Cross Country Team Fact Sheet

The following is a summary of the key elements of the PMS cross country program.  Additional details can be found in the tab "Frequently Asked Questions."

The purpose of the PMS cross country team is to provide students the opportunity to develop their running ability in a fun, but directed environment where both the individual and team accomplishments are important and are recognized.   
What Is Cross Country?
Cross country running is a sport in which runners compete on courses over natural terrain. The course is about a mile in length, may include surfaces of grass, dirt, and asphalt, and incorporate both hills and level ground.  It is both an individual and a team sport, as runners can score as an individual and accumulate points for their team.  Since it is an endurance sport, training emphasizes distance running and running uphill and downhill. 
Practice Schedule
During the 2013 season, practices will be held four days a week, Mondays through Thursdays, and will start 10 minutes after the last bell.  Practices last 90 minutes, and except for those days designated as minimum days, practices will be from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.
Location of Practices
Team members are to meet at Witter Field for every practice.  We start and end each practice there.  During the course of a practice session, we may run into the surrounding neighborhood, but we always finish at Witter.
Attendance at Practice
Team members are required to attend a minimum of one practice a week.  If you can attend more practices, that's fine, but you select the days to practice that best meets your schedule.
Practice Session Format
Every practice will be supervised by several coaches.  Practices start with a warm-up jog as a team.  Often we will split into smaller groups and do stretching, core strengthening exercises, form drills, an endurance run, and a faster paced run on the track.
An active game, such as Ultimate Frisbee, will be incorporated into many practices.   Water breaks will be taken during each practice and we end with a healthy snack for every runner.  The total distance run at each practice is about 2 to 3 miles, but this is done in increments.  Members of the coaching staff have taken basic First Aid and CPR training, and a first aid kit will be brought to every practice. 
Our coaching philosophy emphasizes the fact that Cross Country should be FUN.  We strive to make practices meaningful, that will both develop running skill and result in a positive experience.  However, every child is expected to run as much as possible during the practice activities, especially the endurance run.
PMS is part of a league with other middle schools and there will be both regular season meets and a league championship meet. 
Each meet will consist of competition by grade and gender, i.e., 6th grade girls, 6th grade boys, 7&8th grade girls, and 7&8th grade boys.  Every team member is required to run in at least three regular season meets and the league championship meet.
There will be about 8 regular season meets to choose from and to avoid over-racing a child should not compete in more than 6 regular season meets, unless it has been cleared with a coach. 
Everyone runs in the meets, there is no bench and all runners have equal "playing time."  At the end of the season, depending on what the league coaches have decided, every school may be limited to how many runners can be entered in the championship meet/race.  A "B" meet/race will be held for runners not entered in the championship meet/race.      
Transportation to Meets
Team member parents are asked to volunteer to drive the kids on the team to the meets.  Car pool drivers meet at the Piedmont Community Hall parking lot at 3:00 p.m. on the day of a meet.  The kids return back to Piedmont with the driver they came with unless a parent or guardian meets them at the meet to drive them home.  Drivers are to return the kids to their doorstep.  The past two years, for one of the away meets, a bus has been rented to transport the students so drivers will not be needed for this meet.
The primary communications tool will be e-mail.  There will be a weekly bulletin summarizing the previous week's practice and plans for the upcoming week and beyond.  The plan is to have a team parent for each grade who will coordinate transportation to the meets.  Parents are encouraged to contact the coaching staff or the Recreation Dept. with any questions or concerns.
Runner Reward Program 
As a way to reward team members for coming to practice and participating in meets, points are awarded.  As points are accumulated rewards are earned starting with a small item, i.e., an Icee at Mulberry's and ending in a larger item, a gift card to Fenton's Ice Creamery.  A document summarizing the points earned will be provided periodically and included in some weekly e-mails.