Cross Country 101

What is Cross Country? The Sport of Cross Country is a competitive team sport offered in the fall. Training and optional group runs starts in late spring to early summer. Teams consist of five or more runners who all race together at the same time with other teams. The top five finishers from each team are scored and their finishing places are added up for the team score. The lowest score wins. High school races are 2.93 to 3.1 miles long.

The courses are mostly run across grassy fields, wooded paths, and have a mixture of hills. A great thing about cross country (abbreviated XC) is that everyone competes! Everyone runs the same course, and although the first 7 runners to finish are considered the scoring team, at every meet ALL (long as they make the racing team) athletes get to participate. There are no cuts, and no bench to sit on and watch while others play! (more…)

Get Your Mind Racing

KEY: long before race day, begin to focus your mind’s eye on your goal. Visualizing success can help you attain it.

Racing isn’t the be-all end-all of running. Entering races, however, remains a potential peak experience that too many runners miss because they don’t do enough prerace “headwork.” Whether your goal is to run a personal best time or merely to finish your race, proper mental preparation will help you accomplish it.

Too often runners spend hours training their bodies, only to line up on race day and suddenly find themselves overwhelmed with fears and questions: How fast should I start? Where are the hills, and how bad are they? Where is the finish, and what is it like? Here are a few tips to help you develop a positive mental attitude about running a race. (more…)

Timing Your Fuel

Cross Country Nutrition Answers to questions you might have about fueling for the season
 Nutrition is one of the most modifiable and controllable factors in athletic success, but too often it’s also the most ignored. Paying special attention to good sports nutrition, especially starting at a young age, may be the key to reaching new heights. The following are some of the questions that I’ve been asked, and have asked myself, through my years of training.


Building Teamwork

10 Rules to Run By from “Coaching Cross Country Successfully”
by Joe Newton, with Joe Henderson; Human Kinetics 1998

  1. Team is the essence of life. It’s how to blend the talents and strengths of individuals into a force that becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
  2. Great teamwork is the only way to reach your ultimate moments, to create breakthroughs that fill your life with a sense of lasting significance.
  3. Everyone is a team player, whether he knows it or not. His family, his workplace, his place of worship, his neighborhood functions as a team.
  4. However, teamwork isn’t simple. In fact, it can be a frustrating, elusive commodity. That’s why there are so many bad teams, stuck in neutral or going downhill. Teamwork does not appear magically just because we talk about it.
  5. Forty years of coaching have proved to me, over and over again, that the complex inner rhythms of teamwork (flows of ambition, power, cooperation, and emotion) are the keys to making dreams come true.
  6. People are territorial animals. We all want to take out something to call our own. We strike back when our turf is threatened. Don’t smother those territorial and competitive instincts. Harness them for the good of the team. Understand that sometimes the individual must give up some territory for the good of the team.
  7. Willing sacrifice is a great paradox. Runners mostly give up something in in the present (comfort, ease, recognition, hair, rewards, and so on) to attract something even better in the future: a sense that they did something that counted.
  8. A team needs a covenant, an agreement that binds people together. Sometimes a covenant is written. Sometimes it is unspoken, complete expressed through action or thought. Any team afflicted with the DISEASE OF ME functions with a tacit covenant of self-destruction.
  9. There are only two options regarding commitment to a good covenant. Team members are either in, or they are out. There is no such thing as life in-between.
  10. Being ready isn’t enough. Runners have to be prepared. Being prepared demands mental and physical conditioning and conscious planning. A runner who is just ready and not totally prepared simply increases risk and is a liability to the team.


3 Variables of Distance Running


Frequency is how often one runs. The more often or frequent one trains, the greater the aerobic capacity (ability to consume O2) you will develop. This will often lead to the increased rate of getting this O2 to the muscles as needed, as well as using the O2 more efficiently. Since running is an oxygen-driven sport, running frequency is the basis for training. If one wants to get into shape, run often! Not running for a period of no more than 2 days often will result in the loss of previous physical fitness. In a seven-day week, running for about five of the seven days is a good strategy. Running six days is excellent. Many runners run all seven days of the week; however, it is highly recommended that one day per week be taken off for rest for a beginner runner. (more…)

Summer Training – June 24 to Aug 13, 2024

Quick Check List to Start Summer Training, Required Forms & Deadlines

Last updated on March 11, 2024 @ 8:15 pm  

  1. Register on REMIND ASAP: Athletes text @etcross to 81010 & parents text @etxcparent to 81010
  2. Register for Summer Conditioning by June 24, 2024 (Link to Register Pending)
  3. Complete Athlete Clearance Online by the first day of summer practice
  4. Complete a Sports Screening Form by the first day of summer practice
  5. Register for XC Stats ASAP using registration code @etxctf
  6. Get fitted for running shoes at a running specialty store like Road Runner Sports.  To prevent injuries, make sure you have your stride/gate checked by a running specialty store.  This year, thanks to Mr. Follman, all frosh athletes who sign up for summer will receive a free pair of custom-fitted running shoes from Road Runners Sports along with a pair of running socks.  A $150 value.
  7. Get a running watch ($10-15 on Amazon), GPS preferred.

Is there a Try-Out?

No, not for an incoming freshman.  Please check our website at under CC Team Policy for additional info. For all returners, you must participate in at least 75% of the summer training (32 out of 42 practice days) or make the team at our Try Out.  For anyone who is not Frosh (all returners), you must try out and meet these marks if you missed more than 10 days of practice.

Minimum standards for returning/non-Frosh athletes (2-mile course)
Sophomore Boys/Girls: 12:30/15:00
Junior Boys/Girls: 12:00/14:30
Senior Boys/Girls: 11:30/14:00

Schedule and location: We will meet in front of ET Gym at 7:00 am (Mon to Fri), 7:30 am (Sat). Practice locations will change as we get further into our training.  The schedule will be sent out each week.  

Inspirational Summer Training Video



Cross Country Team Policy

Course Overview

Please click on the Team Contract link below to print and sign.

Team Contract-Team-Uniform-Request

El Toro Cross Country is based on the premise that running/physical activity and participation are important for all student-athletes, regardless of their level of athletic skill or ability.  Through participating each day of CLASS (yes, it is a class); student-athletes will learn how to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives. In addition, we hope to instill the enjoyment and discipline required with daily running/physical activities by coaching each student-athlete to compete with fair play, good sportsmanship, and an understanding of the importance of maintaining physical fitness along with good basic nutrition and a positive attitude.  Cross Country may not have been your first choice but please respect this great sport!!  



Any athletes meeting the following requirements may earn a Varsity Letter:

  • A member of the team in good standing.
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and meet academic eligibility.
  • Finish among the top 7 runners on the team in at least 3 of the competitions in a season.
  • Top 12 on the team at League Finals, compete in CIF, or selected as an alternate for the postseason. You must continue to train with the team.
  • Make any of the All-Time lists.
  • A senior athlete who has participated in Cross Country for 3 or more consecutive years may be eligible for a varsity letter. This athlete must be in good standing and may not have more than 6 unexcused absences in a season. Meeting all of the requirements stated above does not guarantee a Varsity letter.
  • Coaches may, with Athletic Director’s approval, issue letters in “special” circumstances to athletes who have given exemplary service.