St. Joseph Catholic School

Cross Country

St. Joseph Knights Cross Country 2019


Hello Runners and Parents!


Welcome to the 2019 Cross Country season.  This post has some important information about the coaches, the schedule, and our training philosophy for the season.  Please take some time to read through it.  And reach out to the coaches if you have any questions.   



This year we are blessed to have 2 coaches – Andi McCargill and me (Pat Emmons). Both of us love running, and we want to instill that love of running in the kids.  At the end of this email is a short blurb from each of us about our love of running.



The schedule for this year is as follows:

·       Practices will be held every Monday and Thursday after school until 3:30pm.  We will meet at the park right next to school (or in the gym if it rains).  Practice will begin by 2:30pm, which should give the kids time to change into running clothes, and have a quick snack (ideally something healthy like a banana or orange) if they need it. 

·       Practices will start the week of August 21st, and our last practice will be on October 12th.  There will be no practice on Labor Day (9/4) and Columbus Day (10/9).

·       We will have 6 conference meets during the season (about 1 per week).  There may be a few opportunities to run in some non-conference meets as well.  More to come on that.

·       See the attached schedule for a calendar view of the practice and conference meet dates.

·       We will need to provide volunteers at the meets, so we will solicit for that closer to the dates of the meets. 

·       Also, we will work out a system for carpooling to and from the meets to help with attendance.  We know that the kids are busy and may not be able to participate in all of the meets.  That’s perfectly fine, and that shouldn’t keep them from being part of the team and running when they can.  But we don’t want any runners to miss a meet because they couldn’t get a ride. 

Training Philosophy

Our training this year will be focused around having fun and improving. Running is a sport that the kids can do their whole lives, so we want to help them fall in love with it for a lifetime of enjoyment. 


Here are some key items related to the training plan for the year:

·       Endurance and Speed - Our focus during practice will typically be either endurance or speed, sometimes a little of both.  Each week, one of our practices will be focused more on endurance (going slower but for longer).  And the other will be focused more on speed (going faster but for a shorter amount of time).  Don’t worry, we have lots of ways to make both disciplines fun!  The kids will work hard, but they’ll have fun doing it!

·       Additional Workouts - Runners will also be encouraged to do some workouts on their own outside of meets and practice.  Our suggested goal for everybody is to get in a workout at least 5 days a week.  That includes our practices and meets, so for some weeks, that means only finding two other times during the week to do something related to improving your fitness.  This could be running, biking, swimming, hiking, yoga, or even participating in another sport.  Ideally it's an activity that they have fun doing!

·       Starting Now – To get ready for the season, we encourage all the runners to start getting some exercise in during this week.  If you haven’t been running lately, try to ease into it.  Perhaps trying to run 10 or 15 minutes straight at least 3 days this week.  If you are able, try to work in a few others exercise sessions as well (e.g., biking, swimming, etc.).

·       Setting Goals - We will be encouraging the kids to set goals and to work towards accomplishing them.  To that end, we will be asking each runner to set a season goal; and then to help them stay motivated and continually work towards that goal, each week we will ask them to set a weekly goal.   One of the great things about running is that everybody’s goals can be different.  For some, it might be a specific time goal (e.g., breaking 7:30 in the mile).  For others, it might be an improvement goal (e.g., dropping 40 seconds in the 2-mile).  For others, it may be a general fitness goal (e.g., working out 5+ times a week for the entire season). 

·       Training Log/Goal Sheet – To help encourage the runners, we will be sending them home from Thursday’s practice each week with a half sheet of paper that will include the schedule for the upcoming week, a place for them to plan/log their additional training during that week, and a place for them to write down a weekly goal for themselves.  We will also send the log via email for those that can’t make it to Thursday’s practice.

·       Running is a Team Sport – Although each runner is out there running their own race and working towards their own goals, we are all on the same team, and we will support one another in practices and at meets.  We encourage our JV runners (5th and 6th grade) to stay for the Varsity (7th and 8th grade) races.  And we encourage our Varsity runners to cheer on our JV runners during their race.  Running is a fun social sport, and it’s a positive thing anytime anyone of us gets out there and goes on a run.  Even if we don’t improve our time or we have a bad day, in the end it’s a great thing that we went out and did it.  So we will all encourage each other and have fun doing it together.

Coaches’ Love Of Running

·       Andi McGargill – I started running in junior high school on the track team. I never considered myself a "runner," but the more I practiced, the better I got. I remember running the dreaded "middle school mile" at the end of the year and I was shocked at how fast I had actually ran it. I didn't think I was capable of running that distance in that amount of time. I then began wanting to see how far and how fast I could go! I ran one year of cross country in high school, but ended up giving it up to play volleyball. Later in life, after I had my fourth child, I met up with some people at my gym who were runners. They convinced me to run a 5k, which quickly turned into a 10k, a half marathon, and of course I had to go for the marathon. I had so much fun reaching these goals with my new friends and again seeing how far and how fast I can go. I have now run 6 full marathons and am currently training for the Chicago Marathon this fall. I love running because it is always challenging, I am always improving and I have great friends that keep me going. I hope to help your kids find their lifelong passion for running this season!

·       Pat Emmons – I ran track in junior high, but I can’t say that I really enjoyed it.  I had a grouchy coach, and I always seemed to be plagued with nagging injuries (e.g., shin splints or tendinitis).  My main sport growing up was swimming, so that’s where I focused most of my energy.  My love of running didn't really develop until college.  During my sophomore year, my roommate was a former high-school cross country runner.  We would tease each other about how much harder our sport was than the other person’s.  This went on for most of the year until my roommate came back from spring break with an entry form for the 1998 Grandma’s Marathon.  It was his way of saying “prove it!” Of course I signed right up, but I’d never run longer than about 5 miles, so I was scared!  With only a couple of months to train, I went right to work and learned a lot about running and my own abilities.   In the end, the swimmer (me) prevailed (I beat him by 20 minutes!), but in reality, running won, because the swimmer had fallen in love with running. It was a sport that got me out into nature, and it helped me see places in a brand new way. These days I’d much rather be out on the road or trail running then in the pool doing laps.


We look forward to a great season of running!


Thank you,


Pat Emmons

Andi McGargill



Game / Event Name



NICC Meet #1

Homer T Cook Memorial Park, Wauconda


Hawthorn XC Invite

Vernon Hills High School, Vernon Hills


NICC Meet #2

Adler Park, Libertyville


NICC Meet #3

Diamond Lake Soccer Fields, Mundelein


NICC Conference Meet

Diamond Lake Soccer Fields, Mundelein


1A Sectional A Meet

Deer Grove East, Palatine


Mighty Oak Invitational

Lake Forest Country Day School, Lake Forest


1A State Meet

Maxwell Park, Bloomington



Please see our calendar below!