Cross Country (XC) Meet FAQs


We are new to cross country meets.  What should we expect?

Meets can be a lot of fun – especially when the weather is nice, but there are a few things to remember. The meets have many different teams, age divisions, and distances competing and will last for a few hours. We do not want the athletes running around between races and getting too tired before they compete. Last but not least - be prepared for a day of fun competition and be sure to keep your eyes open – there may be a future Olympian out on the course!  Bernard Lagat, Leo Manzano, Galen Rupp, and Meb Keflezighi are all prominent USATF distance athletes.

Lakeland meet registration fees are included in the cost of registration for our cross country program.

  • Developmental athletes may attend one meets.

  • Competitive athletes (Distance Plus) may attend all meets.

We encourage all of our athletes to try a meet. If you do not have a uniform, we will bring additional Flyers Track Club t-shirts which can be worn during the race.

The Lakeland meets are located at Central Park (formerly Greystone Park) in Morris Plains, which is approximately 35-40 minutes from our area.

Athletes will be expected to arrive by 7:45 AM to go on a course walk. The entire meet is normally over by 11:00 AM.

Athletes run different distances depending on their birth year.

A copy of your athlete's birth certificate/passport is required to verify their age.

The groups are run oldest to youngest with boys and girls running together.


Cross Country is an outdoor sport, what is the weather policy?

Lesson plans are modified according to weather conditions (i.e., excessive heat or cold, humidity, rain, etc.). Do note that practices are held in the rain. We will cancel in the event of lightning or snow that is sticking to the ground.


How do I know if a practice is cancelled due to weather?

Often the timing of weather is unpredictable. In the event of a cancellation you will receive an email as soon a decision is made. Keep in mind that due to the unpredictability, practice may be cancelled even a half hour before it is set to begin. In addition to an email, the Y will be notified and the staff working at the Welcome Center and greeter’s desk will be able to tell you if practice has been cancelled. If you call and they “have not heard anything” or are “unsure” if practice has been cancelled that means practice will be taking place.


Should my child check-in at each practice?

Yes, your child must check in at each practice with the coach taking attendance. Developmental athletes check-in by their birth year, whereas competitive team athletes all check-in at the blue Competitive sandwich board.


My child has Asthma, should he/she bring an inhaler to practice?

Yes, to all practices and all meets. Please write their name on it in case it gets misplaced or lost.


What type of clothing should my child wear to practices?

Dress appropriate for the expected and possible weather conditions of practices/meets. It is recommended that the shirt closest to the athlete’s body is a wicking material (e.g., our team shirts, under armor, etc). This will help pull sweat away from the athlete’s skin. On cooler days, additional layers are often needed. The next layer should be a light fleece type of material. Finally, the layer on the very outside of the body should be a wind/rain layer (e.g., a light rain jacket). It is suggested that they bring a bag to practice and meets in case they want to shed layers as they warm up or add layers if they become cold.


How does the team uniform and spirit wear work?

All of our uniform and spirit wear ordering is online. Visit our website and click the “Apparel” tab at the top. The description on the page will explain the upcoming order deadline, which is when the orders will be filled. From here you can order a team uniform, t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, head bands and more! All funds raised from the spirit wear orders will directly benefit the Flyers Track Club. The Swan Brothers will print and deliver your uniforms and/or spirit wear directly to your home.


Will water or beverages be provided during practices?

Water is not provided. It is your responsibility to send your child to practice with a water bottle.  Please write your child’s name on the water bottle so that if they leave it by mistake and we find it, we can return it at the following practice.


What type of beverages should my child have or avoid?

Water is the best choice.  Please avoid carbonated beverages such as soda and it is suggested that athletes dilute electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde with some water as the high sugar contents often lead to cramping.


What should my child eat or not eat before a practice/meet?

There are many different philosophies on pre-competition nutrition.  However a good basic rule of thumb is to only eat foods that easily digest before a practice or competition.  Examples include fruits, an egg, and oatmeal.  Avoid foods with high fat levels before a competition.


What should my child eat after a race?

Simple sugars within a half hour to hour after competition such as those in fruits, bagels, etc. are recommended.  Antioxidants are good too.  This will help your athletes replenish their fuel sources quickly and decrease muscle fatigue.


What type of shoes should my child wear?

A basic walking/running shoe is fine.  Athletes on the competitive team should wear a “running shoes” which are available at most sporting goods stores.  Boots, Uggs, and sandals are not permitted.


My child is a pretty good athlete, should they wear spikes?  If so, what kind?

3/8 inch spikes are permitted at most meets.  However, this is on a case-by-case basis. Speak with the head coach if you believe spikes may benefit your child before purchasing them. In addition, the head coach will speak with athletes and parents if we believe that an athlete will benefit from having spikes. Spikes are not needed at practice. More information about spikes can be found by clicking the "Apparel" tab or by clicking this link.


My child is nervous about participating in their first meet.  What should I do?

Encourage them as their parent and let them know that the coaches will fully support them no matter how they finish. A coach attends our scheduled meets so they will have the support of a coach at the meets. We want them to try their best and have fun.


How do I know what cross country meet is most appropriate for my child to participate in?

First, cross reference your calendar with the meet dates to see what meet dates your child is available for and then speak to the Head Coach Jolene or Greg Hatzisavvas and they will recommend the most appropriate meet for your child.


How do I know which distance my athlete runs in a meet?

According to your child’s age as of December 31 in the current calendar year. In the USATF Junior Olympic meets: ages 7-8 run 2000m, ages 9-10 run 3000m, ages 11-12 run 3000m, and ages 13-14 run 4000m. In the first few Lakeland meets, the athletes run a shorter distance than later in the season.


Where can I find the results of the meets?

See the Meets Results sub-menu item under Meets.


Is transportation provided for any meets?

No, parents are responsible for transportation.


What are some good things to bring to meets?

  • Cooler for food/beverages
  • Folding chairs or blankets to place on the ground and sit on in good weather

  • Food, such as fresh fruits & veggies to snack (no dips), fresh or dried fruit & grain bars, nuts and/or trail mixes, sandwiches (no mayo, no cheese) with lean meats, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread. No fried meats.No cookies, donuts, sodas, candy.

  • Baby wipes can be handy.

  • White towel (keep cool and damp to help cool athletes when over-heated after a race)

  • A change of clothes, socks and shoes in case of rain.

  • For meets, athletes should wear the uniform, but if it is cold, then they can add layers. Layers should be easily removable in case it warms up just at race time.

  • If it is wet, athletes should wear different socks and shoes for the course walk than they plan to race in case they get wet during the course walk.

  • Spare racing socks in case socks get wet during course walk.

  • Books, games & cards (for both parents & kids)

  • Please help us keep the kids out of the sun in between events.

  • Patience, support, sense of humor, and good sportsmanship!