AATC Youth Cross-Country: Season starts Monday August 20 !!

The Ann Arbor Track Club Youth fall cross-country season starts this coming Monday August 20. Practices will be held Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. They start at 6:30 PM, and will be done by 7:30 PM, if not before, due to diminishing daylight. The last outdoor practice during the weeknights will be Thursday November 1. The minimum age for cross-country is eight (8) years old.

For those athletes not competing in any meets in November or December, the fall cross country season ends for them Thursday November 1.

Then they can participate in the club indoor winter track season, which starts Monday November 5, if they wish. More details on the indoor track season will be announced in the months ahead. The indoor track season ends Sunday March 10, 2019.

For those athletes who will be competing in meets in November or December: The weeknight practices will then move indoors (at Eastern Michigan University) starting Monday November 5 through Wednesday December 5. They will still start at 6:30 PM, and will continue to be held on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights. In addition, there will be outdoor practices in November on the weekends (late mornings or early afternoons) on Saturday (or Sunday) November 3/4 and also on Saturday (or Sunday) November 24/25. The exact dates TBD.

*** There will be no practices on Monday September 3 or Thursday November 22 due to the holidays. ***


We will be training at two (2) locations in Ann Arbor:

County Farm Park on Mondays: The entrance to County Farm Park is located at: 2230 Platt Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48104.   Admission is FREE, and parking is FREE. Please meet at the Pavilion. Again: there is NO PRACTICE on Monday September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday.

University of Michigan Arboretum on Wednesdays and Thursdays: (Directions are attached in the e-mail I sent — please meet at the brown medal gate to the park entrance). Parking and admission are also FREE.

The coaches generally expect athletes to attend at least two practices every week. For those families with kids who may have conflicts with practices on certain nights (such as school or religious obligations) — it’s not required to be at every practice. But they should notify me when said conflicts arise, so I can notify the coaching staff.



Athletes should come to practice dressed to run. That means comfortable running shoes, running shorts or tights, T-shirts, and warm-ups during cold weather. For those athletes who joined us this past outdoor track seasons and trained in track spikes — track spikes during cross-country season are used only during meets but not during practices. Running shoes is the only footwear athletes will need during practice.

In addition, athletes should bring their own water bottles, since drinking fountains are located few and far between where we will be training.

Athletes should come to practice already hydrated since we will be running 3-6 miles each night, depending on the age of the kids, and as time allows: lots of running means lots of sweat!! But athletes should not drink too much liquids (or eat too much food for that matter) just before they run because they may cramp up while they run — that means they should not be drinking lots of fluids or eating lots of food after 6 PM.

Light snacks are fine — preferably fruit but no dairy!!



Training outdoors in adverse weather conditions makes athletes stronger. The weather in cross-country meets during September tends to be hot-to-mild, October running weather tends to be cool-to-cold, November running weather may be very cold and unbearable at times. And December running in Tennessee (which is where we will be for the AAU Junior Olympic Nationals) will be back to cool comfortable weather. That’s the sport of cross-country: off-road running on grass, dirt, wood-chips, and sometimes mud —rain or shine. It’s not always pretty and comfortable, but that comes with the territory. The conditions are never the same at every meet: the weather may be different, the courses are always different, the distance the grade-school and middle-school age athletes run may be different, and the times they race may be different, so that means the times athletes have to eat and hydrate may be different. Joy comes when you finish the race, knowing you ran well and set a new PR for yourself, and maybe even a medal or a team trophy!! So the coaches expect athletes to train and compete in said weather conditions. That’s also why we change our practice locations throughout the week. Our goal is to compete at a high level in every meet — especially in November and December during the State and National Championships in Michigan, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Tennessee and California (we send athletes across the country).

That all being said, there are limits: (1) we will train in light-to-moderate rain but never in heavy rain (2) we will not train during lightning, (3) we will not train when the temperature is below freezing — athletes can run in sweats, gloves and caps when it makes sense. If the weather in Ann Arbor is going to be too brutal or dangerous between 6:30 – 7:30 PM on a given night, I’ll call or text every parent to inform them that practice will be canceled that night. I also want to stress that the decision to cancel practice due to weather depends solely on weather conditions in Ann Arbor only. The weather on a given night may be nice where you live, but if Ann Arbor weather is going to be too bad to train outdoors, then practice will be canceled. Conversely, if the weather where you live is bad on a given night, but the weather in Ann Arbor is going to be good enough to train, then practice is ON — so come to practice,  provided the weather is safe enough for you to drive to/from where you live. When in doubt, please call or text me to get a faster response from me — rather than e-mail (which I don’t always get a chance to read in a timely manner).



For those new athletes who will be joining the club — uniforms can be purchased at Tortoise & Hare Running Center in Ann Arbor, and also online at “Team Sports”. I’ll have more to say about uniforms (which can cost as much as $45) at our first practice on Monday. Our first meet won’t be until Saturday September 8, so uniforms won’t be needed until then. The club has “loaner” uniforms for athletes who don’t receive their orders in time.



To join the club — just show up at any of our practices. I’ll hand out membership forms during practice for the new families. We offer a 1week Free Trial Membership — the only requirement is that parents sign the “Consent Waiver” on behalf of their kids under 18.



Meets will be held on the following dates:

– Saturday, September 8 — Tommy Titan Invitational @Cass-Benton Park in Northville, MI

– Saturday, September 22 — Jefferson Invitational @Sterling State Park in Monroe, MI

– Friday, September 28 — Coaching Legends Invitational @Huron Meadows Metro-Park in Brighton, MI [kids in grades K-6 and 7-8 only]

– Saturday, September 29 — Coaching Legends Invitational (day #2) @Huron Meadows Metro-Park in Brighton, MI [kids in grades 9-12 only]

– Saturday, October 6 — Portage Invitational @Portage West Middle-School in Portage, MI [kids in grades 6-12 only]

– Saturday, October 13 — Gabriel Richard Invitational @Hudson Mills Metro-Park in Dexter, MI [kids in grades 9-12 only]

– Saturday, October 20 — Middle-School Mega-Jamboree @Hudson Mills Metro-Park in Dexter, MI [kids in grades K-6 and 7-8 only]


[For those (re-)joining the track club after their middle-school cross-country seasons end]

– Saturday, October 27 — Coaches Cross Country National Youth Championship Qualifier @Hudson Mills Metro-Park in Dexter, MI


[For those (re-)joining the track club after their high-school cross-country seasons end]

– USATF Junior Olympics State Cross Country Championship [date and location: TBD]

– Saturday, November 17 — Coaches Cross Country National Youth Championship @E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park in Louisville, KY

– Saturday, November 24 — Footlocker Midwest Championship @UW-Parkside in Kenosha, WI [for select high-school athletes only]

– Saturday, December 1 — AAU Junior Olympics National Cross Country Championships @Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville, TN

– Saturday, December 8 — Footlocker National Championships @ Balboa Park in San Diego, CA [for select high-school athletes only]


It is not required for athletes to make every meet. Again — conflicts may understandably arise. Parents should let me know which meets their kids can and cannot make before I submit the team meet entries so I don’t waste club money on athletes who cannot attend. I do all the team meet entries — parents just have to let me know. I will announce the registration deadlines for every meet by next week.



The participation fees for the club 2018 Cross-Country season will be $65 for each kid. For families who have more than one kid, there will be a $25 discount for each kid beyond the first. So for families who have two (2) kids, the cost will be $105. For those who have three (3) kids, the cost will be $145, etc.

The participation fees covers coaching, meet entry fees, and the cost to train on an indoor track during the month of November to prepare for the November and December cross-country meets. They do not cover the cost of uniforms. Participation fees will be due Thursday September 6 before our first meet, and they can be made by cash, check (made payable to “AATC”) or online (a $2.95 transaction fee per child applies).



Our club cross-country season is being held during the same time as the Middle-School and High school cross-country seasons. Athletes who will be training and competing for their respective schools are not expected to be training or competing for the club until they are done with their school seasons (school team commitments take first precedence). Middle-School athletes can sometimes train and compete with the club on a limited basis (depending on their school), as long as they get permission from their middle-school coaches first. The middle-school cross-country season typically ends by the 4th week of October. High-school athletes on a school team should never train or compete with the club until after the MHSAA High School State Championship on Saturday November 3.They will be given a reduced rate to join the club afterwards since there will be only one (1) month left in the club cross-country season at that point. Middle-School and High-school age athletes who attend a school that doesn’t offer cross-country, or if they attend a school that does offer cross-country but choose not to run for their schools are free to join the club this coming Monday. For the reasons I just mentioned, the athletes that run club cross-country tend to be mostly grade-schoolers and middle-schoolers, since the vast majority of our high-school age athletes run cross-country for their respective schools for most of the season.



For the most current information online, please visit our (smart-phone app) “Team App” web-site:  https://aatcyouth.teamapp.com/

You can access this web-site from your desktop or laptop computers as well as from your smart-phone.

For those who don’t have the “TEAM APP” on your smart-phones yet, you can download it for free, as follows:

  1. Use the web-browser (Safari, etc) on your phone to download the app from https://teamapp.com.
  1. When you bring up the app, please create your own log in, and request access to “AATC_Youth“.
  1. There is a group under “AATC_Youth” for parents and one for athletes that you can associate your account with. You can request access to the group you wish.


Hope to see many of you at 6:30 PM this coming Monday — at County Farm Park!!


Ron Beasley (734-330-7931)

Ann Arbor Track Club — Youth Division Director



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