Track Meets – What to Expect
Here are some helpful tips to help make the meets go smoother.
What to Bring
Meets can last several hours and weather can vary greatly so please plan accordingly. If at all possible consider bringing an umbrella, canopy/tent or sport-brella to stay out of the sun. Food and drink are also important. Bring food items that will settle well on the stomach, crackers, pretzels, watermelon are all good options. Heavier food can be consumed post event if desired. Please bring plenty of water. Often there are very little external fountains and refilling bottles can be difficult.
Bringing something to pass the time is also important. Tablets, phones, books are all good options. If you bring a tablet or phone consider a battery backup or solar charger too for a little extra juice that might be needed on a long day.
What to Wear
Please wear the team singlet and shorts to all meets. If your athlete is a member of a relay team the exact uniform is critical as the team can be disqualified for not having the same uniform as the teammates. The sun can zap energy faster than almost anything so we strongly recommend that your athlete wear a light, long sleeve shirt and light pants for much of the day.
All track meets run on a rolling schedule, which means other than the events that are scheduled to take place at the beginning of the meet it is difficult to know the exact time when your child’s event will take place. As you gain experience with participation you’ll begin to understand the pacing of meets. Of course, sometimes meets will have hiccups with equipment, injuries or other unforeseen delays, but generally once started the meet will not be stopped until the completion of the last event. Coaches can try to give you a best guess, but that’s truly all we can do. Meets last several hours so plan accordingly.
Developmental Meet Order
Early season meets are often called developmental meets. In these meets events will typically run from youngest to oldest and alternate girls followed by boys unless otherwise stated. Most events will begin with the 8 and under girls, then 8 and under boys, then 9, 10, etc. Field events can vary depending on the number of pits, rings or runways the meet is utilizing so ask a coach if you’re unsure.
Age groups are based on how old a child will be on December 31 of the current calendar year. It is very important to understand this and listen for your athlete’s age and event to be announced. Coaches will have a list of athletes by event and age division, but it is important for you and your child to know what division they are in so you can begin the warm up process with plenty of time to check in for the event in case the coaches are with other athletes during your athletes event.
After you arrive at the meet and pay your entry fee (generally around $5.00 & athletes are free) look for the royal blue tents and members in our uniforms. We will have two or three team tents which will obviously not accommodate all members at one time. If you happen to have a tent please bring it and we will try to group them in the same area to accommodate as many members as we can.
After entering check with the coaches and someone will give your child their athlete’s wristband at the team tent. Athletes are required to get their wristband prior to competing, so it’s very critical you plan to arrive early enough to allow time for this.
Coaches will make every effort to tell athletes when they need to begin warming up, but often times they may be busy with athletes currently competing. It is very important that parents are aware of the schedule of events and listen for events when they are called. Events are typically called with a First, Second, Third and Final call pattern. For example, the announcer might say, “First call 9 yr. old boys 100m dash” then approximately 10 min. later they would say, “Second call 9 yr. old boys 100m dash” then after another few minutes the announcer will say something like this, “Final call….” or “Third and final call for the 9 yr old boys 100m dash.”
Official Check-in Areas
Once the final call is made it is critical that your athlete be at the track check-in area or contact the field event official at their respective event. For running events the check in area is often called the “heating tent or area”, “clerks area” or “clerking area”. If they do not report in for their event at the final call they can be scratched from the event by the official. Running events ALWAYS take precedent over field events, meaning if your child is long jumping and they call for a running event they are entered in, they should tell the official at the field event they’ve been called to the track and then proceed to the heating tent.
Event results will sometimes be announced over the PA and typically posted on a wall somewhere in the stadium near the awards tent area. Once results are posted, you are free to proceed to the awards table and pick up your child’s medal/ribbon if they placed accordingly. Most meets require that a parent or coach pick up awards, so please don’t send your child to get them. If you need to leave the meet prior to collecting your award, please let a coach know so we can collect it for you. If you don’t tell someone there is a very high probability it won’t get picked up and your child won’t get their award.
Athlete’s End of Meet
When your athlete is finished competing for the day you are free to leave the meet unless you would like to stay and cheer on other KC FIRE Members. If you need to leave the meet prior to your athlete completing their registered events please notify a coach so that we are not trying to hunt down your son or daughter to get them to their event.