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

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