2018 St. John Chrysostom CYO Track Team (this is not yet finalized for 2018)

Parent Handbook

This Handbook has been prepared to provide parents of all athletes participating in the St. John Chrysostom CYO Track & Field Program with the necessary information to assist their children in pursuit of a healthy, safe, fun and competitive experience.

For those of you who are returning parents most of this information will not be new. For those of you who are new to the program and the sport of Track & Field this handbook will provide you with guidance on activities that will take place this season. It is also meant to take some of the mystery out of this sport which is championed by a small, but highly dedicated group of individuals both locally and nationally at the grade school, high school and collegiate level.

We are attempting to make as much use as we can of the St John Chrysostom Track website, which is: www.sjctrack.org.

We do intend to host meets again this year at the Strath Haven High School track, located off of Providence Rd. (Rt 252) behind the Middle School. The home meet schedule is not finalized at this writing. Meet locations have not yet been finalized. We expect to have a snack bar our home meets to help defray the facilities cost that we must pay to the Wallingford Swarthmore School District. We will need plenty of parent help at these meets.

All the coaches from the St. John’s track team thank you for allowing your children to participate in the program.


BOYS Head Coach: Glenn Venturini
H – (610) 566-9521; Cell– (610) 585-2914; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GIRLS Head Coach: Steve Balmer
H – (610) 565-4175; Cell – (215) 680-2272; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Assistant Coaches: Bob White, Brian O'Rouke, Caitlin Cheruka

St. John Chrysostom CYO Athletic Director: Brian O'Rouke  email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CYO Track& Field Commissioner: TBA

Note: Parents are welcome to join in for assistance at any practice and participate as a volunteer official at any regular season meet. However, please be aware the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and St. John’s Parish maintains strict rules regarding criminal background checks, child protection training and coaching orientation for any adult engaging in a coaching position for any official CYO sponsored program. No one is permitted to individually instruct children in CYO programs who has not met these strict requirements.


To: Our Parent Partners:

Track & Field is a competitive sport with a good deal of focus on individual, athletic performance. The coaches want to forthright emphasize that we will always do our best to maximize each athlete’s chance to perform well, under fun and enjoyable circumstances. Our primary focus for each individual child is to ensure he/she learns the correct way to perform to the best of his/her ability by teaching such things as proper: hydration, stretching, strengthening drills, agility drills, running and event performance techniques. We focus on running form (economy of movement), proper breathing, speed of movement and finally endurance strength.

We want to field a competitive team; the kids enjoy being part of a successful team effort. Success does breed success no matter how it is measured. We value improvement in the less talented athlete as much as the athlete who becomes an Archdiocese Champion. You can always be assured that safety, fun and fitness for all the athletes will be the priority of order of things.

Additionally, please always keep in mind that the purpose of CYO activities is first and foremost to function as an athletic ministry. There will be a ministry emphasis on top of all that we do.

Our coaching philosophy revolves around the fact that safety and fun are priorities; teaching the skill is secondary. When play is mixed in with training, success can follow because the children can become fully engaged in an activity they enjoy. Moreover, the recognition of a child’s success in front of his/her peers no matter how trivial, frequently boosts self-confidence and esteem.

When children begin to gain confidence in their chosen activity whether it is in sports, the arts or academics; the teacher, instructor, mentor or coach has a window of opportunity to further advance knowledge and skill. When this is done in a fun way, it is a win / win situation. Coaching at this level (4th – 8th grade) is not about winning; it’s about conservative training, teaching fundamentals, reinforcing positive behavior and most of all having fun, all under the banner of our faith and church community.

When you are on a Track team the reality is that you run and exercise your body. Here are some thoughts about our training methods. Season beginning practices are devoted to general physical fitness improvement in order to reach a level that allows for training to enhance performance. After a few weeks of practice we look at a number of issues on an age appropriate basis with an emphasis on teaching. These include:

  1. Dynamic Warm up
  2. Static Stretching
  3. Hydration
  4. Strength
  5. Balance
  6. Agility
  7. Cardiovascular Training
  8. Nutrition
  9. Proper Clothing for the weather conditions
  10. Running Form
  11. Breathing Rhythm
  12. Racing Strategies

Other focal points in our program are injury prevention and wellness. Here are key considerations:

  1. Proper shoe selection is critical to minimize injury;
  2. If a child is undergoing a growth spurt, please inform the coaches;
  3. For those children participating in another spring sport, we need to be careful about not overlapping practices/competitions on the same day;
  4. If a child participates in 2 other sports besides Track & Field, it is suggested that he/she drop one sport or not participate in Track & Field;
  5. If a child is sick, please do not come to practice until he/she is completely better for a continuous 24 hour period.
  6. Proper sleep and rest is essential for good health and performance
  7. Proper Clothing – sweatshirt, pants, hats, gloves – We go outside! Track practice in March frequently has poor weather. Additionally there can be a big difference in conditions between leaving school at 3:00pm and ending practice at 7:00pm. Parents are urged to push the issue of proper dress, even if you get a pushback.
  8. Parents are also urged to inform the coaches of any behavioral concerns amongst athletes. Bullying, improper language, unwanted touching are not tolerated. We ask parents to alert the coaches regarding problems that we can not always observe during practice times and meets (which get extremely busy with the size of our team)

By following the above approach we hope the children will gain an appreciation of maintaining personal fitness, strengthen self-confidence and just maybe, gain an enjoyment of the sport of Track & Field that carries on into High School and beyond.

Please do not hesitate to contact the coaches at any time with your questions, issues, concerns, thoughts and ideas. We cannot manage and maintain a successful program without your support. We thank you for all your assistance and commitment to our program.


Arrival Time at Practice: We practice 5:30 to 7p.m, your child should not be in the gym or on the field before a coach is present. Please arrive on time for practice; we have a lot to do so we want to start on time.

Practice schedule: Practice will run 5 days a week Monday thru Friday. Your child is expected to attend 3 practice sessions. Boys and girls will practice together. If your child participates in another spring sport, we would like a minimum of 2 practices per week. We do not want the kids to train/run more than 3 times per week. We are confident our training regimen is age appropriate.

As with past years, we expect to move to the Strath Haven track behind the Middle School on Providence Rd. as soon as conditions permit (i.e. daylight, weather, track conditions, etc.). When we make this move, practice time will remain on the same schedule.

Sweat pants and sweatshirts are REQUIRED at ALL practices. Please do not drop your child off without sweats NO MATTER THE PREVAILING WEATHER CONDITIONS. During cold weather a hat, gloves (socks work well) and layers of clothes are essential. Folks this is REALLY important. The Strath Haven track area is frequently chilly and windy, even on seemingly very nice days. There are very noticeable temperature drops from mid day to 6-7pm, so please dress your child appropriately.

A fluid replacement drink (at least 8oz) is required at every practice and meet. Cool water is the best fluid replacement. For our purposes, sports drinks do not provide much benefit unless your child does not like water!

Children should not eat within 90 minutes of the start of practice. If they do, cramps or an upset stomach as soon as they start to run is a predictable circumstance.

Shoes: Proper running shoes are required to run. Check with the coaches if you have any shoe questions. Refer to handout on Guidelines for Running Shoe Selection.

The CYO Program does permit the use of spikes at CYO competitions. However, spike usage will be dependent upon the rules of the local tracks. We do not have details on this yet, but we DO NOT recommend the usage of spikes at this competitive level. Spikes can be expensive and the competitive gain at this level is negligible.

  • *If your child has asthma, concussion or any medical condition a signed permission slip from his or her doctor indicating that they are cleared to participate in sports must be turned into the coaches prior to starting practice.

  • *Service project: We will a have team, parish service project – TBD

  • No jewelry is to be worn for practice or meets.

  • No child may use the restroom without a peer or an adult accompanying them.

  • If it is raining, we will plan to practice in the SJC gym depending on availability and co-ordination with other groups. In event of inclement weather, we will make every effort to notify you by e-mail of a practice decision by 4:30 p.m.

  • Let us know if you want us to maintain a 2nd e-mail address for you.


VERY IMPORTANT- PLEASE sign up on the sign in genie for track meet participation, before Wednesday’s practice if your child will not be able to attend the full meet, arrive late or depart early. Relays and children’s participation schedules for the meets will be arranged immediately after practice on the Thursday before a meet.

A runner must compete in at least 3 out of 5 regular season meets in order to be eligible for any of the 3 post season Championship meets. Exceptions do apply but must be reviewed one week prior to the meet in question by our Area Commissioner. Exceptions are granted only for the most extenuating circumstances.

Uniforms are to be worn at every meet. We ordered racing shirts for those who may need one. Black shorts are appropriate. They will arrive sometime between the first and second meet. A team member may run wearing a long sleeve shirt under the racing shirt on cooler days. Rain gear should be worn on inclement days. Also bring an extra set of dry clothes (including socks and shoes).

Volunteers needed at meet: We are required to have 5 parents available to time and/or run the shot put and long jump pit – Stop watches will be provided. No experience is needed. We will provide you with proper officiating instructions.

No parent may be on the infield or walk onto or across the track unless they are a timer or working the shot put or long jump pit. Please do not approach any meet official. Any inquires must go through the St. John coaches first. Failure to follow this procedure will likely result in the disqualification of the entire team! It’s a no tolerance policy. The coaches will immediately attend to any athlete in noticeable distress.

Sweat pants and sweatshirts are required for every meet NO MATTER THE PREVAILING WEATHER CONDITIONS.

A fluid replacement drink (at least 16oz) is required for each meet.

Healthy snacks during meet please! Snacks should be low fat (i.e., fruit, breads) Candy or other junk food should not be eaten until after all events are run. It is preferred your child eat a nutritious pre race meal prior to the meet.

Food should be consumed at least 90 minutes prior to the first event at a meets. If this plan is not followed your child could experience cramps and an upset stomach and perform less than their best.

Appropriate language is required on and off the field. No swearing is permitted.

No gum chewing allowed during practices/meets

Each child needs an adult chaperone. Please inform the coaches who your child’s chaperone is for the day. No child may use the restroom without an adult chaperone.

Any child who has a concussion, or has had emergency medical assistance at ANY meet or practice will require a signed doctor’s permission form in order to compete again. This is mandatory from the Archdiocesan CYO Office. The home team coach must notify the League Presidents and the Area Commissioner of any such instance. The child’s coach must insure that that child does not participate in training, practice, or meets until the note has been received. The coach is to then forward that permission form to the Area Commissioner as soon as possible. The Area Commissioner will then keep the form on file through the Archdiocesan Championships.


  • All meets will be on Saturday (Sunday meets are a possibility) at various tracks throughout the area. Meets generally take about 3 – 3.5 hours from start to finish. Adequate volunteers allows for the meet to be completed sooner. So, please volunteer!!
  • In some instances host teams will consider running combined boys and girls meets.
  • Canceled meets may be rescheduled for the following Sunday, if so, the meet starts at 1pm
  • Please click here for meet dates.
Novice – Born in 2007 or 2008 (NEW, this can include 2008 3rd graders)
Intermediate – Born in 2006 (Area D is the only Area that competes with this division.
This division is combined with the 2005 Minors for the
Regional, Area and Archdiocese Championship Meets.)
Minor – Born in 2005
Cadet – Born in 2003, 2004 or on or after 9/1/2002


Organization of the Philadelphia Archdiocese Track and Field Teams

There are four areas in the Philadelphia Archdiocese (A, C, D)...we are in Area D (most of Delaware County). Within our area we have 2 Regions. We do not yet know our assigned Region and the teams we will compete against. The team size will be used to place a team within a Region. The Regional Championship Meet will determine qualifiers for the Area Meet.

A little trivia to go with this...

  • 3 Areas in Archdiocese (Phila., Delco, BuxMont, and Chester counties)
  • The number of Track Teams in Archdiocese is hard to guesstimate.... anywhere from 100-110 "parishes" attend the Penn Relays, and there's approximately 6,000-8,000 athletes that run. Around 125 teams (that have boys/girls)
  • Roughly 60-80 teams make it to the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Championships
  • It’s quite an accomplishment to make it to the final Championship Meet!



We need parents (PLEASE), to take charge of the following responsibilities on the days of Meets:

  • Team Tent Transport –Boys ( deliver and setup tent) – Girls (take down)- Girl parent gets the tent back to a Boy parent or Coach
  • Parent teams for Team snacks
  • After each meet (girls or boys) please assist in cleaning up the bleachers and the immediate area. This is a critical function. We can lose track facilities for sloppiness.
  • For each 4 athletes on your team you should have one volunteer. That means if you have 20 athletes on your team, you should have 5 volunteers. These volunteers serve as officials during the meets. In order to run quality (and timely) meets, it is necessary for everyone to work together for the betterment of the children. There is an Officials’ Clinic at the beginning of the season that will train the adult volunteers to be officials. We will provide information about the official clinic when it becomes available

As you can see, there is a lot of information you need to know regarding your child’s participation in the SJC Track Program. The coaches appreciate the opportunity to work with your child. We’re looking forward to another fun and competitive season.

Please do not hesitate to contact a coach if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions or thoughts regarding your child or the program in general.

E-mail is our primary means of communication. Let us know if this will be an issue. We will provide you with periodic updates throughout the season.

Thank you for your support and co-operation.

Now as the Race Starter says:

“Runners… take your marks…… Set….


For a printer friendly PDF version of this page, please click here.

Born in 1999 (Area D is the only Area that competes with this division. This division is combined with the 1998 Minors for the Area and Archdiocese Championship Meets.)