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.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Track news for the week of March 1

Practice this week: 5:00-6:05ish at College Park

It's our last week of winter daylight, so we'll go as long as possible on the track this week. Expect practices to wind up a bit after 6:00pm both days, weather willing.

Safety reminder for hill-climbers and fence-jumpers

All athletes need to stay off the hillsides at College Park, and should not be climbing over or through any of the fences, especially taking the not-really-a-shortcut over the back corner of the parking lot fence. It's not a gate, and yes, we can see you.

This is wildly unsafe, don't do it. It's a sure way to get our practice permit revoked, too.

Stay on the paved path to walk all the way to get to and from the parking lot stairs. It's not that far, honest.

Cross-country signups are in the fall, and that's the perfect sport for running up and down hills.

Lost & Found

Our perfect record is ruined! Three water bottles left behind last week, and a few articles of unmarked clothing that the athlete luckily remembered to come back for.

Please label everything. Unlabeled items rarely make it back to their owners, and get donated to Goodwill after spending the season on my front porch.

Practice change next week

We move to Daylight Savings next Sunday, which is good news for sun-lovers and bad news for sleep-lovers. It also marks the annual clash of the lacrosse games and track practices. So, for half the week, we're going to relocate.

On Tuesdays starting March 10: we will meet at Pleasant Hill Middle School. We'll be going old school on the dirt track that's on your right as you come into the parking lot.

Starting March 10, every Tuesday practice will be at Pleasant Hill Middle until further notice.

On Thursdays, we will practice at College Park.

We will still meet at College Park for both of this week's practices, March 3rd & 5th.

I'll try to remind you a dozen more times between now and then.

Coaches meeting after practice March 10

As if the day wasn't complicated enough, the coaches and I have our certification meeting right after that practice at Pleasant Hill Middle.

We surely don't want to miss a second of it, so please be on time or even a bit early to pick up your athletes that day. (And at the right place, too.)

March meet schedule

The league posted schedules for practice meets 1-3. I've put up a copy on the team site:

The short version:
  • Saturday, March 7: Ygnacio Valley's "War Path" invitational. Uniforms not required: regular running clothes are fine
  • Sunday, March 8: Spring forward to Daylight Savings
  • Monday, March 9: Volunteer training at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, 6pm-7pm (optional)
  • Sunday March 15: practice meet #1 at Granada High in Livermore
  • Saturday March 21: practice meet #2 at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord
  • Saturday March 28: practice meet #3 at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord
  • Thursday April 2 - April 5 is our Easter break, and we have no activities
The Sunday meet is a rare beast, but it looks like every team is running at least one of these this season.

By CYO rules, Sunday meets may start no earlier than noon. Our two Saturday meets at YVH will start at 9:30am, due to a neighborhood noise rule that frowns on early-morning pistol- and PA-usage. Go figure!

Times for setup, first shift, and the meet start are on the team schedule page.

Volunteer time: got changes?

Obviously I did not predict the change in meet days at signups, so if the 15th is a bad day for you to volunteer, or is suddenly a good day, now is the time to let Gina our volunteer coordinator know.

Otherwise we will assume that the shifts you signed up for are still your preference. We have to work with all the other teams who also must provide volunteers to the meet. It's quite a production, so the sooner we know, the less drama for everyone.


They may get delivered to my house as soon as this week. Look for them to be distributed at future practices.

Refunds are 50% now through March 14

Hopefully, track is working out for your family, but if not, you can still withdraw with a 50% fees refund if you alert me in an email by the 14th.

Once you have picked up the uniform/sweatshirt, they are yours to keep, regardless of your future with the program.