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Holy Angels Cross Country Frequently Asked Questions 

Welcome to Holy Angels Cross Country (HAXC)!  Please review the information contained in this document prior to the first practice.  A mandatory Parents Meeting will be held during the first week of practice to review this information, and to answer any questions you may have regarding HAXC.

Head CoachBrian Sklodowski

What is Cross Country?  Cross country is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically 1 mile (for JV) or 2 miles (for Varsity), may include surfaces of grass, and earth,  pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road.  It is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged on individual times and teams by a points-scoring method.

Who can participate in HAXC?  Holy Angels Cross Country team is open to boys and girls in Grades 3-8.

Is there a HAXC Fun Runners program for younger children?  Yes! Children in grades kindergarten through second grade are welcome to participate in designated practices with HAXC and CYM cross country meets that facilitate Fun Runner races. Please visit the REGISTRATION tab to register your child.  

What if my child is nervous about running distance?  Running longer distances can be intimidating for kids who have never done this before.  We (the coaches) understand this, and work with the kids to gradually build them up to the race distances.  Through active encouragement, we motivate kids to work up to their potential, and we make sure that HAXC is a fun, low-stress program.  You and your kids will be amazed at how they progress over the 2.5 months of the season!!

When does practice start?   Practice for Grades 3-8 begin August 15, 2017.  We generally practice on T/TH from 6-7:15 early in the season.  Later in the season, when sundown comes earlier we will practice from 5:30-6:45.  A calendar will be distributed which details the practice and meet schedule. 

Where are practices held?  Practices are held at various parks around the Newark/Pike Creek Area.  Occasionally we may practice at a more distant venue specific to an upcoming meet.  The practice locations for each week will be distributed by email on Sundays.

Note:  Many of our practice and meet locations are in Delaware State Parks which require a $3.00 entry fee.  Alternatively, you can purchase an annual park pass for $35 (in-state) which is well worth it!  If the entry fee poses an issue, please let a coach know as alternate arrangements can be made.

What time should my child arrive for practice?  Athletes should arrive at practice no later than ten minutes prior to the scheduled start of practice. The warm ups and stretches that we do at the beginning of practice are essential to a safe and productive workout. Waiting for late arrivals is unfair to the group, and will deprive the late-arriving athlete out of a proper warm-up which may result in injury.  Often we will meet at a parking lot, and jog to another location to begin practice.  If you arrive late, you may not be able to locate the rest of the team, so please be on time (or early).

Per CYM regulations, coaches are required to stay onsite until all children are picked up, so please be courteous to your coaching staff and pick up athletes promptly at the end of practice!!!

All parents are welcome and encouraged to stay for practice and observe, or run along with the kids.  We are always looking for parents who are willing to run with us!

Does HAXC practice in bad weather?  We practice in the heat and cold, but usually not in the rain and definitely not if there is any lightning in the area.  If the weather is looking bad, an email notification will go out at least 2 hours prior to the start of practice informing everyone if practice has been cancelled.

What should my child wear/bring to practice?  Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.  All children are required to remain fully clothed during practice (i.e. boys should not remove their shirts).  Your child should also bring water for themselves.  HAXC does not allow the use of personal electronics during practices or meets, unless it is necessary to place or receive a call to/from a parent.

What type of shoes should my child wear to practices/meets?  Each athlete will require a pair of proper running shoes. Basketball shoes, “cross trainers” or other specialty shoes are not appropriate for the types of stresses that the athlete’s feet will be under during training, and are discouraged.  “Barefoot” shoes are also not recommended for children. 

Are practices mandatory?  Attendance at practice is not mandatory, but is strongly encouraged.  HAXC is an instructional program; we train the children in proper stretching/warm up techniques, running form, and race strategies.  Your child will greatly benefit from regular attendance at practices. 

·        A Note About HAXC Behavior Polices:  In order to maintain a safe and productive atmosphere at our practices, we require that all HAXC participants adhere to some simple behavioral rules.  These rules prohibit some activities that may otherwise seem normal to kids and parents, such as climbing on trees or rocks, throwing rocks/pine cones, waving sticks, etc.  This is necessary to maintain order and focus, as well as to ensure the safety of all participants.  Please understand that during practices and meets, HAXC coaches are responsible for the safety of the kids (per CYM regulations).  In general, these rules are enforced starting at the beginning of every practice/meet, until the event is deemed complete, at which point all kids are free to play as they wish or as their parents determine. 

Where are meets held?  Meets are held on the weekends at various parks, mostly in northern New Castle County.  These include Bellevue State Park, Brandywine Creek State Park, Canby Park, White Clay Creek State Park, Carousel Park and the Stateline Woods Preserve.  One meet each year is held at Brocknock County Park near Dover.  Please see the HAXC calendar for all scheduled meets.

What are the uniform requirements for HAXC?  A full uniform consisting of a jersey and matching shorts will be provided to every HAXC athlete.  Every athlete is required to compete in full uniform, without exceptions.  This includes wearing both the jersey and matching shorts.  In addition, jerseys should be worn tucked into the shorts, not untucked or cinched around the abdomen.  During colder weather, long-sleeves or compression shirts/tights may be worn under the uniform.  These should be chosen to match our team colors if possible (blue/white/black/gold).

How many events will my child participate in during a meet?  Each runner participates in one race during each meet.  The JV (Grades 3-6) races are usually ~1 mile and the Varsity (Grades 6-8) are usually ~2 miles in length.

How long do the meets last?  A typical cross country meet lasts around 2.5 hours.

Does my child need to be at the meet for the entire time?  For each meet, we will publish a scheduled arrival time, usually about one hour before the first race.  All participants are required to arrive and check in with the coaches by the published arrival time.  This is necessary so that the coaches can verify our submitted entries into the various events.  We strongly encourage all athletes to stay for the entire meet and cheer for their teammates, even if they have completed their race.  Think about it…would you leave a baseball or soccer game early if your child was done participating??

Will my child win a medal or award at every meet?  Whereas HAXC accommodates a wide range of athlete skill levels, the CYM is a very competitive league with very accomplished athletes.  As such, not every child will win a medal at every meet. 

How do I let you know if my child must miss practice or a meet?  HAXC employs a simple online website (teamsnap.com) to “RSVP” for all meets.  It is strongly suggested for you to verify your child’s attendance at upcoming meets.  More information regarding registering for TeamSnap will be provided during the first weeks of practice.  It is not required to RSVP for practices.

Does HAXC need any volunteer help?  YES!!!  We are always looking for parents and/or older siblings who are willing to run with us at practice and help organize the team (herd the cats!) at practices and meets.  If you have an interest in helping, please contact Coach Brian.  You do not need to have any prior experience of knowledge of running to help out.

All parents are required to volunteer at the Holy Angels/St. Anne's Meet, our co-hosted meet.  The success of our meet depends on having a sufficient number of volunteers, so your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

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