Information on the different groups at practices

  • Regular Season: Sept. 12- Oct. 12th: 5:30pm – 6:30pm on Mondays & Wednesdays only; $40, t-shirt, all local meets, and popsicles!Extended Season: Sept. 12-November 20: 5:15pm – 6:30pm; Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays; $70, t-shirt, all meets (local, statewide, and post-season), and popscicles!
  • Post-Season: $40, Oct. 24th-November 20th, same time as other practices (remember daylight savings). Three practices a week, shirt, and all post-season meets.We say the season ends on November 20th. There will be a handful of athletes who decide to go to nationals in Alabama but this is the exception, not the expectation. The last meet for the post-season is November 20th for everyone.
  • Those running in the post-season must have a valid USATF card which are good from last track season or cross-country season for previous athletes. For new athletes, they run about $30.
  • If you are interested in being a coach, contact coach Erik. We need ten coaches for the ideal coach/athlete ratio.
  • Download registration form off
  • $10 discount for each additional child (i.e. first child is $40, 2nd is $30, 3rd is $30, etc. if you get it post-marked by September 5th, take another $5 off each child).
  • $5 discount per child if post-parked by September 5th plus your child gets their shirt sooner!

Reflections on the 2015 Cross Country Season

Wow, what a fun season. I’m going to call it over even though there are a few Harriers going on to Nationals in a few weeks in New Mexico. This is Aleah and my third year coaching cross-country with youth and we’d like to share with you the ups and downs of the season.  Cross country is a lot like life, nothing is perfect, and lots can be learned from both the good and bad.  My favorite is always the growth that I see throughout the season and especially from Harriers who have persevered year after year.

The 8 & Under boys got off to a great start yesterday in Pasco.

The 8 & Under boys got off to a great start yesterday in Pasco.

Here is by no means an exhaustive list but some of what we have journaled through the season. The good:

  1. The split up of the regular and post-season. This was a new idea from the result of a fair amount of burnout from the previous years.  It was also to accommodate runners from other teams (both Wenas and middle schools) that didn’t want to leave their teams but wanted to continue running. Next, it was also for those families who were not like us that wanted to run a full regular season as well as a full post season.  We really liked this idea and felt it worked great.  It was also good for some of our volunteer coaches who felt they could commit to five weeks of coaching in the regular season but not the entire 12 week season. We will be doing this next year again.
  2. Increasing our base distance. We have always done quite well locally at both Sunfair and Apple Ridge but we were destroyed as a team in the Junior Olympic meets as the base distance we raced went from one mile to 2, 3, or 4k. We worked really hard to increase our mileage as a team carefully this year and it paid off.  There is still more to do, but we are making a lot of progress as evident by the performances we saw at JO’s the last two weeks.
  3. We had a crazy number of PR’s this year.  PR is a personal record and what we focus on because as athletes the only person we can control is ourselves. If you didn’t see it, look at the FaceBook post from last week where I listed the time improvements year over year.  Likewise, we had a similar situation at Sunfair which means our team is doing something right as our Harriers naturally develop and grow older.
  4. We drew a few new Harriers from both Wenas and local middle schools. This is one thing the Spokane Mercury does really well.  There is only one team in Spokane but they draw from all the other teams at the end of their season.  This is one of our visions for the Harriers next year.  We can have up to eight athletes per team in the Junior Olympics and if we even go over this, we can even have A, B, and C teams so we can never have too many Harriers.
  5. We are seeing a number of kids stick around year after year.  We even had a number of kids come back to the team this year after taking year two off because they missed it last year. As anyone who does a trade, it takes a long time to get good at your job.  The same is true with running.  We are teaching our bodies “how” to run.  How our feet strike the ground in an efficient manner with proper form, etc. This is one of the many reasons it is not a coincidence that the Harriers who have been around for longer tend to be improving. On average it takes about seven years for an athlete to really perfect her/his form depending on how hard they work at it.
  6. We are having fun! There were the old standbys: “Sharks and Minnows”, “Capture the Flag” and “Steal the Bacon” and we made up a few new games this year as well. Even on those days when the workouts were hard, the Harriers seemed to have a good time as well seeing how hard their bodies could be stretched.  We were made to improve and be active which is what makes this so much fun.
  7. This year we had the best parent support we have ever had.  This makes it so much easier to coach for Aleah and me.  We also had numerous volunteer coaches and those who were not coaching were running with their kids, walking in the park, or being social with other parents. Thanks parents and grandparents!
  8. From a personal standpoint I was healthy this year.  I shared last year that Aleah and I faced burnout.  I also herniated my L5/S1 disc and had surgery. The changes I made were I lost 25 pounds, got my back healthy, and really focussed on the Harriers who wanted to run in the Junior Olympic meets which is my personal passion that gives me life.  We all have our own strengths and weaknesses but this last post-season is hands down the highlight of my 2015 year.
  9. We had very few injuries this year as a team.  With close to one-hundred athletes, our percentage of injuries is one of the lowest of any sport.  I atribute this to how careful we are as coaches and training as much as possible on soft surfaces. We do look very closely at the few injuries we do have and do whatever we can do so we don’t repeat them.
Joy and Kate started quickly yesterday in the 8 & Under girls yesterday.  It was a crisp 30 degrees at the time of their race!

Joy and Kate started quickly yesterday in the 8 & Under girls yesterday. It was a crisp 30 degrees at the time of their race!

What needs to be improved for next year:

  1. For those nine through fourteen, I would like to see our base mileage increase another 25% for those wanting wanting to do the postseason. Even though we did significantly better this year, our lack of base was still evident in the Junior Olympic meets.  Aleah and I are already working on how we might do this.  This has to be done really carefully because if it is done too quickly, the young harriers get injured so there is a fine line here one must walk.  Initially this will probably look like an extra optional practice on a soft surface one day a week (or an extra run the kids do by themselves) very similar to what we did at Cowiche Canyon on Saturdays.  Talking with the teams on the westside of the mountain on Saturday, this is what they are doing.
  2. We would like to field eight full Junior Olympic teams in the USATF cross country meets next year in the 8 & under through 14 & under age groups.  This year we had three, and in two other age groups we were one athlete away from having a full team so we are really close.  If we could have our little Harriers talk to their friends we could be there!
  3. I would like to see us work more on nutrition.  We are not exactly sure what/how this looks like but a Harrier can only go as fast as he/she is fueled. Also if one has too much mass, they are slower, but on the other side if they don’t eat enough they don’t have energy to get through workouts and can even deal with eating disorders such as anorexia. We want to encourage families to eat healthy and eat proportionately. We would love to find some resources to support our Harrier families who are like us, we want to be healthy but also live a very busy life.


  1. For those that made nationals a huge congratulations.   This is huge.  The regional meet was all of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho and drew from over seventy teams. Congratulations to  our five ladies Joy Lally, Kate Mickelson, Claire Branch, Olive Clarke, Ciera Reyes and five guys Kian Compton, Mack Stephenson, Shepherd Lally, Aiden Waddle, and Brayden Packard who qualified for nationals in Albuquerque New Mexico. I am super proud a small group from Yakima, Washington qualified ten runners for the national meet.
  2. Our family is making the trip to New Mexico.  If you are one of the ten, let us know by this Thursday so we can register you for the national meet.  The entry fee is $25 and our club will pick this up but the athlete needs to figure out how to get themselves to the meet.  We will be there from Thursday to Sunday and then turning it into a family vacation to the Grand Canyon post-nationals.
  3. We will not have any formalized practices the next three weeks but I will write up a training schedule for the Harriers competing at Nationals and will post it by tomorrow.  I will be training Kate and we will have all of our practices at Franklin Park.  We will probably have to move this up another 15 minutes to 3:45pm since it is getting darker every day. I need to verify the times because it will have to work around her ballet schedule. Any nationals bound harriers will be welcome to join us.
Yesterday's race at Big Cross in Pasco was a fun rolling course.

Yesterday’s race at Big Cross in Pasco was a fun rolling course.

Track Season:

  1. We are already thinking about track season.  Just as we made some changes to this year’s cross country season (splitting up the regular and post-season) we will be making some small tweaks as well for track season. A few initial thoughts about what to prepare for those wanting to do track:
    1. The season will be shorter this next year. We will be starting later in the year so it doesn’t drag on like it did last year.
    2. One of my passions with Aleah is the middle distances (400-1500 meters). We will be coaching these events and not the sprints this spring/summer.
    3. We are not exactly sure of the dates yet but we will figure out when the Junior Olympic meets are and then reverse engineer backwards so we will be posting these dates in early March.  Our guess is we will start track in May sometime.

Thanks again for a great season. Congratulations to all the Harriers whether you came out for just a few weeks or the entire season.

Coach Erik

Saturday workout and Apple Ridge Invite

Dear Sun City Harriers,

We are nearing the end of our “regular season” and I wanted to pass along some information regarding Saturday’s optional workout, next week’s Apple Ridge Run Invite, and the “post season” Junior Olympics meets.

1. Saturday Workout:
We will again host an optional Saturday morning long run at Cowiche Canyon this Saturday, October 18th at 9 am. Like last week, we will meet at the lower trailhead of Cowiche Canyon for a 40- to 45-minute run with refreshments to follow. (Directions: From 40th Ave., turn west at W Powerhouse Rd., next to Fred Meyer. Take the second left onto Cowiche Canyon Rd., follow for about 2 miles until you reach the trailhead.) Everyone is welcome!

2. Apple Ridge Run Invite:
The final race of our “regular season,” the Apple Ridge Run Invite is scheduled for Saturday, October 25th. The race director is encouraging parents to bring and ring as many cowbells as possible. Bring them and ring like crazy! Unless I hear otherwise from you, I will enter all eligible Sun City Harriers in this race.

Here is the race schedule:
10:15 – Team arrives at Apple Ridge Run
11:00 – 2nd Grade and Under Boys Race (1.0 miles)

11:20 – 2nd Grade and Under Girls (1.0 miles)

11:40 – 3rd-6th Grade Boys (1.0 miles)

12:00 – 3rd-6th Grade Girls (1.0 miles)

12:20 – 12:30 – Awards (top 10 in each race get ribbons and team winner of 3rd-6th grade races get a traveling trophy)
Here are directions to Apple Ridge Run on Naches Heights:

  1. From HWY 12 West (heading towards Naches), take the 40th Avenue Exit into Yakima.
  2. Stay on 40th Ave. for about 1.5 miles and take a right on Summitview.
  3. Continue west on Summitview for almost 10 miles (towards Cowiche).
  4. While on Summitview, you’ll eventually head down a steep grade into the Cowiche Valley (before you get to the city of Cowiche). At the bottom of the grade on the right is a log cabin called the Summitview Cowiche Veterinary Clinic. Take the right just past the clinic on Weikel Road.
  5. Stay on Weikel for nearly a mile and turn right on Zimmerman Road.
  6. After a mile up Zimmerman, turn left on Naches Heights Road.
  7. Stay on Naches Heights Road for a ½ mile and turn left onto Wherry Road (there’s a big red sign there to welcome you).
  8. After a ¼ mile down Wherry Road, you’ll see the course and signs for parking.


Cowitchee Practice 2014 Kate

Two little Harriers enjoying the great running trails in Cowiche Canyon last Saturday

3. Junior Olympics XC Meets:
The Junior Olympics Youth Cross Country season kicks off Saturday, November 15th at the Association Championships at the Big Cross Course in Pasco, Washington. The top 30 finishers and the top 3 teams will advance to the Regional in Seattle on November, 22. Registration for the Association Championships closes Wednesday, November 10th. So if you plan on participating in this meet, make sure you join USATF soon! Maps, course information, registration link and all other meet information is now available online at

Go Harriers!
Erik & Aleah Mickelson

Updated Race and Practice Schedule: What’s Next!

Congratulations, we’ve made it to the half-way point in the season!

Aleah and I have been debating the Richland Invite for a couple weeks, and we’ve decided against promoting Saturday’s Richland Invite as a “team-effort” meet. Our reasons for this decision are:

1. The kid’s race is only 0.5 miles in length – this is much shorter than our standard race distance and therefore not ideal for our older runners.
2. The other option is the 3.0 mile Citizen’s race – this is much longer than our standard race distance and therefore not ideal, either.

A Sun City Harrier, Brayden Packard, won the boys mile at the Sunfair Invitational for the second straight year Hayden Drury won last year)

However, there are some families planning to drive to Richland for the meet. If you are interested, here is the link to the race information, course map, and registration form. The kids race is open to kids up to 13 years in age.

For families choosing not to attend the Richland Invite, we are offering an optional Saturday morning workout at Cowiche Canyon at 9 am. We’ll be doing a longer steady-state run on the lower trail. We believe this option will be more beneficial to our runners in the long term, as it will help boost their aerobic fitness level and prepare them for the final race of the regular season at Apple Ridge. It will also benefit the kids gearing up for the Junior Olympics meets, since the race distance is longer for the J.O. meets.

Think of our XC season as two parts: regular season and post season. The regular season ends October 25th with the Apple Ridge Run in Cowiche. The post-season begins with the Inland NW Regional Qualifier XC meet. The regular season is comprised of local XC meets; the post season is a series of qualifying meets overseen by the USAT&F (the governing body of all USA track and field and cross country events, including the national and Olympic level) that starts with a qualifying meet for individual runners and teams in the Inland Northwest association.

This year, the Inland NW Regional Qualifier XC is scheduled for Nov. 15, 2014. The meet location was recently moved from Spokane to Pasco. Due to its new location, we are encouraging as many Sun City Harriers as possible to attend this meet. We will also be encouraging any Wenas Valley runners as well as anyone else from the local middle schools after their season is over to compete as well. There will be a number of high-quality runners from the Spokane and Tri-Cities areas in attendance.

Because we have a small association, nearly everyone who competes at the association meet will qualify for the Regional Meet. The Regional XC Meet is being contested on Nov. 22, 2014 at Lower Woodland Park in Seattle (a very hilly course which is why we are running as many hills as possible at Franklin right now). The competition will increase significantly at the Regional Meet, as it will comprise the best youth runners from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. I would still expect many Harriers to compete well, as we have many very talented, driven runners. The top 25 runners and three teams from the Regional Meet qualify for the USATF National XC Meet, scheduled for Dec. 13th in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  We would love to field at least two teams for the first Association meet in Pasco and maybe even Seattle (perhaps four if we can get Wenas to combine with us).

To compete in USATF events, athletes must become USATF members, which costs $20.00 per year. Here’s a link for more information about USAFT membership Also of note: the race distances for USATF races increase in length. Ages 8 & under run 2 km (1.2 miles) ; Ages 9-10 and 11-12 run 3 km (1.8 miles); Ages 13-14 run 4 km (2.4 miles); and Ages 15-16 and 17-18 run 5 km (3.1 miles). This is the reason starting this week we are increasing the distance in our workouts and encouraging the optional long runs on Saturday mornings.

In summary:

  1. We’d love to see you this Saturday morning at 9am for a 45-minute run at the lower trailhead of Cowiche Canyon (From 40th, turn west at W Powerhouse Rd., next to Fred Meyer. Take the second left onto Cowiche Canyon Rd., follow for about 2 miles until you reach the trailhead.)
  2. If you love to compete and run fast, please join us for the USATF Association XC Meet in Pasco. It would be awesome to have 25-50 Harriers join us for the post-season!
  3. If you know any potential Harriers (especially middle-schoolers) who would like to continue their season, let them know we’d love to have them join our team for the Junior Olympic series.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Sincerely coaches Erik & Aleah

Sun City Harrier Invitational Results

Sunny, wet grass, 56 degrees in the morning

K-2: 1 Mile

Boys Girls Team Scores
Place Name Time Team Grade Place Name Time Team Grade Boys
1 Zachar Wagner 7:34 SCH 2 1 Bevani Yrigoyen 8:13 SCH 2 Sun City Harriers    Score: 25 1, 3, 6, 7, 8
2 Keaton Pitzer 7:59 WV N/A 2 Joy Lally 8:31 SCH 1 Wenas Valley    Score: 34 2, 4, 5, 11, 12
3 Isaac Gutierrez 7:59 SCH 2 3 Eliza Cardon 8:32 WV N/A
4 Sam Rettig 8:10 WV N/A 4 Kate Mickelson 8:37 SCH 1 Girls
5 Dominia Ayala 8:14 WV N/A 5 Hazel Douglas 8:48 WV N/A Sun City Harriers      Score: 23 1, 2, 4, 7, 8
6 Paul Lally 8:16 SCH 2 6 Abigail Cardon 8:50 N/A N/A Wenas Valley      Score: 37: 3, 5, 6, 11, 12
7 Lorenzo Alvarado 8:25 SCH 1 7 June Sawyer 8:58 SCH 1
8 Mack Stephenson 8:44 SCH 1 8 Danika Gaethle 9:02 SCH 1
9 Liam Roberts 9:03 SCH 1 9 Freya White 9:33 SCH N/A
10 Lane Dauer 9:16 SCH 1 10 Kiara Roberts 9:35 SCH N/A
11 Joshua Strand 9:16 WV N/A 11 Gabby Landvoy 10:11 WV N/A
12 Milo Douglas 9:32 WV N/A 12 Karis O’Brine 10:16 N/A
13 Luis Slowe 9:34 SCH 1 13 Kennedy Day 10:34 SCH 1
14 Amos Douglas 9:38 WV N/A 14 Brenna Gamache 10:52 WV N/A
15 Brent Johnson 9:58 SCH 1 15 Clare Richards 11:04 WV N/A
16 Jackson Powell 10:11 SCH 1 16 Ava Christianson 11:44 SCH 2
17 Alonzo Yrigoyen 10:21 SCH 1 17 Kenzie Pitzer 12:33 WV N/A
18 Riley Smith 10:52 SCH 1 18 Lydia Woodall 12:52 SCH 2
19 Casey Smith-Apperson 11:04 SCH K 19 Katya Reiss-Kupp 12:58 SCH 1
20 Sheppard Lally 11:40 SCH PK 20 Anya O’Brine 15:40 WV N/A
21 Drew de Wet 11:48 SCH K
22 Jaxon Beck 12:41 SCH 1
23 Jackson Snow 12:50 SCH 1
24 Sean de Wet 13:36 SCH PK
25 Johah Travers Powers 13:37 WV N/A
26 Cole Taylor 14:58 WV N/A

3rd-6th Grade

Boys Girls Team Scores
Place Name Time Team Grade Place Name Time Team Grade Boys
1 Brayden Packard 5:54 SCH 6 1 Anna Landvoy 7:18 WV N/A Sun City Harriers 19 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
2 Cooper Quigley 6:22 WV N/A 2 Kieryann Mattson 7:24 WV N/A Wenas Valley 43 2, 8, 10, 11, 12
3 Ben Connell 6:22 SCH 6 3 Caitlin Strand 7:26 WV N/A
4 Henry Robbins 6:31 SCH 4 4 Kara Mickelson 7:50 SCH 5 Girls
5 Nathan Stephenson 6:53 SCH 3 5 Chloe Covell 7:51 WV N/A Wenas Valley 19 1, 2, 3, 5, 8
6 Ty Dauer 7:16 SCH 6 6 Brooke Bauer 7:53 WV N/A Sun City Harriers 36 4, 6, 7, 9, 10
7 Tyrell Waddle 7:21 SCH 5 7 Emma Christianson 8:12 SCH N/A
8 Trevor Wilson 7:30 WV N/A 8 Adelyn Cardon 8:16 WV N/A
9 Nathan Johnson 7:36 SCH N/A 9 Katie Barnes 8:21 SCH 4
10 Sam Rees 7:41 WV N/A 10 Bwendolyn Dawes 8:32 SCH 3
11 Jaden Gaudet 7:41 WV N/A 11 Anna Seal 8:43 SCH 5
12 Orin Douglas 7:45 WV N/A 12 Lauren Thomas 9:00 WV N/A
13 Benicio Yrigoyen 7:49 SCH 5 13 Ava Alvarado 9:05 SCH 4
14 Caleb Stephenson 8:09 SCH 5 14 Leah Knudson 9:07 SCH 5
15 Bryce Harrison 8:11 SCH 3 15 Cindy Nulsen 9:07 WV N/A
16 Ben Wagner 8:14 SCH 6 16 Lucy Sawyer 9:14 SCH N/A
17 Jon Barnes 8:21 SCH 6 17 Khalia Yrigoyen 9:26 SCH N/A
18 Colin Thomas 8:24 WV N/A 18 Mary Mickelson 9:56 SCH 4
19 Keegan Hull 8:28 WV N/A 19 Emma Welch 10:02 SCH 6
20 Tyler Welch 8:29 SCH 4 20 Eloise Anderson 10:05 SCH 5
21 Jacob Rettig 8:32 WV N/A 21 Cadence Day 10:12 SCH 3
22 Spencer Johnson 8:37 SCH 3 22 Liztte Vazquez 10:32 SCH 4
23 Jarden Smith 8:51 SCH 3 23 Emma Slowe 10:37 SCH 4
24 Michael Strand 9:08 WV N/A 24 Brenna Baker 12:25 SCH 5
25 Christian Taylor 9:12 WV N/A 25 Julia Snow 13:40 SCH 4
26 Tristan Temple 10:35 WV N/A 26 Emma Woodall 14:00 SCH 4
27 Sean Mefford 10:48 SCH N/A
28 Simon Anderson 13:39 SCH 3


7th – 8th Grade

Boys Girls
Place Name Time Team Mile Split Place Name Time Team Mile Split
1 Shea Mattson 10:05 WV 6:48 1 Bailey Christianson 13:50 SCH 9:10
2 Riley Christianson 11:12 SCH 7:27
3 Drew Waddle 11:25 SCH 7:40
4 Isaac Barnes 11:56 SCH 7:56
5 Matt Hernandez 12:02 WV 8:10
6 Joshua Becker 12:23 WV 8:17


Just got off the phone with Yakima Sports Supply. They are finishing up our t-shirt order right now and I’ll be picking them up tomorrow morning. We’ll be handing them out at tomorrow’s practice. We ordered several extras so if you haven’t yet signed up, if you turn in your registration tomorrow we can get you a shirt (registration is $30)!

First Practice of the Season

First, I want to congratulate all the harriers on the first workout of the season. Second, a huge “thank you” to all the parent volunteers! The team had a great time.

Remember to hydrate before and after each workout.

A few thoughts on tonight’s practice:

  1. The team looked great doing drills. Drills are the backbone of running. Think of drills like aligning the tires on your car.  Once you learn to run right, running is easier AND you naturally run faster. Better yet, you’ll have fewer injuries.
  2. The first practice is always an adventure. What group do you go to? Where do we run? Who is our coach? How long do we run? By the second or third practice everyone will have a better idea of our practice routine. Hang in there!
  3. It’s all about having fun.  Sorry we lost a little track of time and everyone did not get to play in all the games.  We also forgot the team cheer. Next time!  We saw a lot of smiles and everyone did a great job running.

There is a reason we call it practice because it is a work in progress.

See you Thursday!

Coaches Erik and Aleah

Sun City Harriers doing drills the first day of practice

Sun City Harriers doing drills the first day of practice

Get Fit & Have Fun!

handsWe have fully recovered, school is almost out and we are ready for the 2014 cross-country season.  Yes, Yakima is the fourth most obese city in the United States but it wont stay that way if the Sun City Harriers have anything to do about it.  Before last season, our eight-year old daughter could only run a quarter-mile.  By the end of the season, she was up to over two miles without stopping.