Multiple pre-season informational meetings for both new and existing members are held in late January and early February, with the official training season kicking off March 1. Anyone interested in learning more about the club should attend an informational meeting! New participants are invited to attend practices in March to get to know the club and then make a firm commitment to join by April 1 (generally before the first team race event).
Spring practices are held twice a week (Sunday, late afternoon, and Thursday evening) and summer practices are held three times a week (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). During the summer, additional optional Saturday runs will be scheduled for athletes wanting to get in training runs with teammates. Practices continue three times a week until the end of the season (around Thanksgiving), rotating between Friends University and Trinity Academy locations. Practice times vary throughout the season to avoid running in extreme heat and to accommodate changes for Daylight Savings Time. These time changes are announced in advance of practice!
The Flying Angels will run several road races in the spring as part of ongoing conditioning. After some race reprieve in the hot months of summer, the Flying Angels will focus primarily on participating in traditional youth cross country meets in the fall.
All of the Flying Angels coaches are volunteers donating time to further the mission of the club and foster a love of running. Runners should come to practice prepared to listen and work. All runners should bring a water bottle and appropriate clothes for the weather conditions. While many parents stay and observe or even participate in practices, some parents do drop off children and leave. If you will not stay for practice, please let a member of the coaching staff know! All parents are invited to participate in the runs and workouts. We are always looking for parents to break off and lead groups so be sure to let a coach know if you are interested in volunteering!
Once a runner joins the team, he or she should try to participate in as many races as possible. Most runners participate in all, or nearly all, events. The schedule of races is carefully crafted to allow runners to progress from less to more challenging events over the season, with the ultimate focus being participation in the fall cross country meets. We do, however, have many runners who participate in other sports and have conflicts that keep them from racing or practices. This is never a problem and we simply encourage parents to let the coaching staff know when your runner has such a conflict! Runners who also participate in middle school and high school track and cross country typically leave for the school season and return at its conclusion.
The Flying Angels coaching staff would like to see all members of the club participate in the regional cross country competition in Garnett, Kansas at the end of the season, with an eye towards participating in Nationals. High school runners do not have to run in the regional event in order to participate in Nationals (the coaching staff can provide further details on specific Nationals requirements). Understandably, from time to time, Nationals travel is not possible for all families. In the past, some parents have allowed their runners to travel with other families in order to participate in the event that, for most, is the highlight of the season! The goal is to make sure every Flying Angel has the opportunity to enjoy the experience!
The sport of cross country has both an individual and team component. All runners participate as “individuals” in all cross country events. However, if the club has at least 5 runners in the same age group, the runners may participate as a “team” in that age group. A team may have up to 8 runners, with the top 5 runners on the team being scored. When competing in a team event, a runner’s score is the place in which he or she finishes, i.e. first place is one point, second place is two points, etc. Of course, the lowest team score wins. Teams finishing in the top three at Regionals qualify to run as a team at Nationals. There is no qualifying process for teams in the 15 & 16 and 17 & 18 age groups.
All runners compete as individuals, regardless of whether they are on a team in a specific age group. The top 20 runners at Regionals that are not on a team in a specific age group will qualify for Nationals. For “team” grouping, runners are separated into individual age groups based on the age of the runner on or before December 31 of the given calendar year. For example, all kids born in 2008 run in the same age group, regardless of the runner’s actual age on the date of the race. Depending on the event and the number of runners registered, boys and girls in multiple age groups may be combined in the same race heat. At Nationals, boys and girls race separately in the following groupings: Ages 6-8, 9 & 10, 11 & 12, 13 & 14, 15 & 16, and 17 &18.
Runners may also qualify at their state high school or middle school meet. More information on these requirements may be found on the Coaches Cross Country National Youth Championships website here: