Survival Guide for New Runners’ Parents

Welcome to the start of Mentor High’s cross-country season. Here is some information to help you to navigate the next few months.


Runners are responsible for passing on information that the coach hands out or tells them at meetings. Ask your runner for updates after practices.

Information will also be posted on the website and emails will be sent out.


All necessary forms you will need to fill out by the start of practice can be found on our Resources page.


Official practice begins the first week of August. Morning practices usually run from 8 to 10 a.m. They may end earlier or later, depending on the workout.

Schedules are given out and posted on the web site because August practices alternate between Mentor High and Garfield Park, our home course.

When school begins, practices are held at Mentor High from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. After practice, runners can be picked up outside the gym doors at the side of the high school near the ball fields.

Summer Camp

Runners can participate in the Greater Cleveland Cross Country Camp to learn more about the sport, nutrition and conditioning. For more information, visit the Greater Cleveland Cross Country Camp’s website.

Volunteers are needed to help with food and activities daily as well as with the Saturday morning race.

Time Trials

Time trials are held to determine who will run in the varsity, JV and open races at the first meet. In cross country, varsity consists of the seven fastest runners while JV usually consists of the next seven fastest runners. All other runners compete in the open races.

All runners will race in the Northeast Ohio Running Club’s 5K in August. No morning practice is held that day.

This race begins at 6:30 p.m. All runners must report to the park by 5:30 p.m. No transportation is provided.

A $3 entry fee is needed to register at the race, and a parent’s signature is needed on the entry form waiver section.

There will be a team picnic immediately following and all families are encouraged to attend.


Meets usually are held on Saturdays and are invitationals that include many different schools. The season’s schedule can be found on the team calendar.

The races that are offered depend on the meet; they can include varsity, junior varsity, freshman and open races and may be different for boys and girls.

The only two after-school meets are Gilmour and Walsh Jesuit Runners may leave school early for these meets. Gilmour is a full team race while Walsh is for non-varsity runners who will not compete at districts. It has a freshman/sophomore race and a junior/senior race.

Only varsity runners compete at districts, regionals or state.

Make sure your child is hydrated!!! The day before the meet is the most important, as well as the morning of a meet. Also, make sure they have a good breakfast.

Two nights before the meet is the most important night for sleep and a good meal.


Runners receive uniforms: a singlet, shorts, warm-ups and a bag. These all have numbers on them, and the coach records the number as they are issued. Be sure that your runners know their numbers and have all their pieces when they leave each race.

Since uniforms are red and white, please use cold water settings on your washer when you launder them.

NEVER let your runners wear the uniform or warm-ups anywhere other than at a meet.

For practice, runners need appropriate clothes for the weather. Dress in layers as the weather gets colder. Runners get gym lockers at the high school; bring a lock for the locker. They can keep extra socks, a hat, gloves and sweats in the lockers in case they need them.

Pasta “Parties”

Pasta “parties” are held at individual homes the night before each meet. Families sign up to hold them, with seniors getting first choice at hosting. Because of the big teams, the boys’ team and girls’ team hold separate pasta parties.

At the Thursday practice before a Friday pasta party, the hosting teammate will give out a flyer/map to each runner with times and directions.

If your runners need transportation to a party, please have them ask teammates or call another parent.

Food for Meets

Parents sign up to send food to each meet so there is a healthy alternative to the concession stand food. Food usually includes sandwiches and healthy snacks such as fruit (grapes, bananas, oranges, apples, etc.) or snack (granola bars, pretzels, etc.). A sign-up sheet will be circulated in August.

Make sandwiches simple, such as turkey and cheese or ham. Using rolls or buns makes them easier to eat, too.

Sandwiches should be put in individual plastic zipper bags and then put inside a larger plastic zipper bag so they won’t get wet when the ice in the cooler melts.

The coach brings a cooler with ice to hold the food or you can put it in your own cooler.

Each runner gets a bottle of sports drink from the Pack Club. Please make sure they bring water bottles to meets and practices, too.

Missing Practice

The coach will discuss practice schedules with the runners. If your runner misses a practice, please send a note or e-mail the coach.


The coach has a point system for lettering. He will explain this to the runners so they know what it takes to achieve this.