2021 Parent Meeting

Dear XC parents:

Thanks for letting your son come out for the team.  I am extremely proud of this team again this year. 

My Contact Information
Please feel free to contact me at school from 8am to 3:00pm at 586-4962 or ngarrison@ms.k12.il.us
Please feel free to contact me at home at 898-4993. 
If you lose this information, I post it on the front page of the XC website.

Meet Schedule
The tentative schedule is online.
I must warn you that it is tentative.  High school cross country coaches donít usually send us the exact times and locations to meets until about 10 days before each race.  I will let your sons know as soon as I find out if there are any updates.  I will also update it on the website as soon as I find out.  The times and locations for Conference, Regional, and Sectional have not been set at this point. 

The tentative schedule indicates what times the boys run.  If you look on the school site (not our XC site) they will list the start of the girlís race.  Girls often run 3 hours before the boys run.  I would hate for you to show up 3 hours early to a meet, so that is why I have included all the different race start times.  Some invitationals have 3 separate races for the boys.  They might only allow 7 or 10 runners in the Varsity, 7-10 runners in the fresh/soph race, and any additional runner in the Open race.  I will let your sons know who is going to be in each specific race about a week before each race.  I need to take into consideration who is healthy or running strongest at that week of the season.

Bus Times
The meet schedule also shows bus departure times.  We do leave exactly on time.  We never leave later than the departure time listed.  We traditionally ask our runners to arrive about 20 minutes before the bus departs to help load the bus and to make sure all runners are accounted for.  It isnít personal, but we will leave on time even if not all of our runners are on the bus.  The bus departure times are scheduled so that we will arrive about 55 minutes before the start of the first girlís race if we share a bus or the first boy's race if we don't share a bus.  The runners will need the 55 minutes to properly warm up, use the rest room, and get checked in at the start of the race. 

The school is usually locked on Saturdays.  I will open the back door to our locker room about 30 minutes or so before the departure time.  The runners should know where this door is located.

I have included an estimated arrival home time for our meets.  This is only an estimate based off the last 10 to 20 years of going to the meet.  The estimated arrival home varies slightly.  I have included this so that you can plan your weekend accordingly. 

Meet Directions
I have posted meet directions to our meets.
There are different ways to get to each school, but this is the directions our slow and big buses go. 
I included estimated driving times.  This is based on a slow bus and no traffic problems.
I have not included Conference, Regional, and Sectional as these havenít been set yet.

Food for Meets
Some invitationals we attend have well over 200 bus loads of runners.  Many of these buses depart meets at the same time and try to go to the same restaurants.  I have found that this can delay our arrival home by 2 to 3 hours.  I value your sonsí free time, family time, and study time.  So at most of our meets we try to do a cookout for the runners.  We usually grill hamburgers, have chips, cookies, and water bottles.  As long as weather permits and we have someone to cook the food, we will have the cookout.  At most meets, we have to wait about 30 minutes to an hour for results and awards.  We ask that our runners warm down and eat at this time.  This appears to be the best use of their time. 

Parents have volunteered over the years to bring food or have a cookout at each of our meets.  I greatly appreciate this and I know our boys do as well.

Runners can bring their own food if they donít like what is provided at the cookout.  Half of our invitationals also have concession stands as well.

Boosters Reps
Each sport has a boosterís representative.  Boosterís representatives donate their time and energy to advocate for their sport and to help raise money for all our sports programs.  Boosters traditionally gives our program about $500 a year.  Our school budgets are limited and usually cover the meet entry fees and a few hundred dollars extra.   Without boosters support, we could not do many of the rewards and nice things for our runners. 
Our boosterís rep.  Thank you.

Neal Garrison.  This is my 20th year coaching XC at Mahomet-Seymour High School.
Andrew Walmer is joining us for his 2nd year of coaching cross country at our high school. 

Sports Clinic
Studies have shown that the high school sport with the most injuries is girls cross country.  While cross country usually doesnít have serious injuries, they do have injuries.  Carle offers a free service for area athletes at their Sports Clinic (just North of Lincoln Avenue in Urbana).  The hours are 6:30 am to 8:30 am Monday Ė Friday and 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Thursday. 

We practice right after school ends every day.  Our practices vary in length, but traditionally last until 5:15 to 5:45 pm. 
I do not require morning workouts.
I do not require weekend runs.
I do not require workouts on the days we donít have school like Labor Day.  This allows you to have family time and trips.
However, to be the best runner they can be, many of our runners do run on their own on these days.  The sport of cross country doesnít have a lot of skill, but mainly endurance.  To get the most endurance, they will want to run, even when we donít have a required practice.  The nice thing about running is that they can run when convenient on the weekends.  Many of our runners do still choose to run together on these days off or in the mornings even though no coach is present.

We run in all weather, except extreme weather like lightening.
We start the season in the high 90s and end the season in the 30s.
Encourage your son to bring long sleeve shirts, hats, gloves, and extra dry socks now since Illinois weather can change quickly.

Pasta Parties
Running is very physically and mentally demanding.  The boys grow very close to each other as they suffer and work hard together on a daily basis.  Cross country has been my favorite sport to coach as the athletes really bond as a team more than any other sport I have been involved in.  One of the main things that our former runners have thought was the most favorite memories about cross country was the tradition of a pasta party. 
These are not required of our runners, but I highly encourage our runners to attend as they do enjoy them and it is a great opportunity for our runners of different ability levels to get to know each other better.  I also think it is great that the runners have a safe environment to have a party without the pressures of drugs and alcohol that are out there at other parties.
Over the years our parents have volunteered to host a pasta party on Friday nights.  I am very grateful to our parents for this.  Our practices are usually done about 5:45 or so Friday night.  Pasta parties vary in their start and end times, but they traditionally start shortly after practice.  What parents have provided for food has also varied from pasta from Fazollis, to hot dogs, to chili, to hamburgers. 
As a coach I donít want to offend parents or to seem unappreciative, but I intentionally donít go to the pasta parties.  One reason is that I donít want it to seem like practice.  I want the runners to be able to have fun with each other without that practice feelings.  The other main reason is that I head home to spend time with my wife.
I am extremely grateful to our parents for opening up their houses to approximately 20 runners.  I know it is both a financial burden as well as a time commitment to prepare a house for that many guests. 
Our pasta party list.

Meet Information

I have tried to create a top times list at each of our meets to encourage our current runners to run harder and to acknowledge our former runners for their efforts.  These fastest times lists can be found online.

Letter Policy
Our runners can earn a varsity letter no matter what their grade.  Our letter policy can be found online.

Thanks again for letting your son run in our program. 

Neal Garrison