When are practices, where and how long?
Outdoor track & field and cross country practices are usually held 1-2 hours during designated times Tuesdays, Thursdays (6-7:30PM), and Sundays (when not competing). Spring outdoor practice sites are typically Westfield and Centreville high schools. Cross country practice sites vary and includes the SYA Sports Park. Athletes are encouraged to make at least 2 practices a week. Practice site and schedule changes will be made available at the beginning of each week to allow scheduling around high school activities which have priority on field/track usage. A competition schedule will be drafted during the course of the season and is subject to change . Most competition/meets will be hosted on the weekend (Sat or Sun). You will be notified of any changes once they are confirmed.
Who will I compete against and where?
Our biggest competitor is . . . the clock or stop watch.
SYAT&F athletes will compete locally against area clubs/athletes, and if possible, as members of the USATF and AAU against other member clubs in the DMV. Competition is fierce, especially at the USATF/AAU regional and championship meets. Occasionally, at local meets, competiton consists of mixed age groups (distance running events for example) but all results are sorted based on gender and their respective age group/division for 2023 (see chart).
|Age Divisions (unofficial)||Year of Birth|
|Cubs* (SYATF designation)||2018-2019|
|Sub-Bantam (8 & under)||2015+|
|Young Men/Women (17-18**)||2005-2006|
**2004 if birthdate is after July 31, 2023.
How will I get to the meets and are there any registration or membership fees required?
Our program requires a huge commitment from the parents/volunteers. Each parent is responsible for getting their athlete(s) to and from the meets. Carpooling is recommended and directions will be provided prior to each meet. Some meets may require a nominal registration fee to participate. Although we are a USATF and AAU member club, to participate in post season championships will require each athlete to obtain an individual membership.
How long are the meets?
Some local meets last no longer than 4-5 hours. The more competitive meets could last most of the day. Depending on the number of kids participating and the events you are participating in will determine how long you have to stay. A schedule of events will be made available prior to the meet date to help schedule your participation. For example, if you are running in the 200m dash, which is usually near the end of the meet, you could come later in the day. It’s best to be at the meet at least an hour before your event to warm up, etc. If you are competing in the hurdles (they are usually earlier) you may get to leave the meet early in the day. Reminder: Most meets use a rolling schedule with only a start time. Once an event is done, they move on to the next in the order described in the schedule.
What events should I compete in?
We will assess each athlete’s performances during practice and early local meets to help determine their best events. Competition at the early meets is critical to help establish these assessments. Divisions Sub-Bantam thru Sub-Youth are allowed to compete in a maximum of 3 events, including relays. Youth thru Young divisions are allowed a maximum of 4 events including relays. Most events contested at indoor meets are, 1500m and 3000m race walk; 55m, 200m, 400m sprints; 55m and 200m hurdles; 800m; 1600m (mile) and 3000m runs; 4 X 200m and 4 X 400m relays; field events contested are, shot put, long jump, and high jump. Some events contested will depend on available officials.
Outdoor events contested are similar, but run the 100m instead of the 55m; the 80m, 100m, and 110m hurdles instead of the 55m hurdles; and the 4 X 100m instead of the 4 X 200m relay. Turbo-javelin and discus are added to the field events.
What type of running shoe should my kid(s) wear?
A good solid running shoe for practice and if possible a comparable sprint spike for competition will help round out your gear for the season. Spiked running shoes are recommended but not required. There are a variety of spikes available today and specific events warrant a special spike shoe. Search the web for kid size spikes and always ask your coach regarding meet spike requirements. Athletes who use them could gain an edge on the competition, both physically and mentally!