Please refer to this F.A.Q. Sheet to answer general questions about team participation. Should you decide to try out and are accepted as part of the team please be aware that it is assumed that you agreed to the information discussed in the following FAQs sheet.
1. Is this club right for my child?
Club track and field can be very involved. While we strive to make this a fun and rewarding experience for athletes we do want to caution that track practice is a time to focus and give your best. This is not play time or a baby sitting service. Athletes are expected to attend practice and give their full attention during the time. Since coaches are volunteers and are spending hard earned time on the track with athletes they expect to be appreciated and have an athletes full attention. If parents or athletes do not agree with this mindset then this is not the place to be a part of. Parents are expected to stay in the stadium during practice to facilitate pick up and help out in the case of an injury or illness. We want to provide the best experience to our parents and team members so we ask that they bring their best attitude and focus in the process.
2. Is there a deadline to sign up?
Yes, we need all accepted team members to sign up before the 1st week of practice on the track at Palm Springs High during the 1st week in March on Friday March 10, 2019. No memberships will be accepted after this date.
3. Is there a cost for membership?
Current club membership is $100 for track and field (one time fee) which includes a full uniform and club fees. Individual meet participation is on a meet by meet basis and depends on meet charges. We will discuss the meet fees before each meet but generally run no more than 4 or 5 dollars per event.
Current club fees for cross country are $60 dollars and include a uniform top. Additional meet participation fees can be collected based on what is being charged at meets. (Generally in the range of 10-15 dollars per competition)
4. What if we want or need to quit is there a refund?
If you choose not to compete for the team before the first competition a refund minus club fees can be obtained. Once a uniform has been issued and you are registered for a meet/competition you may not receive a refund
5. How long does the season generally run?
From early January to mid July (We generally start with conditioning in January and have the end of the season culminating meets in either June or July) If athletes do make it to the Junior Olympics Nationals this coming year we will try and make it as a team as they are being held in Sacramento for the 2019 season!
6. When and where is practice?
Practice starts with conditioning and we do it at two locations: M/W at Hovley Soccer Park in Palm Desert and T/Th at Sunny Sands Elementary School in Cathedral City. Come March the entire team meets to practice at Palm Springs High School M/W/F. For specific dates and times check out the team schedule page.
7. What league or division does the club compete in?
Our club competes in both the AAU Southwestern Pacific and USATF Region 15 divisions. Additionally we compete in the local John Carlos Track Meet held annually at Palm Springs High School and both the SCMAF Southern California Championships and California State Games (Sometimes substituted with the West Coast Junior Olympics based on team preference)
8. Are there fundraising obligations?
Fundraising is a part of the team and we try to do a few to differ costs especially for athletes that make it deep into the season via qualifiers such as the ones leading to the Junior Olympics National Championship. Additionally we use funds to pay for coach licensing fees as well as equipment. Check the team Schedule page for a list of fundraising opportunities.
9. Can I volunteer as a team parent?
Absolutely, team parent support is a big part of the team. We need parents to help shuttle athletes to events, watch out for horseplay in the stands and help keep aware of events being called as well as calling out athletes that are leaving a mess after the meet is over. And that is just small sampling of what you can do to support the team!
10. Does my child get to pick their events?
Absolutely, as coaches we try to steer athletes in the direction of the events where they will have the most success but we feel that if the athlete is not enjoying themselves at competition then what is the point. We will not engage in any forced participation in events but will make our opinion know as to what events they will do the best in. Choice makes for fun! For information on event limitations by age level refer to the team schedule page.
11. What happens at the meets?
The big thing here is to be on time and remember you may need cash if there is a parking lot fee. You can bring snacks and please bring lots of water for your athlete. While we coaches try to bring extra items for our team it is entirely up to parents to prepare for inclement weather and having food and water available. Also remember to get to the meet at least 30 min. prior to the first event being called to ensure you have a place to sit. Some meets will have a few hundred spectators while others will have a few thousand. Please remember that it is ultimately your responsibility to pay attention and know when you child's event is being called. We have a pretty good system to ensure everyone participates but if you aren't listening and they miss their event don't blame the coaching staff. Although this is a rarity in 5 years of club competition we did have it happen one time and that is because the parents were not sitting anywhere near us at the time of the events being called. The moral of the story is sit with the team at events if you want to be sure to make your event.
12. Does my child get to participate in all the meets listed?
Some meets are qualifiers and require a qualification standard. Check the meet schedule site for more details. And if you miss a meet that is not the end of your season. While we would like to have athletes participate in all the meets we realize that life happens. (Illness, family time, etc.)
13. What are the age limits for athletes?
Generally speaking we work with athletes aged 6-16 (1st - 10th grade) Anything below 6 is difficult to manage while athletes above 16 are generally deep in their competitions within the CIF at the High School level.
14. Where can I obtain more information or get another question answered?
Check the team schedule page or contact us on the contact page and we will answer you as quickly as possible
From the beginning
Where we are now
The team started out as a public school recreational running club for elementary students at Vista Del Monte Elementary School and later at Sunny Sands Elementary school in the 2012-13 to 2013 and 2014 school years and quickly developed into a districtwide running club. Back then we participated in local meets such as the John Carlos Invitational, Southern California Public School Championships, the Mount Sac Invitational and California State Games. The whole idea was the brain child of head coach Kurt Schieldge who wanted to bring the idea of running to the desert where no organized running club existed. As more and more runners though-out the Palm Springs Unified School District showed interest in more competitive running the team worked on becoming a club that traveled to compete.
Currently we boast membership anywhere from 60-80 athletes running at both the competitive level via AAU and USATF to our original recreation divisions. Starting in the 2019 season for both Cross Country and Track we will be holding try outs to see which athletes would fit the competitive running model. We aren't looking for the best athletes so much as runners with the mindset that they want to compete and listen during practice and at meets. This 2019 season will be the first time we offer a competitive Cross Country Season as well as a big push to qualify athletes for the National Junior Olympics Championships which will be held in Sacramento California this season. Check out our team schedule tab for more detailed information.
Meet the Coaches
Head coach Kurt Schieldge started the whole operation in 2012 at Vista del Monte Elementary School in Palm Springs, CA. A native of West Los Angeles Kurt participated in: Football, Soccer, Cross Country and Track as a youth. As a public school youth in West Los Angeles in the 1980s he was blessed to participate in the West Los Angeles Throwing Center's campaign to show local youth how to throw the: Javelin, Discus, Hammer and Shot Put. In high school he was a standout athlete in the 200, 400 and 800. As a college track athlete he ran the 400 and 400 hurdles for the University of California and Santa Barbara from 1994-1997. Additionally Kurt spent almost 4 years training with the World Famous Santa Monica Track Club under the tutelage of Merle McGee and Johnny Gray. Entering his 7th year in coaching youth in both Track and Field and competitive club soccer he looks forward to giving Cross Country a try and getting as many athletes qualified from our desert in the National Junior Olympics Championships by way of the USATF this coming summer 2019 in Sacramento.
Assistant coach Raquel Figueira-Schieldge is a native of Rio de Janiero Brasil and is a high school Spanish teacher at Palm Springs High School. In her 3rd year with the club her expertise is the Javelin and she takes pride in her work at each and every practice. She really knows her stuff and has qualified numerous throwers into the Regional Championships and beyond as part of both the AAU and USATF divisions. Coach Raquel has been honing her throwing skills to include the discus and the shot put so if you are an athlete that can throw well in football or baseball give the Javelin, Disc or Shot a chance!
Assistant Coach Paul Johnson Jr. is in his 3rd year coaching Track and Field with the club. Paul was born in Massachusetts but spent a good deal of his life in Shreveport Louisiana one of the hotbeds of both high school and college football. Coach Johnson knows two things: Speed and Conditioning and emphasizes both at every practice. Coach Johnson is a no nonsense coach at practice and meets. He loves the kids and wants to get them to participate at the highest level. Understanding the high level of discipline and effort it takes to make the cut in competitive football and baseball, coach Johnson brings this philosophy to track practice. He wants the kids to feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments. He always says "it's not winning that is important but rather that you put in your best effort and understand that losing can be a part of improving." Come meet time you can be sure he'll make sure you check in as he is on it!
Coach Christeena Lozano is what you would call the Jack of all trades. She is an Elementary teacher at Sunny Sands Elementary School in Cathedral City, CA and is entering her 3rd year with the club. As an assistant coach she has been an athletic trainer with conditioning, helping with both the shot put and discus. She has been instrumental with fundraising efforts and managing both practice and meet management. Parent communication is the lifeblood of any team and Christeena handles this like a pro. We are very fortunate to have her support.