Sunday, May 25, 2014

Track news for the week of May 25

That moment you've been waiting for: the final newsletter of the 2014 season!

Team Picnic and Awards, Saturday May 31, Pleasant Hill Park, 11:30-3:30

We'll get together one last time as a team to pass out any remaining ribbons from the season, and recognize athletes, coaches, and you, the hardworking volunteer families.

The picnic is potluck style, so please being a side dish or dessert to share with everyone else. Also bring something to grill for your own family if you like, and don't forget plates, napkins and utensils. There's usually no shortage of food, and the event is very informal and casual. Please, no alcohol.

We're at site #3, under the shady wooden structure next to the Teen Center and the main parking lot on Gregory:

The team will provide canned sodas and water, and the charcoal grills should be hot around lunchtime.

After lunch, we'll divide into practice groups, and then regather as a team for awards. All the lost and found will be at the picnic, and unclaimed items become our traditional team donation to Goodwill.

Volunteer deposit checks

It took us a little while to compile the final list, but if your volunteer deposit is in jeopardy, you should have received an email from me by now. Thanks to everyone for stepping up and helping this season.

If you did not receive an email from me, then your check will be run through a commercial shredder and turned into a fine confetti.

CYO cross country starts in August

Signups and practices for cross country season traditionally happen around mid-August. Coach Matt Milton heads this up. Keep your eye on the team web site and on the CC team's Twitter feed: @CYO_Xcountry 

Cross country is a great strength-building sport and a lot of fun!

That's all, folks

And that should be it for this season! I'm still looking into getting new uniforms for next season, so watch for updates on the web site about that. St. Stephen's will get a mascot as part of the makeover -- I'm leaning towards "Stallions" over "Stone Cutters," personally.

Signups for the team will be in January, practices in February, and meets will start up again in March. It'll be here before you know it, so please tell your friends and classmates about our program. I hope to see you all at the picnic, and at the track.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reminder: Diocese meet Friday and Saturday

Just a quick reminder about this weekend's activities:

The 800m and 1600m events for the diocese championship meet run Friday night, May 9, at James Logan High School in Union City:

Please allow enough time to arrive. It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to well over an hour to get there from the Pleasant Hill area, depending on traffic. It will very likely be cold there, and athletes are strongly encouraged to wear multiple layers, and even bring a blanket to stay under until your races. You can always peel off a layer if you get too warm.

# # #
On Saturday May 10, we're back at Granada High in Livermore for the parade and remainder of the events:
First shift volunteers need to check in with Gina or I next to the snack shack by 7:45 on Saturday so we know you're there and ready to start. Assignments are on the team site:
Backups need to check in too.

AM stands and staging marshals will begin at 8am, 4x100 judges at 8:15, and everybody else at 8:30. After the parade and opening ceremonies the meet will start in earnest.
Admission and spike check will be handled at the entrance gates to Granada. Our team will be set up in the away-side stands: look for the team banner.

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Thank you all again for a great season, congratulations to the qualifiers, and good luck to all competitors!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Team qualifiers for the diocese meet posted

Hello again everyone,

Sorry about the hangups with the results. I have put together a list of athletes who qualified for this weekend's meet, with their marks from Friday and Saturday. I'm waiting for the final blessing from the league to publish the complete results.

Our team's qualifiers are:

There's sheets of qualifiers by athlete so you can see them all together, and in the order of events so you can schedule your weekend. I'm sure you just clicked that link right away and aren't even reading this part, so I'll wait here until you get back...

* * *

Welcome back!

I'm very pleased to see that our team has a qualifier in every event but one. That's a testament to the hard work the coaches and kids have put in all season.

If your athlete has a "1/2/3" in the "Place" column, they are a qualifier and will compete in their events on Friday or Saturday. If they are listed as "ALT" then they are an alternate. As was the case as sectionals, alternates are not guaranteed to compete.

The clerks use a pre-sorted list to rotate among alternates to fill open lanes. Please adjust your athlete's expectations accordingly. Alternates need to check in when the event is called and stay with the clerks until the race is walked out to the track or until dismissed by someone in charge in the clerk area.

Field events are run in parallel to races, and athletes must check in to the field events as soon as they are called. If they are pulled away to race, they need to inform the event judge (the person with the clipboard) before running off. This should be very familiar territory by now. Alternates should check in here, too, when the event opens.

Coaches, random athletes, and parents are not allowed in the clerk pen, or on the field for any reason unless you are conscripted, er, "volunteered" to work a job. No news yet on what we're scheduled to work.

Athletes do not need stickers at the diocese meet, but you do need to be in uniform. No look-alike t-shirts this week. Contact me if you never picked yours up for some reason, and I'll bring it to practice this week. A warm under-layer is fine, but an athlete's uniform needs to be clearly visible when they are competing.

Friday distance events at James Logan High, 6:30pm start:

The 1600m event starts at 6:30, followed by the 800m.  Athletes waiting for their events need to keep warm. One or more of the coaches should be present that evening.

Saturday remaining events at Granada High, 8:30am start:

Coaches have a meeting on the field at 8:00am sharp. Early arrival is key for everyone this week.

Again, no stickers are required, but we especially want to know if our relay teams are complete. Look for me or the coaches in the away-side stands.

The parade will hopefully get started by 8:30am -- don't miss it! -- and then the calls for the 4x100m relays will begin with the eighth grade girls race.

Please run off a copy of the program for yourself:

The order of events on page 4 is close-but-not-really to our own practice meets, and if the diocese has their usual head clerk in charge this week, I promise you she runs a tight ship down there.

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.