Youth Track & Field Season Overview
For 2023 we will schedule up to three practices a week, with the first practice in mid-March.
After three weeks we conduct our Time Trials. This is done to simulate a meet. Each athlete will run in 2-3 different events at different distances. The results from the Time Trials will give us a better idea on what events each athlete may be most successful in during the upcoming competition season. We compare their times with previous years’ results to help project their best running distances.
After Time Trials we start preparing for the Local Meets, which usually start in mid-April. Workouts will be in smaller groups and will be more
event-specific than the first three weeks of practice. We will also start training for “Specials” – field events, hurdles, and relays.
Local Meets are held on a weekend at a nearby high school, depending on who the host club is. Most of our local meets will be in Frederick or Carroll Counties. Lightning athletes will compete in their assigned events (maximum of 3 or 4) against athletes from other clubs. The local meets usually have 12-20 different clubs attend, with 500-700 athletes competing. Competition in each event is done by gender and age group. For example, the 100 meter dash will be first competed by 7/8 year old girls, followed by 7/8 year old boys, and then followed by 9/10 year old girls, and so on. Age groups are governed by national rules, based on each athlete’s age as of December 31 of the year of the meet. Awards are provided usually to the top 6 competitors in each division.
The Local Meets are fun and competitive. A major benefit from these meets is they open the eyes of our athletes to new and different events. Many times we have athletes want to try a new event after they have watched it at a Local Meet. The Local Meets usually end in early June.
Summer Meets – the Junior Olympics (aka “JO’s”). Our season continues after the Local Meets for those who wish to compete in the summer Junior Olympic Meets. These are a series of advancing meets, hosted by either USATF or AAU, which start with a local meet and can advance all the way to the national championships. There are usually 3 or 4 rounds of meets involved in each of the JO’s. They start in early June and the national championships are around the end of July to early August.
If your child enjoys the Local Meet season, and they are fairly successful in their events, they should strongly consider trying one of the JO’s. You can stop after any round and are not bound to go to the national championships, if your child is talented enough to advances. The JO’s are our most competitive meets of the season, of which Lightning athletes have performed extremely well in over the past several years.
Our Track & Field season will end at the conclusion of the Junior Olympic meets.