Welcome to the Extended Season

Welcome to the extended season, Sun City Harriers! This post is meant for the “newbies” who have never gone to Junior Olympics Regionals before. I’m a “why” person so please read to the end but I will do my best to explain the “why” behind what we are doing.

Up to this point in our training, we have been working on building a “base” for our Harriers. This is essentially a base level of fitness on which to build the next phase of our training. Over the next four weeks, we will add more anaerobic training (higher intensity training) while continuing to work on general fitness. In the final 2 weeks before Regionals, we will shorten the training and focus on building speed.

Our goal for the extended season is first and foremost for the Harriers to have fun. If we miss this goal, it doesn’t matter how fast we run. Next to having fun, we would like the Harriers to learn the discipline of training and racing well.

The regular season provides an opportunity for all athletes to try out the sport of cross country. The extended season is likewise the perfect setting for young aspiring athletes to learn how to seriously compete. So here is our post-season schedule:

1. October 29th – Rain City Invitational at Seattle’s Woodland Park. This meet was wasn’t originally on our schedule but we decided to add it to give our Harriers another opportunity to race the Junior Olympic distance (2k, 3k, and 4k). Woodland Park is a very hilly course and there will be a number of teams from Western Washington there.
2. September 12th – Inland Northwest Association Finals at Spokane’s Mead High School. This mostly flat course is the beginning of the Junior Olympic series. All meets from this date forward are required because they are qualifying meets. The top 35 in this race qualify for Regionals the next weekend in Portland. Honestly, most races at Association have fewer than 35 runners (except for perhaps the 12 & under age group which sometimes has up to 40 runners.) Our goal is field several full teams at the association meet. (A full team requires 5 scoring runners.) If parents are unable to travel but kids still want to compete, we may be able to help transport athletes to Spokane. The meet doesn’t start until noon this Saturday so we’ll be leaving Yakima early and coming back the same day after the races.
3. November 19th – Regionals meet in Portland. This is the championship meet for the states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The top 30 individuals and 5 teams in each race qualify for nationals in Hoover, Alabama (suburb of Birmingham). This cross-country meet will be the fastest meet for youth this year, which is why we like to bring our Harriers to the meet. By running against the fastest runners, you understand what it takes to get to this level and can build up to it the next year. Typically this race will have about 40 runners in the 8 & under age group to about 110 runners in the 12 & under age group. If travel to Portland is too pricy, talk to coaches Aleah or myself. Scholarships are available to help families travel to meets like this.
4. December 9th – Junior Olymjo-picture-for-extended-season-2016pic Nationals. We have a few athletes gearing toward this meet. I also believe our 8 & under, 10 & under, and 12 & under boys as well as 10 & under girls team have a chance to qualify IF we could get a full team of five athletes competing all the way to Regionals. A team must have a minimum of five athletes and can have a maximum of eight. Both Coach Casey and myself have already bought tickets to Alabama and will be making the trip whether we have one or twenty athletes qualify.

In cross country it is difficult to predict how your child will place in a particular meet based on previous times. The difficulty of a particular course, race day conditions, running surface and footing dramatically effect a runner’s finishing time. Coach Casey has compiled a list of times from previous national and regional meets to give you a rough idea of where your child might place at both the Association and Regional meets. Please just understand there is a definite margin of error to it. ALSO and more importantly, we all plan on getting faster over the coming weeks as our form and fitness improve. Use your own judgement whether to share it with your child (everyone is different).

In conclusion, it is not too late to register if you or your Harrier (or even a Wenas Valley runner) would like four or five more weeks of running (eight for nationals). It has been a pleasure watching parents and athletes build relationships over the season. I think back to my years running on a youth club team. I am still friends with some of those guys.

See everyone at practice Monday at 5pm.

Please feel free to call if you have questions as we understand by the time you get to this point in the season there are more to things than what kind of popsicles are you going to have? 941-5191

Sun City Harriers 2015 Cross Country Meet Results

Sun City Harriers 2015 Cross Country Meet

Weather 60 degrees and clear / Distance 1 Mile / Little to no wind / Franklin Park


Pre-K to 2nd Grade Girls               

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Joy Lally 7:37 SCH 2nd
2 Kate Mickelson 7:46 SCH 2nd
3 June Sawyer 8:41 SCH 2nd
4 Kennedy Day 9:05 SCH 2nd
5 Brenna Gamache 9:25 WV 2nd
6 Gabby Landvoy 9:51 WV 1st
7 Ellie Suhm 10:10 SCH 2nd
8 Rylie Clark 10:15 WV 2nd
9 Katherine Forsyth 10:25 WV 1st
10 Elizabeth Carroll 10:35 WV 2nd
11 Allison Teerink 10:37 SCH 1st
12. Jinger Homer 10:38 SCH 1st
13. Claire Branch 10:48 SCH 2nd
14. Anya O’Brine 10:57 WV 1st
15. Bridget McCoy 11:02 SCH 2nd
16. Ioanna Forsyth 12:19 WV Pre-K
17. Nora McCoy 12:20 WV 1st
18. Miriam Carroll 12:39 WV 1st
19 Abby Christianson 13:24 SCH Pre-K

Team Scores

1st: Sun City Harriers 17 points

2nd: Wenas Valley 38 points


Pre-K to 2nd Grade Boys               

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Kian Compton 7:48 SCH 1st
2 Colton Worley 7:59 SCH 1st
3 Oliver Anderson 8:03 SCH 1st
4 Shephard Lally 8:14 SCH K
5 Matt Joiner 8:15 SCH 2nd
6 Kyle Blanchard 8:31 SCH 2nd
7 Milo Douglas 8:32 WV 1st
8 Amos Douglas 8:38 WV 2nd
9 Mack Stephenson 8:41 SCH 2nd
10 Brent Johnson 8:47 SCH 2nd
11 David Cardon 8:51 WV 1st
12 Lucas Suhm 8:57 SCH K
13 James Branch 9:08 SCH K
14 Casey Smith-Apperson 9:13 SCH 1st
15 Ryan Thompson 9:13 WV 1st
16 Noah Collins 9:17 SCH 1st
17 Madden Ray 9:24 SCH 2nd
18 Noah Gonzalez 9:32 SCH 1st
19 Caleb Kalombo 9:33 SCH 2nd
20 Ryan Shipley 9:36 WV 2nd
21 Asher Temple 9:54 WV 2nd
22 Orrin Gamache 10:05 WV K
23 Alonzo Yrigoyen 10:15 SCH 2nd
24 Henry Johnson 10:29 SCH K
25 Ethan Thomas 10:45 SCH 1
26 Nathan Lund 10:52 WV Pre-K
27 Jaxon Beck 11:42 SCH 2
28 Ethan Orily 14:58 WV K
29 Jonah Travespowers NT WV 2nd


Team Scores

1st: Sun City Harriers 15 points

2nd: Wenas Valley 48 points


3rd-5th Grade Girls          

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Avery Hartman 6:50 WV 5th
2 Kieryann Mattson 6:57 WV 5th
3 Yobi Ruark 6:57 WV 4th
4 Anna Landroy 7:19 WV 4th
5 Bevani Yrigoyen 7:24 SCH 3rd
6 Olive Clark 7:24 SCH 3rd
7 Eliza Cardon 8:02 WV 3rd
8 Ella Steinhilb 8:05 SCH 4th
9 Hazel Douglas 8:06 WV 3rd
10 Jocelyn McCoy 8:10 SCH 3rd
11 Mary Mickelson 8:12 SCH 5th
12. Lucy Sawyer 8:17 SCH 4th
13. Erica Nass 8:17 WV 4th
14. Isabella Escamilla 8:18 WV 4th
15. Khalia Yrigoyen 8:26 SCH 4th
16. Madelynn Cardon 8:26 WV 5th
17. Hannah Rees 8:30 WV 4th
18. Charlotte Smith 8:32 WV 4th
19. Gwen Dawes 8:33 SCH 5th
20. Claire Emmans 8:46 WV 5th
21. Mackenzie Braegger 8:48 WV 4th
22. Cindy Nulsen 8:50 WV 5th
23. Abigail Cardon 8:53 WV 3rd
24. Natasha Kalombo 8:56 SCH 3rd
25. Nora Emmans 9:24 WV 3rd
26. Cadence Day 9:28 SCH 4th
27. Lizzie Beck 9:30 SCH 5th
28. London Queen 10:01 WV 3rd
29. Cassidy Smith-Apperson 10:09 SCH 5th
30. Addison Coley 10:47 SCH 3rd
31. Karis O’Brine 10:56 WV 3rd
32. Brenna Baker 11:02 SCH 4th
33. Audrey Harveaux 11:10 SCH 4th
34. Ava Christianson 11:29 SCH 3rd
35. Lauren Harveaux 12:10 SCH 5th

Team Scores

1st: Wenas Valley 17 points

2nd: Sun City Harriers 42 points


3rd-5th Grade Boys          

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Nathan Stephenson 6:34 SCH 4th
2 Aiden Waddle 6:39 SCH 4th
3 Dallin Smith 6:40 WV 5thmccoy
4 Daniel Teerink 6:49 SCH 4th
5 Caleb Burton 6:54 SCH 4th
6 Nathan Johnson 7:09 SCH 5th
7 Jaden Gaudet 7:10 WV 4th
8 Cody Leaverton 7:14 SCH 4th
9 Nathan Shipley 7:14 WV 4th
10 Zachary Wagner 7:23 SCH 3rd
11 Spencer Johnson 7:32 SCH 4th
12 Jack Pietrusiewicz 7:46 SCH 5th
13 Will Adams 7:48 WV 4th
14 Cameron Teerink 7:52 SCH 5th
15 Tyler Welch 8:10 SCH 5th
16 Jacob Rettig 8:12 WV 5th
17 Sam Rettig 8:21 WV 3rd
18 Paul Lally 8:27 SCH 3rd
19 David Joiner 8:54 SCH 4th
20 Tristen Temple 9:00 WV 4th
21 Sean Mefford 9:23 SCH 3rd
22 John Curtis 9:51 SCH 3rd
23 Samuel Gonzalez 9:59 SCH 3rd
24 Isaac Thomas 10:12 SCH 4th


Team Scores

1st: Sun City Harriers 18 points

2nd: Wenas Valley 42 points


6th-8th Grade Girls          

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Kara Mickelson 6:54 SCH 6th
2 Anna Emmans 7:10 WV 7th
3 Emma Christianson 7:32 SCH 7th
4 Julia Johnson 8:59 SCH 7th
5 Savannah Smith 9:02 WV 6th
6 Kaelyn Blanchard 11:12 SCH 6th

Team Scores

No team scored


6th-8th Grade Boys          

Place Name Time Team Grade
1 Shea Mattson 6:06 WV 8th
2 Cooper Quigley 6:10 WV 6th
3 Matthew Hernandez 6:33 WV 8th
4 Benicio Yrigoyen 6:53 SCH 6th
5 Bryson Braegger 6:54 WV 6th
6 Sam Rees 7:19 WV 6th
7 Orin Douglas 7:38 WV 6th
8 Caleb Stephenson 7:43 SCH 6th
9 David Queen 8:01 WV 6th
10 Jared Briggs 8:20 WV 6th
11 Colin Thomas 9:04 WV 6th
12 Noah Harveaux 10:30 SCH 6th

Team Scores

1st: Wenas Valley 15 points

Sun City, no score


Next week’s race is Saturday October 3rd—Sunfair Invitational

October 17th –Apple Ridge Invite (last race of regular season)

***For any Wenas Valley runners that would like to join Sun City for the post-season, the cost will only be $25 for Wenas Valley runners for the two postseason meets in Pasco (includes team t-shirt). If interested, please contact coach Matson.

November 14th USATF Association Championship in Pasco (Inland Empire Championships)

November 21st USATF Region 13 Championship in Pasco (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) top five teams and top 30 individuals qualify for USATF cross-country nationals in Albuquerque, New Mexico December 12th.

December 12th USATF Cross-Country Nationals in Albuquerque New Mexico

One month until cross country–Welcome Coach Sawyer who will coach our Group 1 kids this fall

Coach Sawyer will be coaching Group 1 this fall.

Coach Sawyer will be coaching Group 1 this fall.

Sun City is excited to announce that Tracy Sawyer is going to be our Group 1 coach this fall. Our group 1 kids are the kids who have zero or little running experience and are just getting their first taste of cross-country or still getting acclimated to the sport. Her last name may be familiar because her husband Andy was our hurdles coach this spring during track season and did an amazing job.

Our first group in cross-country is for kids just out to have fun, learn a little bit about running, and play a few games at the end of practice. No one ever has to run a race but we would encourage these “harriers” to race as well, especially with the reward of a popsicle and ribbon at the end of a meet.

Group 1, since it is our beginners group only practices during our regular season from September 15th to October 17th.  Any child who would like to continue training after the 17th we will move to Group 2 for the 2nd half of the season if he/she would like to continue on running.

Coach Sawyer, like the rest of the coaches, has kids on the team and her entire family runs.

Currently we have coaches for each of our groups but we could use some extra help in both group one and two to help Coach Tracy and Coach Aleah out. Whether or not you have any running experience we would love to have you help. Message me on Facebook if this is something you are interested in.

Remember, there is a discount for signing up for Sun City by September 8th.

Coach Erik

It’s Race Day Tomorrow!

Kara Goucher, leading US women's marathoner sets her gear out before she runs every race.

Kara Goucher, leading US women’s marathoner sets her gear out before she runs every race.

Tomorrow is race day. Race day in the Mickelson household was an amazing time for me growing up. I started running track at age eight and cross-country at the age of ten so it is in my blood. I also had amazing parents who understood being an athlete. My dad ran track and field for the University of Washington and knew what it took to get an athlete ready in the morning so he engraved this into me with my mom always making me a good breakfast in the mornings.

The first thing on race day is to ALWAYS know your schedule. It is also imperative to know it the night before. So for tomorrow this means we all know pictures are at 8am tomorrow morning. Former Yakima Herald photographer Andy is doing our pictures and giving them to us AT-COST! This means he is volunteering his time and will post the pictures for free-download. Also, warm-up will be at 8:30 for Kindergarden-2nd grade and a half-hour later for 3rd-6th grade and 9:30am for 7th and 8th grade.

Second, make sure you have your young harriers uniforms set out (gold shirts) as well as shorts, sweats, running shoes and a sweatshirt so you are ready to roll come wake-up time.

Third, plan your breakfast ahead of time. Mom, dad or harrier what are you going to eat? Please do not eat donuts, or any fatty food for breakfast. Fats take several hours to digest and will be rolling around the harrier’s stomach come race time. Aleah and my favorite pre-race food is toasted peanut butter toast (two pieces) about two hours pre-race or workout. Perhaps also have a banana since these have a great nutrition source as well. We would strongly recommend eating nothing at least an hour before the race. If your harrier does need something this soon to the race make it super-simple, fast digestible carbohydrates (Gatorade or equivalent, banana, Gu packets (without caffeine), white bread with jelly, etc.

As always, have fun on race morning. Your child may “freak-out.” No worries, this is a really safe environment to learn and grow. Some harriers want to win or place tomorrow. For others we want them to just run the entire way. Others hitting the start AND finish line will be the victory.

If you have any questions feel free to call or text Aleah (833-5952) or myself (833-5951).

Harriers, harriers, harriers!

See you tomorrow,

Coach Erik

Is my child in the right group at practice?

Wow, we have an amazing group of harriers.  We are in week three of practice, and compared to last year, the kids are doing a better job at drills, the enthusiasm is greater, and everyone seems to be having fun.

Here is one of our younger harriers who is doing great in her current group of peers.

I had several parents and kids ask me today at practice if they can move up to a new group. The quick answer to this question is “yes.” If you are looking for a more challenging workout, just ask your coach and we can shift you up a group for a practice or two and see how you fare. Likewise, if you think your child would benefit by moving down a group, talk to us about this too and we can see if this is better for them too.

Every child is different. In our family’s case, we have to push our kids because they would be content jogging a half-mile and calling it a day.  As parents, we walk a fine line between encouraging our children to try their best and pushing too hard, when running turns into punishment.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether your child is in the right group at practice:

  1. Are they having fun? This is the most important thing we can stress in youth athletics. If they are not having fun, we’ve missed the mark. Of course, there are times when a child gets a side ache or just has a bad day, but there should always be some sort of enjoyment.
  2. Are they able to finish the workout?
  3. Are they competitive to a degree?  This will look different depending on your child. For example, I was born with a competitive streak but several of my children couldn’t care less for competition. Still, we want to place kids in a workout group where they can work together as a group to accomplish a goal – finishing an interval in a certain time, for example. A bit of competition can motivate us to perform better than our best solo effort. I feel it is important for my children to be exposed to competition, as this will help them perform under pressure later in life: In high school, college, and the job market.

See you Thursday!

Coaches Erik and Aleah

What is that pain in my side?

Running with a side-ache is never fun.

Running with a side-ache is never fun.

Tonight I had my first three kids tell me there was something wrong with their sides tonight at practice. For those of you who have never had one I’d like to tell you of an experience your child is going to come down with sometime this cross-country season.  When we run there is a muscle underneath our lungs called the diaphram.  It is this muscle that forces our lungs to breath.

For young runners who have never experienced a side-ache it is equivalent to  someone lightly sticking a toothpick in your muscle under your lung.  It is painful and one might think he/she may die if you were to talk to someone in the middle of having one of these occurrences mid-race or workout.

From a pure scientific standpoint there are a few things you can do to help prevent side-aches:

1. Keep running but slow your pace down. Over time, your diaphragm will get in better and better shape and it will stop happening over time.

2. Breath deeply. By breathing deeper it brings more oxygen to your muscles and will allow the side-ache to disappear quicker. My coach told me to walk with my hands over my head. Whether or not this actually helps, I think it does so you will hear me tell our runners this when they have this occurrence after a workout or race.

3. Run a smarter race or workout. The best way for one to give him/herself a side-ache is to run a workout with a very uneven pace, sprinting from the gun immediately putting one’s body into oxygen depth. It is best to pick up one’s pace as you carry on a race or workout.

So if your child comes down with the dreaded “side-ache” this coming fall. Don’t worry, it is totally normal.  Tell them to breath deeply and continue to try. They will get through it!

Keep on running,

Coach Erik

Summer Cross-Country Race Series

SummerCrossCountryRaceSeries2014As we start to gear up for another fall of cross country with the Sun City Harriers, I wanted to let you know about a great local race series. Sponsored by the Hard Core Runners and put on by longtime Selah High School cross-country coach Rick Becker, the Summer Cross-Country Race Series is comprised of 5 races, held every other week on Wednesday nights at Franklin Park.

This Wednesday’s race (August 6th) is 3 miles long, and consists of three 1-mile loops around Franklin Park. The race starts at 7 pm (registration starts at 6 pm).  The final race of the series is scheduled for August 20th, and will be a short 2-mile race. The races are low-key and family friendly. Another thing I love about the race series is it costs only $3/race/athlete.  Having paid for many a $45 5k on the west side of the mountains, $3/race is one heck of a deal.  To top it off, they offer post-race snacks and awards to the top-5 finishers in each division!

It’s hard for me to admit this, but last year two of my daughters ran only a quarter-mile of one of these races before, awash in tears, they insisted they had to quit the race because they hurt so bad. One of the many things I love about distance running is how it develops character, discipline, self-control, and how to deal with suffering (how to combat life’s challenges when it hurts). When it comes to running, it’s not about how well you place or how many victories you garner, but HOW you play the game. When my daughters dropped out of last year’s summer race, I praised them for trying and doing the best they could do.  Running is about competing against yourself and pushing to always do better. In the case of my daughters, we tried again this year and I am proud to say both finished their two-mile race. No, they didn’t win. But they were tougher and faster, and enjoyed the experience. So where am I going with this? I want to strongly encourage you to sign up for the Hard Core Runners Summer XC Race Series.

Do it because it is a fun way to spend your summer evenings here in Yakima. Do it because it is a great way to burn 200 calories. Do it because it will be a great excuse to take your kids out to ice cream afterwards. Do it because it can be the beginning of a great family summer tradition. Do it because there is nothing better than watching an amazing University of Washington bound runner run gracefully through the Franklin Park course. Do it because you want to do it! See you this Wednesday!

Coach Erik

I love the picture in this blog because it illustrates the diversity in running. You have a 4:07 miler in Drew Schreiber leading the pack; however, you have young kids starting the same race with them.  Who knows, one of the little kids in the same race may be a sub four minute miler in fifteen years!!!

New practice location announced for Sun City Harriers

We are excited to announce we are moving the Sun City Harriers home cross-country course from Kissel Park to Franklin Park! The first day of practice is Tuesday, September 9th, and like last year, we will practice Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 5 pm.

Kissel was a great park, but its flat course limited our ability to train on hills. One of the great things about hills is they aid in perfecting form for the developing runner. Running hills in practice will also help us compete better on hilly race courses like the Sunfair Invite (One of the largest XC races in the NW, held at Franklin Park).

Some of the things that Franklin Park (located between Tieton Drive and Chestnut Ave. on the south and north; South 17th and 23rd Ave. on the east and west) also offers is a more diverse course.  For our older runners, it will allow us to run 1000 meter and mile repeats.  For our young kids, we have a great 200 meter and 400 meter loop.

Starting this fall, the Sun City Harriers will also host our very first cross-country meet to go along with the other two local meets we are scheduled to run: the Sunfair Invitational and Apple Ridge Invitational.  There will also be a few other races for team members and families willing to travel to Western Washington and other areas in the Northwest.

Looking forward to the fall!

Coach Erik and AleahAleahFranklinSCHBlogSummerRaceSeries2014