Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 season signups are coming

Hello everyone, and happy new year. The 2016 CYO track and field season is about a month away, and we're due to have signups soon. Expect us to gather in a classroom at Christ the King school around the end of January. We also take signups during practice for a while.

Since we've moved to online scheduling of volunteer time, signups should be considerably simpler now. We still need actual paperwork turned in, and if you're enrolling a new athlete, we'll also need a few other things from you. I'll get the web site updated with these details.

General Details

I haven't been past College Park lately to check on the construction, but I've set up the permits for our usual schedule:
  • Practices at 5pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting in February
  • Meets on weekends starting in March, dates and locations TBD by the league
  • No meet or practice on Easter weekend
  • Championship meets at the end of April/start of May
  • Team picnic at the end of May
The diocese has posted the all-sports calendar for 2015-2016 on their site:

I'm hoping we'll be able to practice at College Park, and I've added Pleasant Hill Middle as a backup site once we move to daylight savings time. Fingers crossed, everybody.


Just a reminder that this is the Christ the King/St. Catherine/St. Stephens CYO teams, covering Pleasant Hill, Martinez, and part of Walnut Creek.

If you have an athlete attending school or religious education classes in a different parish, then you need to seek out the CYO team for your parish. The league is very strict about this rule.

If your athlete does not attend a parish school or RE, then team membership is based on the athlete's home address:

Athletes and families need not be Catholic to participate: tell your friends/classmates/neighbors.

Team Jobs

My own schedule is changing this season, so it's vital that experienced families step up to take on responsibilities for the team.

We still have the following openings that need to be filled ASAP:
  • Treasurer
  • Registration, roster, and paperwork wrangling
  • Webmaster and results management
As always, completing a team job also relieves your family from having to work meet weekends, unless you also have a burning desire to shag softballs or rake sand pits. We certainly won't stop you from extra volunteering...

Monday, June 1, 2015

2015 Track and Field Season is done!

Hello everyone. There's a last bit of end-of-season business to take care of.


We had our team picnic on Sunday, and despite a breezy and cool start, we had a nice day overall, with lots of food, fun, and awards-a-plenty. I will publish the full list of award recipients up on the team site soon.

If you were not able to attend the picnic and your athlete has leftover ribbons from near the end of the season, either they came home with me, or a kind neighbor or classmate picked them up for you at the picnic. I'll send an email around to families with things leftover, and you'll have about a month to claim them.

Watch for a Twitter update when the awards list goes online, and a direct email if your family has something it needs to pick up from my house.

Helpful Families

Special thanks to the families who went above-and-beyond this year. I have prizes for our raffle winners that need to be picked up. They'll be combined with your athlete's awards, if you are owed any.

We also drew for free uniforms for next season, and I have that list set aside for next season's registration.

Shoe Donations

If you have the good luck to be coming to my house anyway, feel free to return or donate track shoes (spikes) that are still in wearable condition. We'll pass them along to athletes next year.

There will be a labeled bin on my porch for those, and thank you in advance for your support!

Summer, and next season

You'll get email about CYO cross country when it gets closer, typically around mid-August. Anyone with an eligible athlete will be notified, and the team will pull together its final list from registration. I hear that coaches Matt and Evelyn would be happy for an assistant or two this season.

The preliminary schedule is up for next year's track meets. It's online at:

Please help to keep our numbers strong by recruiting friends and classmates to run track! I know a number of the middle schools have their own meet in the springtime, and we're especially short on those upper grades.

Keep the team running strong!

We need coaching help for next season. Coaches are the heart of the program, and we've been very fortunate to have such dedicated (and patient) volunteers helping us out over the years, even when that means putting up with me. If you like to run and have good cat-herding skills, then CYO coaching is surely your destiny.

The team also needs families to cover many administrative roles: lost and found wrangler, team treasurer, awards coordinator, webmaster/data wizard, and co-coordinator. My time is going to be very limited next season, so a smooth transition now will make a big difference in 2016.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Track reminder: end-of-season potluck picnic and awards

Hi everyone, I hope you've been enjoying the radio silence from me for the past two weeks. We have just one more event for the team this year.

Team Picnic: Sunday, May 31 - 11:30-3:00, Pleasant Hill Park

This is an all-are-welcome affair, for team athletes and their families. As school winds down and summer begins, it's a good way for everyone to say goodbye-for-now to teammates and to collect ribbons, awards, and advice from the coaches.

Bring something to grill for your family if you like, and a picnic-y dish to share on the potluck table. There's no signups for dishes: bring what you can and don't forget to take things home at the end! The team provides drinks (cold sodas and water), hot grills, and entertainment in the form of lost-and-found rummaging and the afternoon awards.

Site is Pleasant Hill Park, under the shady shelter next to the teen center, near the corner of Gregory and Cleaveland.

RSVP if you haven't already so we can plan drinks and charcoal:

Remember to bring plates, napkins, and utensils, too.

See you at the picnic!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Track news for the week of May 10

2015 season: that's a wrap

Friday and Saturday were our final events of this season: thanks to the volunteers for helping out and the athletes for giving us a lot of excitement. Competition at the diocese level is strong, and everyone should be proud of how far they've come this season.

I picked up leftover field event awards from our team at the end of Saturday's meet, and will bring them to the picnic.

Results from the meet will be posted at the Oakland diocese web site in due time. I'll add a link to them from our team pages and post on Twitter when they show up.

There's a little end-of-season bookkeeping that I'll be doing now, including contacting families who fell short on their volunteer time and are forfeiting their deposit. Unless you hear from me soon -- or your bank -- you may assume that your deposit check is shredded into a fine confetti. I hope to have this done by the end of the week.

Awards & Picnic

There are many unclaimed awards from past meets, including Sectionals, and a few personal bests awards as well. These will all be at the picnic as extra enticement to attend. Coaches will meet with athletes and hand them out.

RSVP for the picnic online through the signup site so we know how many drinks to purchase and which awards to get sorted:

The picnic is May 31, three weeks from today, at Pleasant Hill Park:

Picnic potluck lunch starts around 11:30am, with awards to follow around 1:00pm. Very casual, bring the family, and hang out with your track friends one last time before summer.

If you can't make it but a friend or classmate will, please have them check for any ribbons or awards for your athlete. Unclaimed awards wind up in a box on my front porch for a while this summer.

Track Shoe Amnesty Program

If you borrowed a pair of track shoes from the team this season and they are still in wearable condition, you can bring them to the picnic to drop off.

If you happened to buy a new or used pair this year, or have outgrown pairs littering up the closet floor, the team is happy to accept donations for future seasons. Thank you!

Keeping you busy this weekend

Now that your weekends are free again, here's some opportunities to fill them up.

The CTK Parish Festival starts on Friday the 15th and runs through the weekend. This is a fun social event with carnival-type games, food, and that most sacred activity: bingo.

You're bound to see more than a few CYO athletes past and present at the festival.

The 2nd Annual St. Catherine's Food and Wine Jubilee is on Saturday the 16th, at St. Catherine's school in Martinez, if your tastes tend towards the slightly more grown-up.

College Park Track and Field fundraiser is also on Saturday the 16th, at Concord Ford in Concord. They will give CP $20 per person that comes in and leaves their contact details with the dealer. Be sure to mention the CP Track & Field program.

Many of our athletes go on to run for College Park and other area high schools. You can help keep those programs afloat with a small sacrifice of your time and email address.

Keeping you busy this summer

Pleasant Hill hosts a 5K "fun run" the morning of the Fourth of July, and you'll see good turnout from CYO coaches and athletes there. It's a loop around the downtown area, and then you're in a perfect spot to see the parade.

De La Salle has a summer track day camp held on campus for a week or two, for athletes going into grades 4 through 9. There was a Groupon last year that knocked a bit off the registration cost.

CYO cross-country starts up in August. It's low-key and lots of fun, with meets held along marked trails in local parks. Expect email about this program later in the summer.

Volunteers for 2016

Coming back to track next season? We have many openings for team-level jobs to help with general administration.

I highly encourage families to step up while I can train you in the relative calm of the post-season. All of these positions are essential.

Also, we're always on the lookout for parents willing to train as assistant coaches next year. With a team our size, we can use the help to keep practices running smoothly. About 2-3 coaches per practice group is a comfortable amount of crowd control/cat herding.

Working either a team job or being a certified coach or coordinator fulfills your volunteer obligations for the team. The glamour and glory come for free.

Thank you

Since the coaches and I won't see you for a few weeks, thank you for helping us make this a successful season! We appreciate the sacrifices you've made working the meets, and getting athletes to practice.

The coaches and I take genuine pleasure seeing your children grow and improve, and will gladly take credit for their future successes. I hope CYO was positive for them, and that they remembered our number one goal: having fun.  (Hopefully, fun enough to recruit friends for next season.) Thanks again for helping us keep this program going.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reminder: diocese events this weekend

Hello all, just a quick reminder about the diocese meet events this weekend.

Volunteer Assignments for Saturday are online

I'll be by the snack shack at the start of the meet to check people in, and at the middle of the day for the same.  Our team has relatively few positions to fill this weekend, and I appreciate your help in keeping the meet going.

Friday 800m/1600m events at Moreau High School, Hayward

The distance events are this Friday on Hayward, in the following order:

Coaches Meeting 6:00 pm
1600 Meter begins at 6:30 pm

1600 METER —
3 4 5 6 7 8 GIRLS
3 4 5 6 7 8 BOYS

800 METER —
3 4 5 6 7 8 GIRLS
3 4 5 6 7 8 BOYS

Please dress warm if you are attending this event, especially athletes. Layer up and keep your muscles warm.

Saturday parade and events at Granada High School, Livermore

All the remaining events will be held at Granada High again on Saturday, after the opening parade. If you have an athlete in the 4x100m, it will start right after the parade and awards conclude. This always seems to take a little while to get going. As the first team alphabetically in Section 1, we lead the parade. Exciting!

Meet program:

Meet event locations:  (same as last week)

Unless you are working a volunteer shift or have an early event, you do not need to be at the meet first thing. However, please take into account that this meet is very popular, with teams from the entire Oakland diocese represented. The lot usually fills up in the morning, and lines at the gates will be long.

There is an admission fee at this meet, and the diocese typically sells T-shirts right near the main entrance to the field. The snack shack will be doing brisk business, too, I'm sure.

Our team will be encamped in the away-side stands near the entrance to the baseball field and surrounding lawn area.

Like any meet: listen for the calls. Reporting to races is the priority. Check in at field events when they are called. Remember that the event order is unusual at this meet. If an athlete needs to be in two places at once tell me or a coach and we can get them checked in at a field event.

That's enough: have fun!

I've taken more than enough of your attention. Coach Trish will be at Friday's events, and I'll be there nice and early on Saturday. In all the excitement, remember to have fun! That's the most important part.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Final Sectional results are up

Thanks for your patience everyone. Final results from Thursday and Saturday's events are up on the league's page:

I've pulled out the results for our team into two PDFs:

Places first through third are highlighted as progressing, with fourth-place highlighted as alternates. Congratulations to qualifiers, and well done to everyone -- I think I have a new batch of personal bests to put together!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Track news for the week of May 3

Sectionals complete, on to Diocese

Thursday and Saturday were our sectional championships. Congratulations to everyone who competed, regardless of final placement. Results and ribbons should be coming soon. We'll surely have a backlog of them to hand out at the picnic, too.

The top three finishers in the Sectional events should advance to the finals, with fourth place as an alternate. The usual disclaimer about alternates applies: they aren't guaranteed to compete, but it's a good idea to show up. They are placed according to a random rotation among the three sections on meet day.

The only exception that I'm aware of is the 4x400m relays. The top three fastest boys and girls teams overall from Saturday will progress, independent of grade.  Citing tradition, the diocese only runs two heats of this event.

The Sprint Medley is run by grade, as usual.

Final practices Tuesday & Thursday

Our last two! Tuesday at Pleasant Hill Middle, Thursday at College Park, 5:00-6:30pm. All athletes on the team are welcome to attend, not just finalists.

Friday: 800m and 1600m events

Friday, May 8 at Moreau High School, Hayward, 6:00pm start (first race 6:30pm)

Top finishers in the distance events get to travel to Moreau High on Friday evening. This is a different location than past seasons.

School site: Moreau Catholic High School
Google maps:

Athletes who ran in and placed in both the 800m and 1600m at Sectionals had to select one of these events to compete in this Friday. They were asked this question when they finished their 800m on Saturday. I'll send that around to coaches in case anyone needs a reminder.

There's no admission fee to Friday's races. Athletes should be in uniform and remember their names in lieu of wearing a sticker.

Saturday: parade and remaining events

Saturday, May 9 at Granada High School, Livermore, 8:30am start

Same song, second verse. Back to Livermore if your athlete qualified at Sectionals. There's an all-diocese "parade of champions" before the meet which our team leads, as we come earliest in the alphabet in the first section. All team athletes are welcome to march in the parade.

Here's most of the program, minus the diocese event records:

I recommend you keep a copy close at hand. The officials at this meet are even bigger sticklers about missed calls than the league. I still get mixed up on the event order at this meet.

If an athlete is waiting with the clerks for a race, a coach or I should be able to check them in at a field event. Athletes still need to be prompt about reporting right after their race, though.

There's the same small admission fee to Saturday's event: $4 and $2. This is listed in the program. Arrive early and beat the lines. Look for the CTK group in the same place, by the away stands near the baseball field.

Athletes should be in uniform, and will not need stickers. Those are just done by our league to keep our results organized.


Did your athlete make it to diocese? Congratulations! Expect to be contacted about volunteer assignments for Saturday. This will go online via Signup Genius as soon as we know what positions our team needs to fill.


Have you RSVP'd yet? Please do:

The team provides cold drinks and hot charcoal grills: you bring something to grill for your family and something to share with the team. Salads, fruit -- picnic fare, nothing fancy.

Picnic is from around 11:30-3:00 on Sunday May 31 at Pleasant Hill Park. We should have the fires hot by noonish, and we'll start awards around 1:00pm. All team athletes welcome -- not just qualifiers.

Our site is the covered tables near the youth center, at Gregory and Cleaveland:

Look for the team banner, and the Lost & Found collection airing out on a tarp.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Reminder: Sectional Meet on Saturday, May 2

Just a quick reminder that the balance of the DVCL Sectional Championships is this Saturday, May 2 at Granada High in Livermore.

The meet starts at 8:30am sharp, and they call the 4x100m relays early, so plan to arrive early, and then try to be there a bit before.

Order of events is different than practice meets, so please have a copy of this on hand:

Sectionals are popular, and our team usually gets together in the away-side stands or the lawn near the corner where the 200m races line up. It's less crowded back there. The team's banner will be hung near our encampment.

I labeled an old Google Maps shot to show how the meet is usually set up:

Volunteer assignments are linked from our team site and listed on Signup Genius:

Remember to Bring
  • Cash for the gate: $4 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors - exact change if you can manage
  • Extra cash for programs, the snack shack, maybe a winery on the way home :-)
  • Water and sun protection
  • A copy of the order of events
When You Arrive (early!)
  • Check in with Gina or Mike at the Snack Shack if you have a volunteer job or are an assigned "fill-in" person.
  • Have your athlete(s) check in with their coaches. The league reversed course, so Coach Trish has stickers for athletes to wear.
  • Find a spot to sit: you can be with the team or on your own, but listen for the calls. This is vital.
  • All tents and umbrellas need to be in the back rows of the stands, or on the lawn where they don't block views and traffic. There's a camera system at the finish line, and the area opposite is supposed to be kept clear.
Meet Rules
  • Athletes check-in on the softball field behind the snack shack for races and the field event locations as usual for jumping and throwing. No parents or coaches may be in the clerk area or helicoptering around the field events. You may escort athletes to the gate, but not go beyond. Marshals are stationed at each gate to gently yet firmly turn you away. Pestering a meet official will get your athlete disqualified.
  • Check-in ONLY when the grade is called. Events will close. Races take priority. If an athlete is jumping/throwing and hears their race called, they need to:
    1. Tell the event official that they have a race and which race it is
    2. Get to the clerks behind snack shack, sign in, and stay there
    3. Return to the field event as soon as their race is over
I can't over-emphasize the value in paying attention to the calls. There is only one heat of each race, and athletes who don't show up to the clerks will forfeit their lane to the alternates. The league meet is usually a tightly-run operation and calls should come quickly.
  • Alternates check in as soon as the race is called. Alternates in races need to stay put with the clerks. You won't know if you're running until the head clerk closes the event or all the regular athletes check in. I would recommend staying until they are actually walked out to the start line.
Most Importantly

Have fun! It's awesome if your athlete places, and I hope they do. This is a best-of-the-best meet from our section, and the competition will be strong.

Please keep your athletes focused on what matters: trying for personal bests, hanging out with their teammates, and enjoying the day. Whether they leave the track with a first-place finish, or just a pat on the shoulder and a "maybe next time," keep always your senses of sportsmanship and perspective.

See you at the track.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Relay teams on the qualifying list

As many of you have pointed out, the relay teams on that qualifying list I sent around earlier are only listed under the athlete who ran fourth on the team. The full results should have all the teammates listed, but I don't have those yet. Everyone gets points for attention to detail. :-)

The qualifying relays from our team are:

3rd Grade    CTK    4x100 Relay    Boys
3rd Grade    CTK    Sprint Medley  Boys
6th Grade    CTK    4x100 Relay    Boys
7th Grade    CTK    4x100 Relay    Girls
7th Grade    SC     4x100 Relay    Girls
7th Grade    CTK    Sprint Medley  Girls
8th Grade    CTK    4x100 Relay    Boys
8th Grade    SC     4x400 Relay    Boys
8th Grade    CTK    4x400 Relay    Boys
8th Grade    CTK    Sprint Medley  Boys

Usually, the same athletes run together at Sectionals that ran on the qualifying teams. If an athlete can't make it, the coaches can make substitutions. Please let them know now so they can plan and start rounding up substitute runners.

Email contacts are on our team site:

CTK/SC/SS qualifiers list

I've just posted the list of qualifying athletes who are moving on to compete from our team on Thursday and/or Saturday:
Races started in lanes have a lane assignment. Lanes listed as "Alt" are alternates, and there are up to 3 per race. Alternate #1 will be the first substitution in for a missing athlete, then alternate #2, then alternate #3.

Note: relay teams do not show all the members of the team, just the 4th leg. The full team does appear in the meet results.

Field events and distance events have neither lane assignments nor alternates. Everyone shown in those events will compete.

I also have posted a scanned copy of the order of events from the program. It's different than our normal meet order, so consider bringing a copy with you to the meet. Programs usually sell out fast at the gate.

Despite what this sheet says, I have been assured that athletes do not need stickers this weekend. As long as they remember their names, we're in good shape. All events have pre-printed sheets with the athletes names.

We're working on volunteer assignments now. Expect an email from either me directly, or from Signup Genius when they are ready. Families with qualifying athletes should anticipate another day on the field helping out.

I'll post the full results from our meet as soon as they are available -- stay tuned.

Sectionals update

Hi families, a quick update...

Results coming soon

I attended the league seeding meeting last night, which places the top finishers from the qualifying meets into their events. Our three parishes are well-represented, and you should be proud of your athletes for their hard work.

In general, the top three finishers overall in events are moving forward. Fourth place is an "alternate," which means that athlete becomes a substitute in case another seeded athlete can't compete on Saturday. Alternates are not guaranteed to run. They report to the event, and then bite their nails until last call to see if they get a lane assignment.

In the 800m and 1600m, it's the top four finishers. It's the top four in field events as well. Since all four are in automatically, there's no alternates for these events. Everyone listed in the final results will compete.

I hope to get these  today, and posted online right after.

Mile on Thursday at YVH

The 1600m event will be on Thursday at YVH, starting at 6pm. Order of events is:
  1. Girls grades 3-5
  2. Boys grades 3-5
  3. Girls grades 6-8
  4. Boys grades 6-8
Older kids especially should plan to dress warmly to wait their turn. We cannot use a PA system at this meet, so it's very important that athletes pay attention to what's happening and not miss their race. Arrive early and remember the Treat Boulevard traffic.

There should be no admission fee charged at Thursday's event.

Practice Thursday at College Park

We have enough coaches to cover, so if your athlete is not participating in the mile event, practice will be at College Park as usual this week.

Remaining events on Saturday at Granada High, Livermore

All other events will start at 8:30am sharp on Saturday, May 2 at Granada High in Livermore.

There is a small admission fee on Saturday. The usual breakdown is $4 for adults, and $2 for seniors and school-age children. Exact change will be greatly appreciated by the gate volunteers.

Athletes in uniform and coaches with their current cards are free.

There's also a "spike check" at the gate. Athletes with track shoes need to present them for inspection. They are looking for 1/4" (or smaller) pyramid spikes. I have extra metal spikes of this style and wrenches if we need to do a replacement.

The gate will be very, very busy on Saturday. It's impossible to arrive too early. The 4x100 relays start calling at 8:10am. Please don't miss your races because you are stuck in line.


We have a few assignments for Saturday, and for the Diocese meet as well. Gina and I will get these online soon.

That's it for now. I'll have more when the results show up.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Track news for the week of April 26

Qualifying complete

Saturday marked the start of our championship meets. I know there were a number of PRs set on Saturday. Those, more than a top finish, are always the goal, because it means improvement.

Special thanks to the volunteers who stepped up and worked extra shifts above and beyond their team requirement, to ensure that we got out of the meet on time. Double extra thanks to the timers and recorders who battled timing system headaches, and to everyone as we gave a new app-based camera system a trial run.

What's next

All the coordinators get together for a seeding meeting on Monday night to review the results before they are published. I know the wait is difficult, especially for the events where we had multiple heats.

Practice is open to all athletes. We have only a handful left!

Tuesday we're at Pleasant Hill Middle as usual.

Thursday's practice is up in the air. See below...

Sectional Meet

The Sectional Meet is this coming weekend: the qualifiers from this past Saturday will go on to compete. Their families will be signed up help out at Saturday's meet in Livermore. We'll assign families via Signup Genius once I get our team assignments on Monday night.

In the interest of time, the 1600m event is not held on Saturday. We run each race in their own heat, which takes about two hours overall.

Due to scheduling drama this year, the 1600m event will be held Thursday April 30, at Ygnacio Valley High, starting at 6pm sharp. The league wants athletes to arrive 45 minutes early.

Treat Boulevard traffic is completely awful at that time of day if you're coming from the Pleasant Hill side of 680. Please plan your drive time accordingly. It takes me about 15-20 minutes from downtown Concord to come up Oak Park Boulevard, which may be a better route.

The coaches and I need to figure out how this change affects practice. I'll be helping conduct the 1600m, and I'm sure coaches of qualifiers will want to be there too. Stay tuned for updates.

Awards & Picnic

We have ribbons for Meet #4 to be sorted and distributed, we'll have PR ribbons from Saturday, and (I hope) a few more 7-up patches as well. And there should be ribbons from Qualifying, too. We'll keep bringing them to practice, so please keep sending your athletes in to claim them, and maybe get a little exercise as well.

Unclaimed rewards can be gathered at the picnic on May 31. I hope you're planning to attend, and have RSVP'd:

This is lots of fun, and super low-stress. We recognize some athletes with special team awards voted on by the coaches. We also hold the super-helpful volunteer family prize drawing, marvel at the lost and found pile, and eat far too much.

The picnic is for the whole team and families.

Thank You!

If your family is done for the season, thank you for your support and your time, and for helping out with CYO. It takes a lot of cooperation to make these weekends a success, and a lot of patience to stick out a four- or five-hour meet. I hope your athletes had a good time this season, and will think about track next year, too.

In late summer, CYO also has a cross-country program: think track, run in a park. This is getting more popular every year, and if you're looking for a change from soccer -- and your athlete wants to tackle some distances -- cross country would be worth a look. You'll see a lot of familiar faces, and will get email about signups when they come around, typically in August.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Qualifying Meet

As threatened, here's an overview of this Saturday's meet. I'll spare you the long-winded version, though you can read last-season's email online if you're having trouble sleeping.

Saturday will run almost the same as our practice meets, with a few changes:
  • Second graders are promoted. All second graders and younger now compete as third graders.
  • No middle-shift 50m/100m. All events have the same finish line this week.
  • Relay teams must be "pure." We can't run a mixed-parish relay or form co-ed teams. CTK, St. Catherine, and St. Stephen are different parishes.
  • Placement is overall in the event. No matter how many heats we run, there will be only one overall first, second, and third-place finisher. The popsicle sticks indicate how an athlete finished in the heat, not overall.
General Meet Rules
  • No extra people on the track or field. Only checked-in volunteers and athletes being staged for an event may be on the field. Coaches and families need to camp in the vast open spaces of the DVC stands. This is good practice for Sectionals, when athletes are disqualified (!) for loitering.
  • No pacing or calling out split times. Since everyone will be in the stands, this won't be an issue, right? Stay away from the track in general and you'll be fine.
  • Keep perspective, and have fun. Make frequent use of the Golden Rule, and remember this event is for the athletes' enjoyment, not their adults.
Athletes, please remember...
  • Compete in at most 2 races and 1 field event, or 2 field events and 1 race. Don't run in three races, or try to sneak a fourth event in. Your results will get scratched, and you may be disqualified from the day. Relays never count towards this total.
  • Listen for the calls. Check in at your field events when they open for your grade. Stay with the clerks when you check in for a race.
The final list of qualifiers will come out after all the coordinators get together for a seeding meeting. Then we'll move into Sectionals, and start wrapping up our season.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Track news for the week of April 19

Meet #4 recap

Saturday's meet was the end of our practice meets. It was certainly a nice day, and I hope everyone enjoyed DVC again. I appreciate everyone helping out to keep the meet going, especially families who had completed their commitment but worked extra anyway. You'll be in the prize drawing at the end of the season.

Remember that all the helping out is really to benefit the kids and to keep the meets safe and fun. Trust me when I say that track meets feel much longer when you're sitting in the stands. (Wait until high school.)

Events this week

Practices as usual on Tuesday at PH Middle and Thursday at College Park. Cross your fingers that we have no more lacrosse surprises this season.

The Qualifying Meet is Saturday the 25th at DVC, and I'll have a special email out about this soon.

If you're missing the meet on Saturday due to other commitments like first communion or soccer, then your meets are probably done for the season. Attendance at the Qualifying meet is mandatory for individual events. As a diocese-based organization, CYO especially encourages you to prioritize holy sacraments over short sprints!

There's a chance that some athletes could be called on as substitutes for qualifying relay teams, so please don't block track entirely from your mind and schedule.

We need volunteer help this weekend, too. Please consider picking up a bonus shift or two so we can run the meet and get everyone home on time.


Regardless of qualifying status, all athletes on the team are welcome and encouraged to come to practices as usual. Our last practice is Thursday, May 7.

Also regardless of qualifying status, you'll keep getting peppered with these emails until the end of the season. Consider it a free gift to you from the team.


Starting with this weekend's meet, we're into the final championship weekends. All the practice that the athletes have done over the season gets put into play on these weekends.

All the practice you've done as volunteers gets called upon, too. These are the weekends when we're especially careful with how the meets are run and results are recorded.

The top three finishers overall place at the championship meets, which is a change from our normal "fastest in the heat" finishes at practice meets. This can be a hard concept to grasp for athletes, especially rookies. ("But I got the #2 popsicle stick. How come I came in fifth?") In track, we always stress the importance of setting personal bests over crossing the finish line first.

After Qualifying

The first weekend in May is the Sectional meet, and the following weekend is the Diocese championship. Some events are held on Friday night in the interest of time, so look at your calendar and the team schedule page:

Sectional Meet:
  • Friday, May 1: 1600m event at DVC
  • Saturday, May 2: remaining events at Granada High, Livermore

Diocese Meet:
  • Friday, May 8: 800m and 1600m at Moreau High School, Hayward (new location this year)
  • Saturday, May 9: parade and remaining events at Granada High, Livermore
If you find yourself in Livermore on May 9, there's an Olympics-style parade of athletes at the start of the meet that's a fine photo op. All team athletes are welcome to participate in the parade whether or not they are competing in the meet.

Picnic, Sunday May 31

We started our on a Sunday and we're going to finish on a Sunday. The Team Picnic is at Pleasant Hill Park in our usual spot. RSVP online so we can get a general sense of how many drinks to purchase:

This is open to the entire team and team families, and is truly a the-more-the-merrier activity. Plus, it helps the Lost and Found pile get thinned out before its annual trip to Goodwill.

Next season team jobs

Remember that we have a number of team positions that need to be filled next season, while I'm still available for training:

If you can help out, I strongly encourage you to sign up.

I know that managing uniforms or balancing the team checkbook doesn't have the glamour of scooping up softballs or raking out long jump pits all day in the hot sun. I'm sorry that every team position can't offer that kind of excitement!

They're very necessary, though, and I'd like to entrust them to families that have been around the track at least once, so to speak. Take a look and let me know if you have questions.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Track news for the week of April 12

Relay meet recap

Despite a wet start to the week, we ended in sunshine and fine weather at DVC for what may have been the shortest relay meet ever. Despite the small numbers, there were many exciting finishes and excellent effort on the track yesterday, with only a flaky PA system to contend with.

Thanks to the volunteers who navigated the unfamiliar shift arrangement. Our first experiment with Signup Genius was a success, at least from the coordinators' perspectives. I juggled far less email about signups, changes, and cancellations this week than usual.

Practices this week

Assuming cooperative weather, we're back on our normal practice locations:
  • Tuesday, April 14 at Pleasant Hill Middle, 5:00-6:30pm
  • Thursday, April 16 at College Park, 5:00-6:30pm

Ribbons from the March 28th meet went out last week, and should arrive at practice soon. I also have a handful of Seven Up Club awards to distribute. Athletes have two meets left to try to earn one of these exclusive, high-fashion accessories.
Practice Meet #4, Saturday April 18 at DVC

The final practice meet of the season is coming up Saturday at DVC.

Athletes need to compete in at least two practice meets to be eligible for the Qualifying Meet on the 25th. If you've only been to one practice meet so far, then you need to attend this one as well for Qualifying.
  • Setup: 8:00am
  • First Shift: 8:15am (note earlier time)
  • First Event: 9:00am
  • Away-side: 10:00am
The St. Isadore/St. Joan of Arc team from Danville/San Ramon is hosting this meet. Please give them all the courtesy, cooperation, and flexibility you can. I'll be attending a first communion ceremony that day, but know you're in good hands with the St. Isadore coordinators.

The jobs assigned to our team appear online here:

I'm playing around with the format on the site, since St. Isadore's likes to arrange the shifts differently.

All of the positions on this sheet need to be filled by CTK/SC/SS volunteers.

The signups forms lock down the day before the event so we can get schedules out to the teams.

Future Event Signups

While you're in the volunteering mood, you can also:

Sign up for the Qualifying Meet on April 25:

Claim a team job for next season:

RSVP for the end-of-season picnic:

All the team's signups are now linked from the top of our Schedule page:

Qualifying Meet, April 25 at DVC

On the 25th, we'll be hosting a Qualifying Meet. This is the first honest-and-for-true "real" meet of the season, and as a consequence, we have the run the meet pretty tightly.

I'll recycle and re-send last year's post as we get closer, but in short:
  • Attendance is required to be eligible for the Sectional meet on May 1 & 2
  • First and second graders are promoted into third graders via CYO magic
  • Events -- especially field events -- will close down by grade: no latecomers
  • Relay teams members must be a single parish, gender, and grade
  • Top overall finishers qualifies in each grade and gender's event
Athletes may attempt any events in which they are eligible -- no third-grade high jumpers, for example, but it can be a new event to the athlete, too.

Athletes cannot do more than three individual events: the usual 2 races and one field, or 2 field and one race. I have to scratch their results if they go over. Relays are unlimited, provided they follow the single parish/gender/grade rules.

Sectional and Diocese Meets

The Qualifying is the start of the process that picks the fastest of the fast to send to the Sectional meet on May 1 and 2.

From the Sectional, the top finishers go on to compete at the Diocese meet May 8 and 9.

"Top finishers" means the top three places overall in an event, plus an alternate. Alternates are not guaranteed to compete, but alternates in field events usually have better odds.

If your athlete is on a qualifying relay team but cannot make the Sectional meet: we are allowed to make substitutions on relay teams for another athlete of the same parish and gender.

So, athletes who missed Qualifying could still be called upon to substitute into a relay team. We've had cases where someone was not able to run at sectionals, and we brought in a substitute leg on the relays.

Once we complete the Qualifying meet, coaches who put a successful relay team forward will be very interested in the availability of athletes in their groups for the final two weekends of our season.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Track news for the week of April 5

Events this week

Happy Easter everyone! If you're in town, we have practice this week and a meet on Saturday.
  • Tuesday practice at College Park, 5-6:30pm
  • Thursday practice at College Park, 5-6:30pm
  • Relay meet at DVC on Saturday
Groups will be small this week. If stormy weather threatens, check @ctktrack on Twitter by 4pm on practice days for status.

Mary Chatterton Memorial Relay Meet, Saturday at DVC
  • Setup: 8:00am
  • First shift: 8:30am
  • First race: 9:00am
Remember to use Signup Genius to claim volunteer positions for this meet. Registration will close as we get close to meet day. Our team is currently short on our obligations for this meet.

The relay meet is special. We have four events only this week, and they're all relays, with no individual races and no field events.

Event order is:
  • 4x100m - the same relay we know and love from practice meets
  • Medley - double our normal sprint medley, the distances are 200m, 200m, 400m, and 800m
  • 4x200m - another doubling, every athlete runs 1/2 lap
  • 4x400m - our usual and the final event of the day
Despite there being only four events, the overall meet length is about the same, owing to the general chaos of staging and your meet director trying to remember how all the events work.

We will still run girls in an event first, and then boys, with an eye toward filling all lanes in the track for each race.

There are no limits to the number of races an athlete may be in this week. Opportunists might even be able to run in the same event twice.

Free Agency

This week, we'll have a special "Free Agent" loitering area set up for athletes in search of a relay team. Coaches are urged to look there to round out relay teams.

This means we'll see multi-age and -parish teams this Saturday. It's all good, and it's all for fun. The only two rules for relay teams are:
  • Girls' teams must be all girls: co-ed teams count as a boys' team
  • Team run as the grade of their oldest athlete
If it happens that we have four kids in the Free Agent area, they will be instantly transformed into an impromptu relay team and put out on the track. This is always quite a spectacle.

Awards and Results

I just picked up the ribbons from Meet #3 this past weekend, so those will go out for sorting soon. I also will be gathering up the personal bests, and getting out our first round of "Seven Up Club" patches. Awards are handed out at the end of practice.

All team results are linked from our team's page on

If you notice a mistake, please let me know and I'll try to correct it. I have caught some cases where an athlete has been keyed in under the wrong parish, or a result is assigned to the wrong athlete.

Future Events
  • Practice resumes: April 7 & 9 at College Park (weather permitting)
  • Relay Meet: April 11 at DVC
  • Meet #4: April 18 at DVC
  • Qualifying Meet: April 25 at DVC
  • Sectional Meet: May 1-2 for Qualifiers
  • Diocese Meet: May 8-9 for Sectional qualifiers
  • Team potluck picnic & awards: May 31

Friday, April 3, 2015

Call for team volunteers

Hi all -- this is a reminder that I'm retiring as coordinator after next season, so this is a call for volunteers to step up and start taking over parts of our team administration.

Signups for these positions are now online:
Sign Up Now!

Team jobs for 2016

Some of the coordinator roles are shared with other team families. To ease the transition, I'm turning these into full volunteer positions for next season.

Each job will complete a family's volunteer requirements. You will not need to work at meets.
Roles that need to be filled are:
  • Treasurer: manage team's bank account; pay permits, fees, and invoices; issue refunds; document all expenses; collect and file receipts; report to CTK parish accountant
  • Uniforms and shoes: store, inventory, order, and distribute team and coach uniforms; manage donated track shoe supply and spare spikes and wrenches
  • Lost and found: collect, inventory, and publish lost & found each week, and reunite with owners when possible; bring to picnic and donate leftovers to charity
  • Webmaster and data manager: update the team and league web sites; set up meets and process results on
  • Awards: pick up league ribbons, assemble and distribute to coaches; make personal bests ribbons from results; track "seven up club" members per season; keep and order supplies
The team also needs someone to be my assistant coordinator next season:
  • Coordinator: set up permits for practice; manage team roster and health forms; represent team in league meetings; team communications via email and Twitter; attend practices and meets; take coaches out for pizza at the end of the season (crucial!)
I am working with the league to move our meet-hosting duties to another team. Christ the King and friends have hosted for at least ten years, and I think it's time to share our good fortune with our fellow teams.

If you are interested in any of these jobs please send me an email via

CYO depends on volunteers 

My family has come back to CYO year after year because of the positiveness of the program and the selfless dedication of the people involved. If your family has enjoyed the CYO experience, please consider giving back your time and talents to keep it running strong.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Remember: no practice Thursday April 2

Everyone remember that there is no practice Thursday, April 2 for the Easter weekend.

Many families will be gone over spring break next week: you do not need to notify me or the coaches. We'll see you when you get back.

If you're around, though, we will be having practices. Since College Park is on break, we'll give the dust bowl a pass and meet at the CP track on both days, for next week only.
  • No practice Thursday April 2
  • No meet over Easter weekend
  • Practice on Tuesday April 7, at College Park
  • Practice on Thursday April 9 also at College Park
  • Relay meet Saturday April 11 at DVC
Practice groups are historically pretty small this week: it's likely we'll do things a little differently. Meet in the usual place and listen for announcements.

There's probably going to be another sport practicing on the field next week, so the facility and main lot should be open. If the large lot is closed, you can park in the loop in front of the school for drop-off/pick-up. Drive carefully if you're using that lot.

If we see you next week, then we'll see you next week, otherwise have a good Easter vacation.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Volunteer signups for relay meet now open

Relay meet scheduling is up

You should have received an email from Signup Genius about our signup schedule for the Mary Chatterton relay meet on Satuday April 11th. Please dig around your spam folder if it didn't appear.

Here's a direct link to the event:

This is our first use of online scheduling, so Gina and I thank you in advance for your patience as we sort out the details. We'll be getting the remaining meets for the season up as soon as we can.

If you requested a specific position at signup night, we'll fill your name in on that job. Otherwise, please re-signup for a job on that weekend. We know that schedules change, and don't want to tie your commitments to your calendar from back in January.
Families with upcoming First Communions

You will very likely miss one or both of the last meets in April. Hopefully you have enjoyed track and your athlete wants to return next season. Missing the Qualifying Meet on the 25th means that your meet season ends (and you get your weekends back.)

Make sure you're figuring in First Communion retreats and ceremonies when you are scheduling your shifts. They're far more important than a track meet, honest.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Track news for the week of March 29

Meet #3 recap

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I hope everyone enjoyed our meet at YVH, and the chance to run against some different teams. Another nice day, and we were done quickly.

There are only two events left before the start of championships. Athletes need to have participated in at least two of the practice meets to be eligible for Qualifying on April 25th. If you've only made it to one of the CYO meets so far, please be present on April 18th for the final practice meet.

Lost and Found

It runneth over! The full list is online:

I picked up about five or six more things yesterday that I need to document, too. Please email me to claim something, and I'll bring it to practice.

Meet #1 and #2 results online

Every athlete should have a page on now. Find and click their name on the team's "Season Records" page:

If you notice a missing result, please let me know and I'll try to locate it in the league's master list:

Athletes get mismatched in the results if their sticker number is hard to read. If you're working an event, please make sure to print neatly on the sheets.

Some of our athletes from the first meet magically floated into other parishes because of sticker number typos. I can update them and deal with any missed ribbons if you alert me to the problem. I found a few from meet #1 and am getting the corrections ready to print.

Practice this week: Tuesday March 31 only

We'll practice at Pleasant Hill Middle school again this Tuesday, 5:00-6:30pm.

On Thursday, however, we get the day off. Easter break starts Thursday, April 2, and all CYO activities halt for the weekend.

No matter how your family celebrates spring, please enjoy your long weekend break from track, and save the black jellybeans for me.

Meets after Easter

Our post-Easter schedule is now up on the team site:

Short version: we're at DVC on Saturdays. That's good news. DVC is a beautiful facility, and right across the street from College Park. The relay meet, practice meet #4, and our Qualifying meet will be held there on Saturdays starting April 11.

Because it's DVC, we can also set up a bit sooner and run while it's a bit cooler outside. I've noted the times on the team schedule for your planning.

However, since we are at DVC, we do not have Ygnacio Valley students available for hire at our remaining meets. They will certainly be helping out at the meets held at YVH.

Thanks for your patience this season waiting for the schedules to come out. I know it's disruptive.

Volunteer shifts moving to Signup Genius

Now that we have the final season schedule, we're putting all future meets into Signup Genius to manage our super-complex shift signups.

The relay meet will be our first event to go online, with the remainder to follow just as soon as Gina and I can get them in place. Watch for email when we have the schedule set up and ready for registration.

Reminder to meet your minimum volunteer shifts

Your family has just three meets left to complete your volunteer requirements. Families that go above-and-beyond are automatically entered into our end-of-season raffle at the picnic for Fabulous Prizes. Families that fall short lose their volunteer deposit and their athlete's eligibility to go past the Qualifying meet. I'd rather be the good guy giving raffle prizes than the bad guy cashing checks.

Families of athletes who make it past the Qualifying meet should anticipate helping at the Saturday meets on May 2 and May 9. It's the price of success!

Save the date: Team Picnic May 31

One final thing to note: our end-of-season team picnic awards get-together is scheduled for Sunday May 31 at Pleasant Hill Park. I was able to secure our usual shady shelter (but alas, not for Saturday.)

This is a super-casual potluck affair. We all eat too much, recognize outstanding athletes, say farewell to the eighth graders, reward the super-helpful families, and dig through the final Lost and Found pile in all its glory.

Picnic will run about 11:30-3:30ish, with awards starting when everyone is nice and sleepy from lunch. Don't miss it!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Reminder: Meet #3 tomorrow 3/28 at Ygnacio Valley High

Hello everyone:

Our last meet before Easter break is upon us: we're back at Ygnacio Valley High again this week for meet #3.
  • Setup: 8:30am (quietly)
  • First shift: 9:00am
  • Meet starts: 9:30am
Only the setup crew is allowed on the field before 9:00am, due to neighborhood rules. Please wait patiently in your vehicles or on the basketball courts next to the school for the gates to open at 9:00am.

Due to technical shenanigans, we just got the full volunteer list posted now:

Sorry about the delays. Things will be smoother for the next meet!

If you're a first shift volunteer, you can save yourself some stress by locating Gina during that pre-9:00 wait time and get signed in. We have some gaps on the schedule, too, and we always appreciate families who can step in and help out.

Looks like a warm day tomorrow, please make sure you and your athletes are protected from the weather, and have lots of water. See you on the track!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Track news for the week of March 22

Meet #2 recap

I hope everyone enjoyed the hospitality at Ygnacio Valley this week -- and the shorter drive. I appreciate all the help from our volunteers, and YVH appreciates your support of their students. If you hired a helper for your family, your fees will be deposited this week and credit should be given to you for the shifts.

It may be hard to believe, but Saturday's meet marked the halfway point of our season. We have two more practice meets left with a special relay meet in the middle. That takes us to the end of April, and the start of the championships in the form of the Qualifying meet.

Meet #3, Saturday March 28, Ygnacio Valley High

But first, we have another practice meet to look forward to. We're back again at YVH this week, though running with different teams. The league tries to rotate all the teams around during the season so the athletes get a chance to meet and compete with the various parishes in Section 1.

On Saturday, we're co-hosting with St. Mary's, and running with St. Francis and Queen of All Saints.

Meet times at YVH are the same:
  • Setup at 8:30, done quietly
  • First shift starts 9:00 when the gates open
  • First event at 9:30
At meet #3, the boys will run their 50m/100m on the "away" side of the track.

Hiring a YVH student for meet #3

Please alert Gina and me if you wish to hire a YVH student to help your family earn credit during the next meet. You may hire a student to cover your shift(s) at the low, low rate of $25 per shift.

Pay me at practice by handing me an envelope with your name on it and the meet (meet #3) to reserve a student. Checks made out to CTK CYO Track

You must get this to me by Thursday at the latest: we have to get our numbers to YVH so they can find a helper to give up their Saturday for you. Emailing Friday night is too late.

Practice Tuesday and Thursday as usual

PH Middle on Tuesday, College Park on Thursday, 5:00-6:30 both days.

Make sure your athletes are coming to practice well-fed and watered. As we get into warm spring weather and longer runs, we want to keep all the athletes safe and healthy.

Results and awards

Results from meet #1 are online again at after some technical hiccups. Ribbons from that meet are in the sorter's hands, and I anticipate them showing up at practice this week.

Results from the most recent meet will be out soon, with ribbons to follow after that for place and any personal bests set.

Please keep in mind that all the marks are hand-timed and hand-measured by you, our fabulous volunteers. The quality of the results lies literally in your hands. No pressure!

There are some rough spots as we all learn the mechanics of timely button-pushing, tape-reading, and popsicle-stick-dispensing. The key goal is fun for the athletes, not a drawer full of ribbons. Keep perspective, and enjoy the meets.

Uniforms, "spikes" and surplus

A few people still need to pick up paid-for uniforms and/or sweatshirts. I've emailed those that remain, and I'll have them at Tuesday practice for you to claim.

We have extras for sale, too. Maybe a spare for your athlete, or a sweatshirt, or even something for yourself? A few parents have already purchased our spiffy new uniform shirts, which is a testament to Coach Trish's excellent designs and your fine fashion sense.
  • Shirts are $15 each, and need to be kept to your parish assignment to minimize confusion
  • Sweatshirts are $35 each and are parish-neutral
Supplies are limited to stock on-hand: I have more CTK shirts, some St. Catherine's, and a few St. Stephen's shirts.

I also have a few pairs of loaner "spikes" (track shoes) in a bin that athletes are free to borrow and return at the end of the season. Donations of gently-used and outgrown track shoes are welcome, too.

I carry extras of the metal spikes, and the tool used to remove them or tighten them down.

Looking ahead
  • Practice Tuesday at PH Middle: uniform pickups/sales
  • Practice Thursday at College Park: last day to reserve a YVH student for meet #3
  • Meet #3 on Saturday March 28, YVH
  • No practice Thursday, April 2
  • No meet April 4-5: Happy Easter!
Easter is approaching fast, and CYO takes the weekend off. There are no activities starting the Thursday before Easter and through that weekend. Spring break for area schools starts that week, so I know we'll not see many of you for a few days.

Signup changes afoot

My family joined up with CYO way back in the dark ages, when registration was done on clay tablets and we started races by banging two rocks together. Mercifully, times have changed.

What has not changed is the way we handle volunteer signups: those big pieces of paper and spreadsheets and lots and lots and lots of emails. (Little known fact: ancient spreadsheets have been found buried under the pyramids.) Even CYO can break free of tradition now and again, though.

We're looking to move to "Signup Genius" to handle our volunteer shift management for the post-Easter meets.

Here's the web site, if you're not familiar with it:

We're in the setup process now, but are not ready yet. I'll send an email when we have our meets in and are ready for signups. I hope to be organized in time for the relay meet, and set up for the remainder of the season.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meet #2 Reminder: Saturday at Ygnacio Valley High

Hi all -- just a reminder that our second practice meet of the season is this Saturday morning at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord.

Times and Check-In

Neighborhood noise rules allow us to open the track gate at 9:00am. If you arrive early and are not on the assigned setup crew, please wait patiently on the basketball courts or in your car until 9:00am. (There's coffee right around the corner in the shopping plaza.)
  • Setup crew only: 8:30am on the field
  • First shift: 9:00am once gates open
  • First event: 9:30am
Gina is going to be our team sign-in person again this week. She should be on the blacktop if you want to get checked in before the meet opens. Once the stampede begins, look for her around the finish line tents at the start of the meet and during the shift changes.

Athletes should report to coaches on arrival to get their stickers. Our spiffy new shirts seem to resist the sticker glue, but try to keep them attached as best you can. That's how the results are recorded and tracked, so a dangling or missing sticker means trouble for the volunteers!

Meet Events

Same as meet #1, print this handy card to remind you. This week, girls will run their 50m and 100m down the "away" side of the track, provided we have volunteers to cover it.

Splitting up this event helps the meet wrap up faster. If you're not working a job, feel free to come around to the opposite stands near the end of the boys' 400m and cheer the girls on. It's lonely back there!

Meet Rules

A refresher for everyone:

Signed-in volunteers and athletes ONLY on the field and at events

Only checked-in volunteers and coaches/officials with their badges are allowed "in" the meet. Everyone else is officially considered In The Way and will be asked kindly-yet-firmly to sit down in the stands.

If your athlete flakes out and misses their event, then it's a Life Lesson, and we'll encourage them to run another one instead. They should be getting the hang of it by now, and the coaches are there to remind them. They have to practice independence, too, since they aren't allowed escorts in the championship meets.

Families who have trouble remembering this rule will find their athletes disqualified from the meet and stricken from the meet results. Don't risk it! Please, stay in the stands.

No food or drink on the track or turf, only water

I depend on my morning iced coffee, but I can't enjoy it on the field. Alas!

A few of our coaches noticed adults eating on the field at Granada last week. Please set a good example for the kids, and keep the facility clean by eating in the stands or outside the track fences.

This is a rule at every facility we run at: food and drinks ruin the very expensive turf and track surfaces.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Track news for the week of March 15

Meet #1 recap

Our first official CYO meet of 2015 is in the bag! Here's what happens next:
  • Results from the meet are keyed in by the league and will be sent to coordinators
  • After we've corrected any obvious errors, they get published online
  • I'll clean them up and post to our team page on  
Gina will be compiling the sign-in sheets to bestow credit upon your families. You're not penalized if you were unable to attend, but you are still responsible for meeting your family requirements this season. Thanks to all the families who braved sun and humidity (and no-shows!) to work. Your participation was greatly appreciated.

The first meet always has a few rough edges. (The hunt for the PA microphone comes to mind...) Volunteers and athletes get better as the season progresses, and by the Qualifying meet we're all champions of efficiency. This is a practice meet. We get more chances to practice.

Remember to keep perspective! This is all about the athletes having fun, and they had plenty of that. I checked.

Ribbons and other paraphernalia

The league manages our meet results. The top three finishers in each race heat and field event should receive a ribbon at a future practice. Placement at practice meets is determined by grade and gender: if we combined heats at the meet, the results are sorted out afterward.

Our team tracks personal bests, and hands out special gold ribbons. Returning athletes who broke their own records from previous seasons will get a ribbon at practice. First-time athletes now have set a mark for themselves to try and beat in the future.

Finally, we have a special "7-up Club" for athletes who set a mark in seven or more different individual events during one season. Relays don't count towards this total. There's a fancy embroidered patch that we'll start giving out after the third meet.

Practice:  Tuesday at PH Middle, Thursday at College Park

We're on our dual-locations for the rest of the season. Tuesday at Pleasant Hill Middle School, Thursdays at College Park. Practices are 5:00-6:30pm thanks to extra daylight.

Check Twitter (@ctktrack) or the front page of the team site for weather updates by 4:00pm on practice days.

Meet #2: Saturday March 21, Ygnacio Valley High in Concord
  • Setup: 8:30am (quietly)
  • First shift/athlete check-in: 9:00am
  • Meet begins: 9:30am
Our next meet is at Ygnacio Valley High. Those of you who made it to the War Path will find it very familiar.

Because of neighborhood rules, we can't allow any athletes on the track before 9:00am, though I'll permit setup crew kids only if you have no other care arrangements and they can be quiet. No footraces in the bleachers or shouting.

Once the gates open at 9:00, we'll try to get everyone assembled. We may be able to do volunteer check-in outside the gate before 9. I'll send an update if we can arrange it.

Students-for-hire at YVH

You may hire a high school student to work for you at Saturday's meet. Hooray!

Here's the process:
  1. Let both me and Gina know of your intent-to-hire. Gina will mark it on the schedule, and I will get a count for YVH. Gina's contact details are on the "Volunteers" page
  2. Hand me an envelope at practice with your name on it and $25 per shift inside. Checks should be made out to the team: "CTK CYO Track"
  3. The team pays the total amount to YVH and I deposit your payments after the meet
We must know in advance. You cannot show up Saturday morning and expect a student to be available. Thursday is your last day to notify us both and get payment to me.

Families already scheduled to work have first priority, and all hires are subject to YVH student availability. Don't delay!

Looking ahead
  • Tuesday & Thursday practices 5:00-6:30pm
  • Saturday March 21: meet #2 at YVH
  • Saturday March 28: meet #3 at YVH
  • Thursday April 2: start of Easter weekend
We have a meet scheduled at the end of next week on the 28th, and then Easter is upon us. There are no CYO activities starting the Thursday before Easter and continuing through that weekend.

If you're around during spring break week, we'll have a special meet the weekend after, but that's another newsletter. Keep your eye on the schedule page and I'll let you know what the league has in store for us in the weeks to come:

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Meet #1 Sunday March 15, Granada High, Livermore

Hello families, just a recap for tomorrow:

Times: earlier is better
  • Setup starts: 11:00am
  • First shift starts: 11:30am
  • Meet starts: 12:00pm
If you are working the first shift, expect a line at sign in. Arriving earlier at a track meet is always better than arriving late.

Volunteers must check in with their parish to get a sticker and credit.

Gina Marks is the CTK/SC/SS check-in person this week, and is planning to do sign-ins by the snack shack: it's a cinder-block building on your right as you come through the main gate into the stadium.

The volunteer assignments are fixed, so if you're not in place when your shift begins, then we will need to find someone else to work it and earn credit instead.


Check in with coaches at arrival to get a numbered sticker. This high-tech mailing label needs to be worn in a visible place all day to register for events and have times and distances correctly matched up.

If an athlete is dressed in layers -- recommended! -- then put the sticker on their uniform, or whatever they plan to run in.

Remember to bring water -- just water -- in a bottle labeled with your name on it. Keep your stuff together, and take it home at the end of the day!


Athletes choose the events at the meet, with guidance from coaches. Sign-ins are done at the field event, and race sign-ins are on the field. There will be big signs set up for each grade on the field. Look for volunteers bearing clipboards.

This week, the boys will run their 50m and 100m races on the "away" side of the track, opposite the finish-line side. When that race is called, boys will need to report across the field to the special "middle shift" clerks.

Girls will run their 50m/100m simultaneously down the "home" side, and check in at the usual place. (Next week we'll switch.)

The order of events is on this printable card and below:

50m – grades 2-5 only 

Sprint medley relay 
4x400m relay

Field events all open at once:
Long jump
Softball throw
High jump –
grades 5-8 only
Shot put – grades 5-8 only


You don't have yours yet? Don't panic: Eva Coward is planning to distribute at least the team shirts at the meet. Sweatshirts depend on available space in Eva's vehicle and may not be there on Sunday.

Granada High

Granada High is on Wall St. in Livermore, off Stanley Blvd.

Google maps:

Livermore has weather all its own. Wind is usually our biggest challenge, so plan accordingly for dressing yourself and athletes.

If you are packing a pop-up tent or umbrella, set up in the top row of the stands so you don't block other's views or the announcer booth. There are some grassy areas outside the track, too. Remember the tie-downs: you'll likely need them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Return of Quick Updates

Hi again folks, sorry for all the excess email this week. Lots to get sorted out before our first meet!

Thursday practice at College Park, 5:00-6:30pm

Remember that we're back at College Park this Thursday and for future Thursdays.

All practices are now 5:00pm-6:30pm thanks to this weekend's move to Daylight Sleepy Time.

College Park is holding their 8th grade open house starting at 6:30pm so please be extra careful and patient in the parking lot at pickup.

Uniform Pickups at Practice

Eva Coward is planning to hand out the remaining pre-ordered uniforms and sweatshirts during practice tomorrow, likely from the back of her vehicle in the parking lot.

She has a list of your original order, you just need to remember your athlete's name.

Track Shoe Amnesty Program/Lending Library

If your athlete has a pair of track shoes (spikes) that still have life left in them, the team is happy to accept them as a donation to be loaned out to other athletes.

I also have a small collection of donated shoes that are eager to be adopted by athletes, provided they fit. Sizes and styles are not guaranteed, but I'll have a small bin with me at next practice.

Track shoes are not required by the team. You'll get to buy them for high school, don't worry.

Meet #1 on Sunday, March 15 - Granada High School, Livermore
  • Setup: 11:00am
  • First shift starts: 11:30am (so arrive a little earlier to sign in)
  • Meet starts: 12:00pm 
Granada High is on Wall St. in Livermore, off Stanley Blvd.

Google maps:

I usually take 580 to 84, to Stanley, to Wall. It's pretty easy to find.

Volunteer assignments:

All volunteers must sign in to get credit for working. You'll get a fashionable sticker to wear, too.

Athletes check in with coaches to get their own sticker. Event sign-in is done that day, when the events are called. Listen to the calls!

Order of events reference card:

How a meet works (read to cure insomnia!):

No food or drink on the track or field: only plain water. Snacks in the stands are fine, but contain and dispose of your litter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Quick Updates

Really brief, I swear:

Practice at Pleasant Hill Middle on Tuesday, 5:00-6:30pm

Here's the map:

If you forget, please enjoy the lacrosse game at College Park!

Please be on time or a little early to pickup so the coaches and I can make it to our mandatory certification meeting.

Uniform pickup at practice

About half the team still needs their uniform shirts, and anyone who ordered a sweatshirt can pick them up at practice this week from Eva Coward. She's planning to distribute from the parking lot and has a checklist of what everyone should be picking up.

The shirts look like they are running a little big. If they are comically huge, we can try to swap unworn shirts from our very limited extras. Our top priority is to get uniforms to athletes and to our late signups first.

Meet #1 volunteer list is up

It's online from our team web site:

Direct link:

Gina's reminder elves should be contacting you this week as a friendly nudge. Please check the schedule anyway. Running a meet is a big production, and we need the help.

Meet training tonight, 6-7pm at Ygnacio Valley High

If you want to look like an expert on Sunday, consider coming to the meet officiating training at Ygnacio Valley High, planned and run by coach George Francis, the YVH head coach and St. Francis CYO coordinator.

If you were at the meet on Saturday, you heard coach George's melodious voice over the PA.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Track news for the week of March 8

War Path Recap
I hope everyone had fun on Saturday, and feels a little more familiar with track meets in general. The YVH athletes and boosters appreciate your support and our team's support. About half of our team were able to make it for a morning of fun in the sun.

Our meets are conducted much the same way, but results are recorded on paper, typed into the computer afterward, and then posted online. The paper feathers are a War Path exclusive.

Training Monday March 9, 6-7pm

If you're able to make it back to YVH, the head coach from their program has offered to take parents around the field to see how to officiate a track meet.

For field events, this is primarily using measuring tapes and copying down names. For running events, there's a bit of paperwork. It may help you be more comfortable working at next weekend's meet.

Remember: practice time and place updates!

Now that we're in daylight savings time, all practices will go from 5:00-6:30pm until the end of the season.

Starting this week, we will meet at Pleasant Hill Middle on Tuesdays

This is across the street from the baseball fields at Pleasant Oaks Park, behind the library. Here's a map:

We will continue to meet at College Park on Thursdays

Coaches certification on Tuesday, March 10

And remember to be on time especially for pick-up on Tuesday at PH Middle so the coaches and I can get to our certification session.

Uniform pickup at practice

If you need to pick up a uniform shirt or a team sweatshirt, watch for these being handed out at practice this week.

We'll hand out the ordered sizes first, and then we can make swaps for unworn items (trying it on is fine.) Parish assignments are fixed, so we can't swap one parish's shirt for a different one.

Why is our shirt red/yellow/blue? Shouldn't it be blue/red/yellow?

Our team is technically three teams: Christ the King, St. Catherine, and St. Stephen. Parish assignments are done according to a sacred trinity of CYO rules:
  1. Athlete's school, if they attend the parish school, otherwise
  2. Athlete's parish, if they attend religious ed/faith formation classes, otherwise
  3. Athlete's home address
You let me know if your athlete fell under rule #1 or #2 on your registration forms. Those who aren't attending school or RE at a parish are assigned by rule #3.

It is entirely possible for athletes to run for different parishes as a classmate, solely based on geography.  

Nothing has changed. We are still one team made of three parishes: we practice and hold meets together. Only at the end-of-season championships does it matter, and only then when we're forming relay teams.

I'm happy to relate the Legend of the Blended Teams to you at practice if you wonder why we have a tripartite program. (Short answer: not enough volunteers to make three distinct teams.)

Meet on Sunday, March 15, Granada High in Livermore
  • Setup starts: 11:00am
  • First shift starts/athletes check in with coaches: 11:30am
  • First event starts: 12:00pm*
* Optimistically. It's our first meet. Some settling of contents may occur.

It's time for our first CYO meet of the season! I will have a brutally long post about this, since this is the first meet for many of you. Timeliness is the most important thing. Leave extra time to get to Livermore, and if you are unable to make a first shift assignment due to morning commitments, let Gina know now.

The volunteer schedule for this meet should go online soon. The other teams we're running with also provide volunteers, so our volunteer list needs to get locked in.

On the day of the meet, we will certainly have openings available. Come to the volunteer sign-in/finish line at the start of the meet and we'll get you placed somewhere.

Looking ahead to this season

We're starting to hit our stride. Practice times are now 5:00-6:30pm, and you should expect a meet every weekend except Easter.

We have two meets next week: one on Sunday, and a second next Saturday the 21st at YVH.

Remember our team schedule page:

Looking ahead to next season, and beyond

I know we've barely begun, but we're already looking ahead to 2016. If your athlete likes CYO track and you enjoy running, please consider joining up as an assistant coach next season.

Most coaches follow their own kids through CYO, and move on to greener pastures after eighth grade. Our three parishes have been very lucky to have parents willing to volunteer their time as coaches, but we can only continue as long as we keep bringing in new ones to help out. A good loud mom/dad voice is a benefit, as are senses of humor and perspective.

Team coordinators also follow their kids through CYO, and in two short years I'll have my second eighth grader. Our team needs someone to step up and start shadowing me in the 2016 season as an assistant coordinator, to ascend to power in 2017 when I'll abdicate and become an assistant. Awesome headgear is not required, and spreadsheet skills are a plus.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Bonus track news: War Path meet at YVH, March 7

Hi all -- a bonus newsletter as we approach our first team event of the season, the Ygnacio Valley "War Path Invitational"

Here's the flyer for the event:

If you're not already committed to baseball opening day or other morning activities, please come out and give it a try.

Adults: there are no volunteer jobs at this meet. You have my blessing to lounge in the bleachers.

Remember to bring:
  • Cash for gate admission ($2 per spectator) and some extra in case there's a snack table
  • Appropriate weather protection: sun hats and/or jackets, sunblock, sunglasses
  • Something soft to sit on, like a stadium cushion or old blanket
  • Optionally: a cooler of healthy snacks like fruit, yogurt tubes, pretzels: nothing too heavy
If you plan to bring a pop-up tent or umbrella for shade, please set up in the back row of the bleachers so you don't block anyone's view. Pack bungee cords or tie-downs, as Ygnacio Valley can be windy, especially in the morning.

There is no smoking or alcohol permitted at this or any CYO event.
Athletes should:
  • Have a good breakfast
  • Wear sunscreen and running shoes
  • Be on time to warm-up with the team
  • Be willing to try events and have fun
We want to get the team together on the basketball court no later than 8:45am.  The courts are between the stadium and the school. Coaches will warm the team up and get a head count. I plan to be there around 8:30 or a bit before.

The team is paying admission for our coaches and registered athletes.

Find a seat when the gate opens, and we'll bring the team in when we're warmed up. They'll find you in the stands.

New to track meets?

Don't worry: meets are pretty predictable, even if they don't look it.

Field events start when the meet begins. There will be announcements over a PA system or bullhorn calling different age groups down to participate. Events at this meet are:

High Jump
Long Jump
Shot Put

In CYO, we limit shot put and high jump to 5th graders and older, for safety.

Athletes check in at the event when their age group is called, provided they're not already lined up for a race (or are on the track!) High jump and long jump will be visible from the stands, but the shot put ring is tucked out of the way outside the main stadium fence.

Running events follow an order, usually done from youngest athletes to oldest.

These stage (line up) on the field. Last year there were hurdles with signs attached per age group. The same PA or bullhorn should be used for calls for these events.

The event order is:
  1. 1600m  (4 laps, "the mile")
  2. 4x100 Relay   (every runner carries the baton 1/4 of a lap)
  3. 400m   (1 lap)
  4. 100m   (a short dash along the straight)
  5. 800m   (2 laps = 1/2 mile)
  6. 200m   (1/2 lap)
  7. 4x400m Relay  (every runner carries the baton 1 full lap)
This is a shorter form of the order we use at CYO meets. (PDF)

A key tip: if an athlete is waiting at a field event when their desired race is called, they should leave the field event to go run.

Running events determine the pace of the meet, and won't stop if an athlete is busy at long jump or in the bathroom. Paying attention to the calls is a track meet survival skill. If you miss your call, you miss the race. Oops!

Which event?

That's pretty much up to the athletes and their coaches. This week is a little looser, just to get everyone to see how it all fits together. Unless the coaches have something specific in mind, I'd encourage a go ahead and try it attitude. Cross country athletes especially should not be scared of the distance events.

Everything will look a little rough this weekend. That's OK. Think of this as a practice, not the Olympic tryouts.

Uniforms update

They are due to arrive at my house this week. I plan to bring at least the uniform shirts with me to hand out on Saturday.

If you're at the meet, come find me during down time between your events to pick up your shirt. If you aren't there: no big deal, we'll have them at practice next week. I don't plan to bring the sweatshirts to YVH, but they will show up at practice, too.

You do not need a uniform for this Saturday's event. Practice clothes are fine, or even old uniforms if you feel nostalgic.