Cross Country Update #3: Some Adjustments, Remind Codes, Gear Store

Dear Cross Country Families,

We had a successful first day of practice yesterday. The morning and evening advanced groups are on their way to a fun and fit autumn! Please see the list of adjustments, procedures, etc. below.

In this email:

  1. The Various Programs, Days and Meeting Times
  2. Meeting Locations
  3. Practice Check-In Procedure
  4. Remind Codes (for last minute alerts)
  5. Online Gear Store
  6. Belmont Plateau Meets
  7. Your Coaches

The Various Programs, Days and Meeting Times

There has been some confusion about the different programs and what days are included. If you are signed up for the Advanced/Competitive program, you child can attend on Tuesday, Thursday AND Sunday. If you are signed up for the Beginner/Casual program your child can attend on Sundays only. All meeting times are 5:00pm, until daylight savings ends on 11/7. (There were some places that listed the Sunday start time as 4:00, so no, you’re not crazy. I apologize for any confusion). 

Meeting Locations:

On Sunday 9/19, we will meet in the same location, the soccer fields at the end of the gravel parking lot at Croft Farm/Challenge Grove/Jake’s Place. For those who have not yet attended, the parking lot is about halfway down the main road into the park. 

STARTING NEXT THURSDAY, both AM and PM groups will meet at the large baseball field near the entrance to the park, next to the Jake’s Place Playground. This will be our meeting place whenever we are at Challenge Grove Park for the rest of the season, on Thursdays and Sundays. 

Please check the calendar to see where are meeting each night. For the Advanced Program, we will always be at Challenge Grove on Tuesdays, and Pennypacker in Thursdays. The Sunday session will use both locations. I know this can cause some confusion, but it really helps us keep the sessions varied, with different things to do at each location. 

Check-In Procedure:

When you arrive for practice we will have the kids’ name tags separated into several bins by last name. Check-in will be self-serve, and each kid can just find their name tag on their own (we will be helping, especially in the beginning). This will allow us to quickly determine who is attending at each session, AND will help everyone learn names. Please remind your kids to return their name tags to the correct bin at the end of practice. 

Remind Codes:

We have set up three Remind groups so that we can send last minute alerts. This will be reserved for things like weather cancelations, or a required change of location. You should sign up for whatever Remind group pertains to you, depending on which days your child attends. If you attend all three days you should do a Weekday Remind and the Sunday Remind. Click here for the Remind App, and then enter the codes to join the groups.

PM Weekday Remind: @k9kec97

AM Weekday Remind: @28g37h

Sunday Remind: @86eg7ak

Gear and Gear Store:

Our Fall Online Gear Store is now open, and you can order items until Monday, 9/20 at midnight. This is intentionally very short so we can process the orders and get your items to you as soon as possible. There is no requirement to order gear/uniforms, but if your child is planning to compete this season we recommend getting a tank top. The tech t-shirt is fine too if they prefer it. A solid green shirt of any kind would also help identify them at meets, so it is totally up to you. We do not make any money from the sale of gear, and the vendor, Sports Paradise, keeps the prices as low as possible (they are amazing). That said, there are lots of fun items, from a winter hat, a backpack, hoodies, warmup jackets, etc. in youth and adult sizes. 

Belmont Plateau Meets:

If your child is in the Advanced/Competitive program we will cover the entry fee for the Belmont Plateau meets on Saturday mornings. You are not required to attend meets. Sunday only kids can also compete, but you will need to cover the fee ($5 per meet, or $20 for meets 2-6 if paid by Thursday before the 2nd meet on 9/25). You can see the meets that are scheduled in the calendar, but we will announce very soon which ones that a coach will attend. You can also attend the meets that coach will not attend on your own. In order to compete at this series I need to provide the host with a copy of the athlete’s birth certificate. Please text me a photo of the certificate as soon as possible. Texting me the cert will also serve as an rsvp that you plan to attend meets. Cell: 267-909-5585.

Your Coaches:

We have a fantastic group of coaches and volunteers helping with this program! Our coaches and adult volunteers (for all programs) are background checked through AAU Sports, and all coaches and volunteers have received training in our child abuse prevention policy. 

Jill Chestnut:

Jill is the club’s official Assistant Coach, and is a big reason we have been able to expand our programs over the last year. She is a lifelong runner who has earned the USTFCCCA Track and Field Technical Coaching certification, and has volunteered with South Jersey Track & Field Club since 2014. As a coach, Jill created an after school running club for girls at the LEAP Academy in Camden, coached track and field at Camden Catholic High School, and was an assistant coach at Christ the King. In addition, she coaches Special Olympics and has volunteered for Spectrum Sports. Jill competed in track and cross country at Rutgers University Camden and on the local running circuit, including running for South Jersey Athletic Club. She is also a masters swimmer and enjoys entering local masters swim and track meets.

Jake Dinerman:

Jake is joining us as a coach this fall and brings some needed youth to the coaching staff :), along with some high performance experience and insight. Jake has volunteered extensively with Students Run Philly, and is currently one of the fastest milers in the region. He ran cross country and track at Haddon Township High School, and then created his own competitive club, Moody Park Track Club.

Craig Strimel:

I am the founder of the club, as well as the operations manager, head coach and person who spends too much time writing emails :). I have been coaching for, oh, something like 20 years, and have coached every level from youth through college, as well as adult recreation runners. I am comfortable coaching every track and field event except pole vault. I currently coach the Cherry Hill West Girls Cross Country team, the Carusi Middle School Track and Field team, and provide personal coaching in speed development and agility for all athletes. I am a USATF Level 2 Coach (2x in Sprints/Hurdles/Relays and Youth Specialization), and Safe Sport certified. 


We have several parents and high school students who volunteer throughout the year. There are too many to name and introduce, but we love and appreciate them all! If you have a high school athlete who is interested in volunteering, please have them email or call me. 

That’s it for now!

We look forward to meeting the rest of the team on Sunday!

Coach Craig

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