Welcome to what I hope will be a regular feature. I am going to try to use the website as a means of communication for our newsletters. I had a chance to see a lot of you at the state meet and also the Track and Cross Country Coaches Convention in Everett this year, and I appreciated the opportunity to visit and also gather feedback on our sport. Although it is winter, there is actually a lot going on right now. I hope to be able to cover the key points here.
At the convention, we honored this years Hall of Fame inductees. They included Jerry Miller, Clyde Carpenter, and Julie Coburne. I encourage you to visit the Hall of Fame page on this site to read about them. We also honored another slate of coaches with our coach of the year honors. They are listed under the WSCCCA tab on the website along with all of the previous winners. We also have the latest historical perspective from Rod Wilcox and the 2015 All State athletes. Both are under polls and lists.
Many if not all of you should be getting the WIAA regular newsletter.There are several amendments that will be decided this spring. The Executive Board is in opposition to Amendment #17.5.5 and 17.5.8D # 1 and 2. On the face of things, they look to be trying to help coaches compete with outside clubs. However, the conditioning aspect is now limited to just weightlifting, with running (and everything else) now governed by the 20 practice rule. Please take the opportunity to read it carefully and discuss it with your administrators.
During the coaches meeting in Everett, there was quite a discussion about our sport, the state meet, and where we are headed. A summary of the meeting minutes will be posted on the website. Below is a summary of the membership concerns and ideas that I will be sharing with the WIAA.
- All teams need to be verified with participation on athletic.net. This has been an issue, particularly in the smaller schools and has the potential to affect allocations. Often a small school may have fluctuation from year to year, and therefore participation numbers need to be verified on a yearly basis at a reasonable point in the season. October 1 was suggested.
- There needs to be a way to allow a coach to remain behind the starting line at the state meet. In the case of a restart, it is important for a coach to be present to tend to the needs of their athletes.
- We would like to see an alley system for the starting line to reduce collisions going over the hill. Almost every year involves collisions of some type and some of these can be 100m – 200m after the start. This would ensure a fair start for all runner and not have the start or a re-start alter the outcome of a race
- We would like to see “unofficial” results displayed on a reader board at the conclusion of the race, with official results ready at the conclusion of the 30 minute window for protests. The current system is taking too long, and there should be a more efficient finish line protocol. There are several large meets that have dealt with this successfully so the technology and expertise are available.
- We would also like to see greater access for coaches at the state meet. We discussed having only one point of entry and show a pass to enter for one coach per team. An alternative solution would be to have a limited coach’s only area on the back side with entrance via a pass.
- All athletes need to be given a number. They are a part of the team. Additionally, not having a number for each athlete makes it difficult to make any needed changes at the last minute before the start.
- We would like to also see the ability for athletes to order shirts or sweatshirts on line, and then just pick them up when they arrive. We feel like this would be beneficial for all parties.
- Our state meet is a great event, and John Crawford has done a great job in making it a “big time” event. But as coaches we always are striving to improve, and wanting the state meet to continue to improve is no different. We are all in this together.
We also discussed the East West All Star Race and scholarship process. There will be scholarship information posted on the website soon, and we encourage you to pass the word on to your senior athletes. We will be making a concerted effort to make sure our scholarship winners are notified in advance so they can attend. We ask that you make a concerted effort to encourage athletes to apply, and to encourage all stars to take part in the race. We are in reasonable shape for scholarships but could use more support, particularly from outside of the Puget Sound Region where the vast majority of the funding comes from. We have been receiving support from a few individuals, as well as The Run of the Mill, Lakefair Runs, The South Sound Cross Country Camp, Sunfair, Lakewood (Hole in the Wall) boosters, Fort Steilacoom Invite, South Whidbey Invite & Rush Team Apparel. What is needed now is way to expand our support. This could come from other invitational meets or camps or coaches with a “personal connection.” We are sure there are businesses, events, and individuals who would support us but they just have never been asked. And so, I am asking you to do the asking. We are all in this together, and all funds raised go to support our deserving athletes and recognize our deserving coaches.
Many of you are also aware of the tough situation that former WSCCCA president and Cascade coach Steve Bertrand went through when he was removed from coaching by his district. Fortunately, there was a huge amount of support from his community, from you, his peers, and several others. As a result, Steve will be coaching again in both Track and Cross Country. He will be flipping roles with his long time assistant, but will still be able to work with kids and follow his passion. It would not have happened if those who know and support him had not rallied to his cause. Again, we are all in this together.
And finally, we will have elections coming up this spring. I will have more information posted soon on the website. All of our regulations guiding the elections can be found in our constitution on the website. This will be the final time that I run as president. Although it has been tremendously rewarding, I also know that there are others out there ready to step in and continue to support all of you. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have.