Coed Middle School Cross Country · MS Cross Country Season Information


Beginning of the Season

As many have already heard, the Veritas Prep middle school cross country boys’ and girls’ teams have been preparing for the season. Both coach Vasu and I are very excited now that the season has officially begun! If you have any questions about the team, please feel free to reach out and ask. Below you will find information on the team, its practices, meet schedule, and the coaches’ expectations.

Practices

Practices are always 5:30-7:00am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, unless otherwise stated. All runners  should bring their own water every practice. The gym will be open five minutes before practice starts, so that everyone can unload their backpacks and uniforms in the locker room.

Our practices involve a regimen of dynamic stretches at the start (which is why punctuality is important!), 2.5-4.5 mile course that lasts approximately 45 minutes, and then static stretches. In addition, on Wednesdays we’ll be joining with the high school team for some fun post-run games

Attendance at practices is mandatory for participation at meets, unless a runner’s family has made arrangements otherwise with the coaches. An unaccounted absence may be grounds for a runner’s removal from competition at the meet that week. Whenever an athlete is unable to attend practice because of an illness or injury, please contact both coach Vasu and me at your earliest convenience.

As the season progresses, it will be necessary for runners to bring their own headlamp. Since we practice so early in the morning, it starts to become much darker at the end of September. Coaches will communicate when this equipment requirement will become a necessity as the time approaches.

Cross Country Meets

Meets begin on Saturday mornings at 7:00am (although one or two may be on a weekday), and so the coaches expect athletes to arrive by 6:00am in order to scope out the course. The boys’ race will commence first, and then the girls’. The coaches expect everyone to stay to the end of both races, so that they can cheer on their teammates and convene with the team after.

The meets will be on a weekly basis, most routinely on Saturdays, with at least the exceptions of September 28 and October 12.

The schedule is still being confirmed by the Great Hearts Academies’ athletic directors. For now, mark Saturday, September 7 (location tbd) on your calendars, since it will be our first meet. In addition, mark the dates below:

  • Friday, September 27 (Desert Twilight Invitational @ World Sports Complex, Casa Grande)
  • Saturday, October 19 (our home meet with North Phoenix @ Granada Park, Phoenix)
  • Saturday, November 9 (GHMSL Championships @ Bullard Wash Park, Goodyear)

Paperwork

If what you have read above interests you and your athlete, make sure that you complete your physical paperwork (packet here), and send it by email to athletic director Kayla Walsh (kwalsh@veritasprepacademy.org) and assistant director Corian Dennis (cdennis@veritasprepacademy.org) in the Athletic Department. Athletes without their physical paperwork submitted will be unable to participate at practice! Parents should also complete the Athletic Form and Athletic Payment as soon as possible.  

Our first meet will be in a few weeks, and know that no team member may run who has not paid for the season yet. If your family will have financial trouble with the athletic payment, please speak to athletic director Kayla Walsh to arrange an accommodation. 

Expectations

Although cross country runners seem to be competing in their own race (and sometimes in their own world), we always want our Falcons to remember that they are a part of a team. On the road, the course, or the along the canal, our team runs together, and we should always be striving to build each other up. Coach Vasu and I expect our runners never to leave their teammates alone on the road. It also goes without saying that teammates treat each other with respect, just as they should in the halls and the classroom.

In addition, it is paramount that runners are aware of their own safety and the safety of others. Since our practices by necessity take us off campus for a majority of our practice time, runners need to always look both ways while crossing the road, run with at least one other runner, and pay attention to the coaches’ initial instructions before a run. The coaches strive to enhance safety by grouping our athletes into packs, which then can be monitored well by both coaches and parent volunteers.

As mentioned above, it is necessary to attend practice in order to compete at meets. Unless there are extenuating circumstances that the coaches are aware of, athletes should attend every practice. In order to compete at the championships, moreover, runners must compete in at least two regular season meets.

And the most important expectation of all: have fun, but set goals! It might be hard for some of our younger runners to grasp at first, but one of the best parts of cross country is determining your limits, pushing your limits, and then finding your new limits. The coaches will try to work with our athletes on this aspect, but older runners especially will want to take personal ownership of this responsibility.

With all of that said, we look forward to welcoming any more runners this season who are looking for a great way to start their morning at Veritas this fall season.

Nick Brancaccio, Coach <coachbrancaccio@gmail.com>

Vasu Bhatnagar, Assistant Coach <vbhavaraju@hotmail.com>