Our meet this week is a special relay-only meet. We'll run the following events:
  • 4x100m - everyone runs 1/4 lap, just like a regular meet
  • Medley - double the distance of our usual medley, the legs are 200m, 200m, 400m, and 800m
  • 4x200m - everyone runs 1/2 lap
  • 4x400m - everyone runs 1 lap, just like a regular meet
Like a typical meet, we go through the girls' grades youngest to oldest, then the boys' grades.
I like this meet both for its simplicity, and because we form teams out of any idle-looking athletes, including across parishes. These hybrid teams are my favorite ones to watch. St. Mix-and-Match and Our Lady of Hodgepodge will be well-represented this Saturday.

This week, we will have a big, red "Free Agent" sign on the field for athletes without a relay team. Anyone waiting there may be added to a team that's a person short, or may become part of an improvised team. A volunteer or I will be stationed there to help out.

All coaches are encouraged to make liberal use of the Free Agent section when assembling teams. The point of this meet is participation and sportsmanship, no matter what shirt an athlete happens to be wearing. The more teams we can form, the more fun everyone has in the end.

Coaches: there will extra relay cards at the finish line tables. Use a 4x100 card for the 4x200 event.
A girls team may only contain girls, so co-ed teams run as boys. The highest grade on a relay team determines the overall grade of the team.

Start times at Ygnacio Valley High

Neighborhood rules limit use of our PA system until after 9am, so we shift our start times to be accommodating:
  • Setup crew will start work at 8:30am
  • First shift volunteers start at 9:00am
  • First event starts at 9:30am
Athletes may warm up prior to 9am, but it must be done quietly. No shouting or whistles until 9 o'clock. Warm-up laps and stretching before then are fine.


Rain looks like it's blowing in this week. Always check the front page of the team web site or the @ctktrack Twitter account for weather updates. If necessary, we can rain-delay the start of the meet, but I hope we'll have a nice day.

Clearing the field

Relays are complex to stage since we have four times the number of athletes to manage on the field. Teams should be on the field only when their event is called, and extra volunteers and coaches without a team need to stay clear of the sign-in area.

It is the responsibility of each team to get their relay cards to the clerk, and to stay in the staging area once signed in. Don't wander off to practice handoffs or use the restroom.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Track news for the week of March 23

Meet #2, the aftermath

Another meet is on the books. I hope everyone is getting used to the way things work, athletes and adults alike. We had even better weather, lots of volunteer turnout, and dedicated high school helpers from College Park.

There were, however, two problems with Saturday's meet that I want to bring to everyone's attention because I need your help to correct them.

1) Food and drink on the track and field - it's not allowed except plain, boring, unadulterated water. This applies to athletes, volunteers, coaches, and coordinators alike. Drink spills and dropped food ruin the very expensive track and football field surfaces, and is a sure way to infuriate the facility and their athletic booster's club.

I saw coffee, chips, fruit, sandwiches, and other things being eaten on the field yesterday. I know it's  a picnic atmosphere, but you have eat in the stands, and keep all drinks outside the track fence. This may mean eating a big breakfast before your all-day volunteer job, and grabbing a quick protein bar off-track during a slow event.

2) Unsupervised athletes - More than once I had to use my Dad Voice to usher kids off the DVC football equipment and high jump pits. Athletes were wrestling near the track while races were going on, and crossing in the middle of the track. Our insurance and first aid kit is not good enough for the kinds of disasters I was visualizing.

None of the coaches or team coordinators are able to babysit during meets. Keep athletes with you in the stands between their events. If you're working a job, use your own Mom and Dad Voices before  the meet and explain the rules. It will help keep them safe.

Happily, a solution to both of these issues is easy...

Make a home base in the stands

Everyone forgets about the away-side stands, but they are wide open at most meets. Since your athletes are only competing for about 10-20 minutes in total, why not encamp in the other bleachers and then come around the track to watch their finish?

Children, like cockroaches, prefer darkness and a regular food source. Setting up an umbrella or tent in the stands with a cooler of snacks can lure them away from trackside Wrestlemania and give them a place to call home during the meet.

Thanks in advance for your help. Starting at the next meet, we'll be more actively encouraging athletes and non-volunteer adults off the field, since we'll need the space for this special event.

Hey! Cleanup crew! Where did you go?

Nobody wants to close the meet more than I do, but if you're on cleanup, you need to stay until we're actually all cleaned up. Only two scheduled crew members and myself stuck around on Saturday to wrestle all the tents back in their bags, get all the equipment back in the boxes, gather up the lost and found, and pile it next to my car. Like setup, cleanup takes about 1/2 hour on the other side of the meet.

Starting next week, cleanup volunteers need to sign out as well as sign in to get credit.

Practice this week on Tuesday and Thursday

No bonus practice this week, we're on the usual two-day plan:
  • Tuesday meet on the blacktop by 5pm, due to a scheduled lacrosse game
  • Thursday meet in the stands by the track at 5pm
A number of athletes have been showing up late to Tuesday practices, and then give me lost-puppy expressions when they realize that their groups have already left.  

Please make sure you're arriving on time, as the coaches are eager to get the kids out on a run. For safety, no athletes may leave unsupervised in search of their practice groups. They are usually stuck with me for a rousing game of "endless laps around the grassy field." I'm the only one who thinks this is a fun game, alas.

Meet Awards

Personal best ribbons from the first meet were handed out at practice, and place ribbons (first, second, third) should arrive this week at practice. Coaches distribute these at the end of practices.

When results are available from Saturday, I'll post them on the team web site and
Ribbons will be printed up after the results are posted, and handed out at practice.

Mary Chatterton Memorial Relay meet, Saturday, March 29 at Ygnacio Valley, 9:30am

This is my favorite meet of the whole season. There are no field events this week, and no individual running events. We only run four relay events, though the meet takes about the same time to conduct.

We will form as many teams as possible this week, including mixed-parish groups, so it's extra important that idle athletes are listening for calls so we can find them. Many teams will be formed last-minute this week.

This meet is so special that it gets its own email, so stay tuned.

Meet times at YVH

Because of neighborhood rules about noise, we cannot use the PA system until 9:00am at Ygnacio Valley. As a result, we shift all our times about 1/2 later.
  • Setup crew starts at 8:30am - this is a quick setup this week
  • Athlete check-in and first shift starts at 9:00am
  • First event starts at 9:30am
I don't know the state of the construction work in their stadium, so be aware that the field entrance may have changed places since the last time you were there, either last season or at the War Path.

Students for hire at YVH

High school students are usually available to cover your volunteer shifts at YVH. The process is:
  • Contact Gina Marks no later than Wednesday of your intent so she can reserve a student
  • Get payment to me no later than Thursday in an envelope with your name and the meet date on it (March 29)
Cost is $25 per shift, paid in cash or a check made out to CTK CYO Track. I will reimburse YVH from the team funds.

Gina's contact details are on the Volunteers page of the web site:

I can be found at practice in the stands, usually looking amused. I love it when people pass me money.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Reminder: Bonus practice tomorrow, plus uniforms, shoes, results and ribbons!

Practices on Wednesday and Thursday

Just a reminder that tomorrow, March 19 is one of our "bonus Wednesday" practices at College Park, to help make up for the time we're off the track due to lacrosse. If you're able to make it, practice will run for the normal time, 5:00-6:30pm and we will meet in the stadium stands.
We will also have practice on Thursday at 5:00, meeting in the stadium stands.


Uniforms are in and the Crossman family is planning to pass out the remaining pieces. Look for them as you're coming down out of the parking lot.

I'm also bringing a large bin of used track shoes (aka "spikes") to practice this week, if any athletes are interested in a pair to wear at meets. If you have a serviceable but outgrown old pair from a past season, feel free to contribute to the bin.
Meet #1 Results

The results from the first meet are up and linked on our schedule page:
Note: on the Google Docs link, we are the "DVC" meet, not the "DV" meet (Dougherty Valley)
They are also broken out by athlete on doesn't cope well with co-ed relay teams, but the individual events should be in cleanly. Let me know if you spot a typo, especially on athlete names.
Ribbons should come from the league very soon, and they will go to on of our assembly and sorting volunteers. Personal best ribbons will also be heading out for sorting. We usually hand these out at the end of practice. Remember! First, second, and third place are great to get, but the personal bests are better -- those mean improvement.

Returning athletes are the first to earn these each season, but I hope everyone earns some over the course of the season.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Track news for the week of March 16

Meet #1 all done: thank you!

Our first official CYO meet of the season is complete! Track meets are complex, with a lot of moving parts. Thanks to all the volunteers who who got promoted into new and unexpected jobs last-minute, to the coaches for all their time and experience, and especially to the athletes, who are the reason we were all there. It was a lot of fun.

When results are available, I'll post a link to them from our schedule page.

I'll also get them posted on

Ribbons will come from the league in a few days, and returning athletes will earn a personal best award if they beat their marks from a previous season. All the rewards will appear at an upcoming practice when they're ready.

Lost and Found

I can barely face it. Dozens of things were left behind on Saturday. I'm planning to catalog the pile and put it on the web site today. It's staggering.

Please make sure you label all your athlete's belongings with their name, because stuff can and will get left behind. Last season I found unmatched track shoes after meets. Who leaves a single shoe behind? Children, that's who. Label everything!

Uniforms are in

If you did not see the Crossmans at the meet on Saturday, they were doing some brisk business up in the stands, handing out our uniforms. I'm not sure how many are unclaimed, but look for them to appear this week at practice if you did not pick up your order.

Unworn, unwashed shirts may be exchanged for another size if we have one available for your athlete's parish. Once worn or washed, the shirts are yours to keep.

Extra sweatshirts will also available for sale for $30. Great for keeping warm at the start of the meet, and fashionable for parents and athletes alike.

Practices this week: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

To work around lacrosse, we have a bonus practice scheduled this Wednesday. Same time and place, with one extra day on the track to work on field events and relays.
  • Tuesday: Meet on the blacktop by 5:00pm for dismissal into groups due to lacrosse game
  • Wednesday and Thursday: Meet in the stands at the track by 5:00pm
I am planning to bring the Big Bin of Gently Used Track Shoes to the later practices this week. If you have an older athlete -- or a responsible younger one with large feet --  they are welcome to a pair of "real" track shoes, provided their coach says it's OK. They won't need them at practice, which is why all these pairs are gently-used.

I also have extra spikes and wrenches if you need to swap out wrong or worn spikes, or have loose or or are missing any. Spikes come in many shapes and styles. At all CYO events, only pyramid-style spikes are allowed, 1/4" or shorter. I'm happy to help to identify them at practice if you're not sure what you have.

Meet #2 on Saturday March 22 at DVC

It's deja vu all over again...

Our second meet of the season will be back at DVC this Saturday. All times are the same:
  • Setup crew starts work at 8am
  • Athletes check in with coaches by 8:30am
  • First shift starts working at 8:30am
  • First event starts at 9:00am
We'll be running against different teams from the league this week. The usual request about being courteous and friendly applies, as well as being on time and in place for your volunteer shifts!

Rent-A-Student from College Park

To support their high school teams, Ygnacio Valley has run a "Rent-a-Student" program for a few years. Under this program, CYO families can hire a high school student to work their shift for them, in exchange for a $25-per-shift fee.

I'm happy to announce that College Park plans to offer students-for-hire at this Saturday's meet at DVC.

To take advantage of this you must:
  1. Inform Gina Marks that you plan to hire a student no later than Wednesday
  2. Get payment to me no later than end of practice on Thursday. The rate is $25 per shift.
Gina's email address is on the Volunteers page on the web site:
I hang out in the bleachers at practice, or on the blacktop when lacrosse games are going.

Please put your payment in an envelope with your name and the meet date (March 22) on the outside. You may pay the exact amount in cash or a check to CTK CYO Track.

Reservations are first-come, first-served, and preference will be given to families already scheduled to work this weekend. A limited number of athletes will be available, so please notify Gina right away. You will get credit for every shift reserved and paid for.

The number of high school helpers is at College Park's discretion. Hiring a student is optional, but it must be done in advance. No extra athletes will be available on meet day. The $25 fee should be considered a donation, and is not deducted from your deposit, but I will write a single check to College Park from our team, which will be received with gratitude.

Future Meets

Based on the official league schedule, we will have our third meet at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord. Coming up in two weeks is my personal favorite -- the Mary Chatterton Memorial Relay Meet. I'll have more about that in next week's newsletter.

Unofficially, we should also plan to be at YVH on April 5th and 12th. Easter is the weekend after that, and we don't hold any CYO activities that weekend.

That's enough for now: see you at practice!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reminder: Meet #1 this Saturday at DVC

Hello all, just a reminder that our first CYO meet is this Saturday at DVC.
  • Setup crew starts working at 8am
  • Athletes check in with coaches at 8:30am
  • First shift volunteers should be signed in by 8:30am
  • First event starts at 9:00am
Where is it?

DVC stadium, just across the street from practice. The parking lot opens on Viking Drive.

Park in the DVC lot and come into the stadium. There's no parking or admission fees for this meet.


They finally arrived! The Crossman family have them and are planning to distribute the uniforms at the meet on Saturday.

If you aren't able to pick it up for some reason, it's OK. They will make an appearance at upcoming practices, too.

Beat the heat

Athletes and volunteers both should drink lots of water on Saturday. Only water is allowed on the track and field. Please finish your morning coffee off the field.
All other food and drink must be eaten in the stands, including sports drinks.

Dress comfortably and wear sunscreen. It can be very warm on the field: volunteers, take note. Wear good shoes and plan for a lot of standing and walking around. A big hat would not be out of place.

What about events?

Athletes register on the field at the meet. We're not as organized as swim team. :-)

Read the "How a Meet Works" page on the site, and remember this is for fun. Keep a good attitude, be flexible, and smile!

See you on Saturday!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Meet #1 assignments and future Wednesday practices

As threatened, the job assignments for this Saturday's meet are posted on the team site.

If you signed up to work this meet -- or can't remember if you signed up -- look through the sheets for your name. Remember that we divide the meet into a morning and afternoon shift, with a special "away-side" shift during the 50m/100m events.
  • Setup crew should be ready to work at 8:00
  • First shift starts at 8:30
  • Away-side shift will be called during the older boys' 400m
  • Second shift will start around 11:30
* * *

Also, we'll have special Wednesday practices on the following dates to work around the lacrosse teams at College Park:
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 9
These will be in addition to the usual Tuesday/Thursday practices. All practice times are now 5:00-6:30pm thanks to the extra sunshine. If you can make it on Wednesdays, we'll be glad to see you there.

Practice times and links to the meet details are on the site's schedule page:

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Track news for the week of March 9

Hello again track families. Another long newsletter this week as we start our 2014 meet season.

War Path complete

Our first time at the War Path invitational went very well. Over half our team showed up to run in ideal weather, and I saw lots of smiles. I often say that for the athletes, track meets are like gigantic play dates, interrupted by the occasional race.

A number of other teams were represented too, giving us a preview of the season to come. CYO meets are run similarly to the War Path, minus the feathered hats.

All practices now 5-6:30pm

Daylight Savings means one hour less sleep, but it also means longer practice times. From now until the end of the season, practices are from 5-6:30pm. That's the good news.

The bad news is that College Park has a number of lacrosse games scheduled on Tuesdays. Plan to keep coming to College Park on our regular practice days, weather permitting. If a lacrosse game is going, we'll start out on the blacktop and then dismiss from there.

We also have Wednesdays to use this season, and we may start using those to work on field events or other track skills. We may reserve Tuesdays for conditioning runs. The coaches are working out their availability now, and we appreciate your patience and flexibility.

I'll post schedule updates to the web site, and send them around in email when we have it figured out.

First meets scheduled

The league has assigned locations for our first three meets:
  • Meet #1, March 15: Diablo Valley College
  • Meet #2, March 22, Diablo Valley College
  • Relay Meet, March 29: Ygnacio Valley High
I've updated the team's "Schedule" page:

DVC meets are in their stadium, just across Viking Drive from practice (but park at DVC.) YVH is on Oak Grove Rd and Treat Blvd in Concord, right around the corner from Trader Joe's.

Meet #1 this Saturday, March 15 at DVC

This is the first of four "practice" meets we hold over the season. It's a chance for the kids to apply what they've learned, and for the parents to learn new and exciting track skills. Remember that these are supposed to be fun and not stressful.
  • Setup crew should be on the field at 8:00am, ready to work
  • First shift should check in and be ready to work by 8:30am -- there will be a line, so plan ahead
  • Athletes should find their coaches by 8:30 to check in and start warming up
  • We hope to start the first event -- the 1600m -- at 9:00am
We are hosting this meet and others, so be gracious and friendly to the other teams' athletes and parents. There's no admission fee for any of our practice meets.

Here's the order of events for our practice meets, to help you plan your day:


I'm waiting impatiently for them to appear. Stay tuned...


If you're signed up to work at the next meet, first let me say thank you. CYO is completely volunteer-run, and we honestly can't hold meets without your help. Second, please check the forecast and dress appropriately, remembering to pack water for yourself as well as your athletes.

Volunteer assignments will be posted on the team site very soon, and I'll send email when they are. You should also get notification from the team volunteer reminders later in the week.

We usually have job openings on meet days. If you're available, you may check in to get assigned a postion.

Remember that we're asking families to work at least five "shifts" over the season. Families that exceed their commitment are entered into a drawing for fabulous prizes at the end of the season.
    Help! I'm new! What do I do?

    I've made a "Track 101" document on the web site that you can download and read at your leisure. There's diagrams of the layout of the meet, and short descriptions of each job.

    I plan to attach scanned copies of the paperwork to this document soon.

    For all events, athletes register when it opens for their grade, then they compete, and finally are placed (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.) when the event closes. A few days after the meet, results appear online, and ribbons and awards get handed out at practice some time later.

    Event registration-and-recording happens on paper. If you're working, you may be filling out the paper, or measuring throws or jumps, or pressing a timing button. Some special people get to make announcements, or rake sand, or reset high jump bars, or retrieve shot and softballs. All jobs are necessary to keep the meet moving smoothly. Working a job makes the day pass faster, too.

    Volunteer guidelines
    • Sign in on time at the big tents at the finish line. If you don't sign in, we can't give credit -- sorry. You'll get a sticker to wear once you are signed in and assigned a job.
    • Wear your volunteer sticker so we know you're allowed to be on the field.
    • Stay at your job for your whole shift, and make sure your replacement is in place before leaving. Don't just vanish at 11:30 or if it looks slow.
    • Ask questions if you don't understand something. We will have 2-way radios at every event this season.
    Most importantly...
    • Smile and enjoy! The athletes are there to have fun, and you should, too. 
    Athlete guidelines
    • Check in with your coach when you arrive.
    • Wear your athlete sticker so we know who you are and can record your results.
    • Stay with the clerks once you sign in for a race: don't just vanish to the bathrooms or field events.
    • Ask questions if you don't understand something.
    Most importantly...
    • Smile and enjoy! There will be fast runners and slow ones, long jumpers and short ones. You are there to do your best and set your times... not anybody else's!

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

    Reminder: War Path Invitational this coming Saturday, March 8

    Hello families, just a reminder that we are planning to attend a for-fun meet this Saturday at Ygnacio Valley High. Here's a recap, plus some frequently-asked questions:

    What, When, and Where

    The War Path Invitational is annual low-stress, all-comers meet hosted and run by the Ygnacio Valley High School track team. We spend a lot of time at YVH -- most of our 2013 meets were held there.

    This is a fundraiser for the YVH team, and not connected to CYO. Many CYO alums go on to run in area high school teams, so this helps keep track going not just for now, but the future, too.

    Ygnacio Valley High is in Concord, near the corner of Oak Grove Rd and Treat Blvd. There's a Trader Joe's plaza right on the corner, and the school entrance is on Oak Grove, just beyond the plaza.
    • Look for me or coaches in the YVH parking lot no later than 8:45am to sign in athletes.
    • Parents may enter the stadium at 9:00am. There is a $2 admission fee per spectator, and $5 for any non-team-members who want to participate. Exact change will be welcome, I'm sure.
    • The meet is scheduled to run from 9:30-12:30. You may leave early, but notify the athlete's coach before you go.
    Attendance is encouraged, especially if you or your athletes are new to track.

    Here's a copy of the meet details from YVH:

    Do I need to work volunteer time?

    No. This is not a CYO meet, so you don't need to work any shifts at this meet. This is purely for fun, so please enjoy being a spectator.

    I plan to be in the stands with you, and am happy to answer questions about what's going on. Meets can look like a big circus, but there is some structure to them, honest.

    The kids have a lot of fun hanging out with their track friends, even when they have to stop playing now and then to run a race.

    What events?

    The running event order is very similar to CYO:

    4x100m Relay
    4x400m Relay

    The following field events will be offered:

    High Jump
    Long Jump
    Shot Put

    Coaches are sure to have opinions about what athletes should try, and athletes should be flexible and willing to try new things.

    I've heard whispering that the coaches may also run in a relay. If it comes through, I promise you that this is a spectacle not to be missed.

    What about uniforms/sweatshirts?

    Uniforms are not required at this event, which is good news, since they haven't shown up from the printers yet.

    If you have a shirt from a previous season or from cross country, feel free to wear it. If not, don't worry about it. Everyone should dress appropriately for the weather, bring water, etc., just like you do for practice.

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

    Track news for the week of March 2

    Practice from 5:00-6:05 this week

    It's our last week before the move to Daylight Savings time. We'll go until 6:05pm this week.

    Starting next week, practice will go until 6:30pm. That's as late as we'll go for the rest of the season.

    Lacrosse at College Park

    It looks like the high school has a number of home lacrosse games coming up in March, right on our practice days. This may mean some reshuffling around on our part. Always check the team schedule page on the web site for updates:

    Our permit also includes Wednesdays, and we may need to shift schedules on some weeks to stay out of the way of the high school teams.

    War Path Invitational, this Saturday, March 8

    This for-fun practice meet is coming up this Saturday at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord. I'm planning to arrive no later than 8:30 and will try to park under the solar panels.

    Due to neighborhood noise regulations, we're not allowed in the YVH stadium until 9:00, so we'll try to gather in the parking lot. If the gates are open, we'll pass through to the basketball courts. Look for the team, or for me or a coach to direct you.

    Athletes: Check in with your coach by 8:45 so we can get a full headcount. We'll go in together and warm up as a team.

    Families: Drop off your athletes with the coaches and then head into the stadium at 9:00. You will need to pay a $2 spectator admission to YVH at the gate.

    This is the first time we've tried this event, and I hope to make it a tradition.

    Your first track meet?

    Prepare yourself for short bursts of excitement punctuated by longer periods of watching other children competing. Clap for everybody, and remember this is about fun, not coming in first every time.

    Be comfortable! Bring a stadium cushion or blanket for the bleachers, and extra water and healthy snacks for you and your athletes. YVH may have a snack table set up, so a little extra cash would be a good idea. Dress in layers, and bring sunscreen just in case. I'm expecting the bathrooms on campus to be open, which is a short walk from the track.

    As with any facility, food and drink is allowed in the stands, but never on the track or turf. Plain water only may be brought to the track. Alcohol and tobacco use is banned everywhere in the facility.

    More questions? There's a much longer write up on the web site geared for our own CYO meets:


    I've put in the order for the shirts and sweatshirts, and expect them to be delivered to me sometime this week. We'll get them sorted and hand them out at a practice before the first meet -- perhaps just before. Surplus sweatshirts will be available for sale once we've handed out the pre-orders.

    Since our team is actually made up of three parishes, you'll notice that our shirts are three different colors: red for Christ the King, blue for St. Catherine's, and gold for St. Stephen's. Which parish athletes belong to is based on home address or if they are students in the parish school or religion classes.

    For most of the season, the parish breakdown doesn't matter. We train as one big team, and you'll see us mix and match as needed to fill out relay teams at practice meets. Once we run the Qualifying meet at the end of April, though, we have to button down the relays into parish-pure groups. This is a bitter pill for all the smaller parishes in CYO, not just ours. It's also a long way off, and not something that should be a source of worry or stress.

    Save the date: Team Picnic Saturday, May 31

    Though the season is just starting, we're already planning for team potluck picnic and awards ceremony.  This year's picnic will be at the same location as last year's, at Pleasant Hill Park, site #3, next to the teen center, under the shade shelter.

    Athletes and their families are encouraged to attend. We'll pass out end-of-season awards, comb through the lost and found pile, and draw prizes for families that worked extra shifts. Please plan to attend if you can!