Track Season Ends On An Up Note

Sun City finished its very first Track & Field season this weekend at Portland for Regionals.  It had been over twenty years since Aleah and I were at one of these track meets and we forgot how large they were and how amazing the competition was.  We talked to several families and the consensus was, “Our kids eyes were wide open how fast everyone was!”

A few things:

  1. Our region is one of the top regions in the country. We are in Region 13 which consists of ALL of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho (with over 50 teams in Western Washington, 50 in Oregon, and 27 in Inland Empire). I will give you an example. Ashlyn who cleaned up in our home meet ran a PR (personal record) of more than four seconds and yet finished ninth overall in the 12 & under age-group. To put things in perspective, her time would win most high school dual meets. What I’m saying is the athletes at this meet were very fast!
  2. In life to achieve big things, you need to expose yourself to big things. In the case of my three daughters and eventually son, we want to teach them what it looks like to compete well. What it looks like to grow season after season. What is most important is what our athletes look like as athletes and people toward the end of their careers, not the beginning of their careers.
  3. This is our first season. Many of the clubs we competed against in Portland have been around for DECADES. They have a system, a way of doing things that work. We are thrilled to send ten athletes to the regional meet and for each athlete to go, this is an immensely valuable experience he/she will use toward next season and further in their athletic career.

I want to give a huge shout-out to these assistant coaches I leaned on very heavily this season:

Marie Welch—Marie spent her own money to buy bungee cords for our high jump pits. She also took it upon herself to work with her husband to come out to the practices early with her husband each week to wheel out the implements. Thanks Marie!

Andy Hanks—Andy was a former high school coach back in the day that not only helped us out in the sprints but talked me into buying shot put implements.  Andy went above and beyond the call week in and out helping our kids improve. Thanks Andy!

Andy Sawyer—“I think I could coach hurdles” was what Andy told me at the beginning of the season. I asked him if he ever coached hurdles before and he said, “no” but I can learn. This is the true heart of a coach. Andy did have a secret, his father was coach to multiple state champion hurdlers when he was a high school coach back in the days so he picked his brain throughout the season and Andy did a marvelous job. Coach Sawyer also made some smaller hurdles of his own out of PVC pipe. Andy even showed up to practice after his daughters’ seasons were over to help the rest of the hurdlers out. Thanks Andy!

Chris Waddle—Coach Waddle coached our distances guys this season in-between everything else he has going on.  He was so devoted; he even was running hills with the team toward the team encouraging them to go the extra mile to get a few extra popsicles! For those that don’t know, I have been running with and against Chris since 1993 but I will let him tell you who is faster. Thanks Chris!

Aleah Mickelson—If it wasn’t for coach Aleah, none of the track meets would have happened.  She spent numerous hours sitting behind the computer inputting kids birthdates into the computer to get the kids registered for track meets. She also was the reason we never ran out of popsicles each and every practice. Thanks Aleah!

Last, a few other things to close out the last track blog of the season before turning it over to the cross-country blogs:

Aleah and I overdid it this season in terms of coaching.  In the middle of the season, I had a business opportunity present itself. All of the sudden, (quite literally we had a retail store in Ellensburg) we had a third store with team members to hire. So next year, I promise to not have major back surgery (which was XC season) or open a new store on the spur of the moment!

I am a “why” person. I like to know why things work. We are now two years into the life of cross-country and one year as a track club and are just learning the ins and outs of coaching.  Aleah and I both know running well, but it is another thing to administer, coach and lead a team. At the end of each season we sit down for hours and talk about what went well, what went so-so, and what needs to improve. The athlete as well as the coach who does the same thing over and over again is foolish. Just like we ask for our young athletes to give us their best, we will also commit to you that we will continue to learn as coaches to improve our craft to help inspire, lead and become better athletes. We are all in this together.

So the next blog you see this month will be for cross-country. The first practice will be Tuesday September 15th at Franklin Park.  The results for the Regional Junior Olympic Meet has not been posted yet but will be eventually at: You will also see the Mickelson family running at two of the next three summer cross-country meets at Franklin Park July 22nd, August 5th, and August 19th (cost $5/race) so come join us at 7pm.

Thanks for a great season!

Coach Erik

Celebrating the conclusion of track season in Portland

Celebrating the conclusion of track season in Portland

This Week’s Workouts

The season is quickly coming to an end.

We are also going to have one last practice of the season tomorrow at 6pm on Franklin Track for those going to Regionals.  I know it will be hot but it will be a very mild workout focusing on some speed and starts with lots of breaks.  If you are worried about the heat (the workout is at the bottom of the blog and you can do it at another time this week preferably in the morning).

We will cancel Wednesday’s practice due to the continued heat-wave but I have some alternate workouts and activities. At the bottom of this blog I will post some workouts if you would like to do this on your own (in the morning) which is what the kids and I have been doing and will continue to do at Franklin Track every/other day until Junior Olympic Regionals this next weekend.

This next week since we will not have practice, there is the summer XC series at Franklin Park (start time 7pm for distance runners).  There were eight Sun City runners last week (not that I was counting) and even several parents!

Of the 16 people who qualified for Portland, we are going to need to know by tonight who is running so please email Aleah or instant-message me on FaceBook (most of you have already done this).

Last, cross-country planning is under way so start telling your friends.  First practice will be September 15th which will be a Tuesday at Franklin Park.

Here is next week’s workout with typical warm-ups:

  1. Warm-up jog of 1-4 laps depending on your child’s fitness
  2. Stretch (hit all the major categories: hamstrings, quads, and calves especially)
  3. Drills
    1. Lunges
    2. A-skips (high-knees with a minor skip)
    3. Fast arms-straight legs (make sure you stand on your ball of your feet when you do this)
    4. B-skips (high-knees but you whip it down like a horse plowing the ground)
    5. Butt-kicks
    6. Finish with 2-4 build-up strides
  4. Sprint Workout for the last week before regionals
    1. After warm-up and drills: 5 minutes of hills, 4-8 X practice starts, 4X100 meters all out, 1X200 meters all-out.
  5. Distance Workout #1
    1. After warm-up and drills: Reverse ladder (600-400-300-200-100). Effort should be all-out. Recovery should be 3 minutes of rest in-between each interval.

These two workouts are designed to get the athlete to “peak” and be fresh for their race this weekend.  We’ve already done all of the hard work this year so now it is just a little-fine-tuning.

What to expect at the Junior Olympics Regional Championship

Here is the official update on the track meet for this next weekend for our athletes traveling to Portland:


–  Packet pick-up (competitor numbers) will be available ­­­­­___730am 7/9 – 7/12_______ Jesuit High School. Packet pick-up will be located __West Side of the finish line__________________. Please check with your head coach first to claim your competitor number.

*Steeplechase and Hammer Competitors Packets and Bib Numbers will be at Pacific University for you on Friday, July 10th beginning at 1:00PM

– Competitor numbers must be worn on the front and be used both days of the competition (pole vaulters may wear on back).  Replacement numbers are available at packet pick-up for $5. (We will give the athlete a new number, but hand write on the back their old number. The old number is what needs to show.)

– If 8 or less runners show for semi-final events they will be run as finals at the semi-final time.

– After the scheduled start of the 100m prelims & finals, events may run up to 1 hour early.

– Athletes need to have their implements checked in before competing.  The implement inspection desk will ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Next to timing tent on west side of finish line (for Jesuit). At registration gate (Pacific University.)

– Only steel-tipped javelins allowed.

– Privately-owned javelins do not lose identity and cannot be used without the owner’s consent. All other privately-owned implements do lose their identity and become part of a community pool during the competition.

– For throws and horizontal jumps, there will be three attempts in the prelims, three attempts in the finals.  Finals directly follow the preliminary rounds.

– ____The infield in front of clerking tent__ will be the designated warm-up area for runners and jumpers. Warm-ups for the throws will be conducted by the event judges at the respective venues.

– Hurdlers may practice on the infield (both Sat and Sun).  Hurdles will be set up for your use.  Coaches may not be on the track or infield with their athletes while they’re warming up.

– Only athletes, meet officials and meet workers are allowed in the competition area.  No coaches.  No parents.  

– At first call, proceed to the clerking tent (athletes who arrive after final call may be scratched from the event). Since the meet may run up to 1 hour early, please listen for first call rather the referring to the written schedule.

– if you have simultaneous events (field & running) you must check-in with both events by the time you hear third and final call.  Tell the official you have another event at the same time.  Do NOT leave the competition area without first checking out with the official.  When you return, you need to check in with the official. It is the responsibility of the athlete to check in/out of each event.

– Please check in at the respective field events at the start time.  Field events will not be running open pits.

– It is the responsibility of the athletes/coaches/parents to be familiar with the check-out rule for the field events. Please carefully read the Rule 301(q) on page 157 of the 2015 Competition Rules book.

– Relay uniforms: all participants shall wear a top of the same color and shorts of the same color.

– Starting blocks are required for ages 15-18 in events 400m and shorter.

– No competitor shall receive assistance in setting starting blocks except from an individual designated by the starter.” (Rule 161.6)

– Electronic devices not approved by the Games Committee shall not be used by any individual in the area of competition or designated warm-up area.  Of primary concern is anything that impedes your ability to hear:  cell phones, I-Pods and the like.  This rule includes ANYONE in the competition and warm-up areas…athletes, coaches, parents, officials, meet workers, siblings.

– For the prelims of 100m and 200m, lane assignments will be random draw.

– Runners will advance to finals in the 100m and 200m as per USATF Rule 303(h) for an 8-lane track: 1-8 athletes – run as finals at semi-final time; 9-16 athletes – 3 + next 2 best times; 17-24 athletes – 2 + next 2 best times; 25-32 athletes – 1 + next 4 best times; 33-40 athletes –  1 + next 3 best times; 41-48  athletes –  1 + next 2 best times .

– For the finals of the 100m and 200m, lane assignments will be three draw:  center 4 lanes with the 4 fastest times randomly assigned; the next outer lanes are for fifth and sixth; the outside lanes are seventh and eighth. .

– For races 400m and longer, heats will be run slowest to fastest.

– If you question the outcome of your event, notify your coach who will then take it up with the meet referee. Protests must be filed with the meet referee at once and not later than 30 minutes after the announcement/posting of the result of that event (USATF Rule 146). There will be forms avail to fill out and the cost will be $50.

Once results have been posted for 30 minutes, and uncontested, awards will be made available.

Top 5 places in individual event, Top 2 for multi’s (and 3rd for anyone that meets usatf minimum qualifying standards) qualify for JO National Championships, July 27-Aug 2 at Hodges Stadium, University of North Florida, in Jacksonville, FL.


Sportsmanship Guidelines for Coaches, Parents, Athletes and Others

Coaches and parents are tremendous assets to our youth athletes in track and field/cross country and our Associations (Oregon, Inland Northwest and Pacific Northwest) are extremely grateful for your cooperation, support and loyalty.  We expect athletes to hold themselves to high standards of sportsmanship as outlined in the USATF Competition Rule Book and expect parents, coaches and others will themselves serve as role models for our youth athletes by exhibiting high standards of sportsmanship as well.  We must never lose sight of the fact that the participants in youth athletics are only “youngsters.”

Officials and meet management personnel are here to help make this a positive experience for everyone, especially the athletes.  Please treat them accordingly.  The following guidelines should be adhered to at all times by athletes, coaches, parents and others: 1) Knowing and understanding the rules of track and field. 2)  Showing respect for officials and their decisions. 3) Showing respect for opponents at all times. 4) Recognizing and appreciating the varying skill levels of all athletes participating. 5) Maintaining self-control at all times. 6) Showing a positive attitude when cheering.

Sanctions may be considered toward parents, coaches, athletes and/or teams that do not adhere to these policies.

~ USATF Oregon, Inland Northwest and Pacific Northwest Youth Committees