Olney Cross Country Club was founded in the early 1980’s by a group of local running enthusiasts/parents (Bob Armstrong, among others). One of the original coaching staff included Warren House, a local fixture in officiating professional & high school cross country and track events. With Bob Armstrong moving to Tennessee, the tradition of promoting youth running in Olney area has persisted with the help of interested parents, led by our current coaches, Vassili, Gretchen and Anne, whose children had actively participated in OCC. OCC club has fostered youth runners of all abilities, including those who have gone on to have illustrious running careers in high school and college as well as those who had taken up the sport of running in a less competitive environment. OCC club annually hosts one of the sanctioned meets for MD area Youth XC League. OCC club actively seeks parents to participate as volunteers to help run home meets, to run during practices, and to be active cheerleaders at all XC meets.
Q1: When does the season start? What are the fees & what does it include?
Answer: 2018 season begins with the first practice on Wednesday, August 15th. The dues are $30 per child, which includes fee for the end-of-the-season party. It does NOT include a team jersey/singlet, which can be purchased separately for $24 (please see/contact Gretchen). Parents of each runner are responsible for registering/paying the entry fee (done on the day of the meet).
It is important to emphasize that our coaches DO NOT get paid. They coach strictly on volunteer basis. Their passion for running speaks to the fact that their kids no longer run for Olney CC club; and yet, they are still coaching our next generation youth runners.
Q2: Does my child have to attend all the practices?
Answer: We recommend (but not require) attending all three practices per week because each practice during the week focuses on different aspects of XC running (i.e. distances, hills, & speed work). However, we recognize that each child has different running abilities & interests, and our overall goal is to make XC running FUN. Thus, it is ultimately up to the parents/child to determine how much practice is appropriate.
Q3: When & where are the practices? What are the practices like? What if my child cannot keep up?
Answer: We practice from 5:15-6:15 p.m. Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays at Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood, MD. All practices begin promptly at 5:15 with warmup drills. To accommodate different age groups and abilities, we generally have at least two running groups (more if there are enough parent volunteers). Faster & more experienced runners have tougher/longer workouts, whereas younger and/or beginning runners have easier/shorter workouts. After the workout, the entire team participates in cool down/stretching exercises. Throughout the season, as beginning runners gain strength & endurance, we strongly urge them to work out with the faster practice group. However, we always have a practice group to accommodate those runners that want to run at a slower pace. Ultimately, the goal is to have each child enjoy running and feel good about what he/she accomplished that day.
Q4: Do I have to run with my kids? Do I have to stay during practice?
Answer: We encourage all of our parents to enjoy running with their kids. However, you are more than welcome to not participate or even stay at the practice site. However, if you choose to leave, please make sure we have your contact information & be ready to promptly pick up your kids at 6:15.
Q5: What are the XC meets like? What are the age groups & what are the distances? Does my child have to run in them?
Answer: The meets are on Sunday afternoons, beginning ~12:30 for a coursewalk, followed by races in ascending age group (i.e. 1K 6&under, 2K 7/8 yr olds, 3K 9/10 yr olds, 3K 11/12 yr olds, and 4K 13/14 yr olds). In most meets, parents are allowed to run with their kids for 1K races, and “rabbits” are used for 2K races. The age group that your child will run in is determined by his/her age on 12/31/2016. Your child is not required to run in all or any of the meets. But we strongly urge all of our runners to at least run in one meet (especially in our home meet) to gain experience & to have fun racing.
Q6: My kids are planning on running in an upcoming meet. What do I need to do?
Answer: Unlike in years past, the parents of each runner will be responsible for registering and paying the race entry fees (usually ~$5-10 per race). Registration can be done the day of the meet (please see Gretchen or Anne for more information). The coaches have made this decision so that they can focus more time coaching and warming up the runners at the meet. Please plan on arriving to the meet prior to the coursewalk (click on “Meet Info” button under Schedule weblink for information). It is strongly suggested that you and your child do the coursewalk even if your child ran the same course the previous year (as courses may change). On the day of the meet, it is suggested that the runners eat a full and healthy breakfast in the morning but refrain from eating heavy and full meal for lunch; instead, plan on having a light, easily digestible snacks (i.e. bananas) at least several hours prior to the race. Plan on staying well hydrated in the morning but refrain from drinking too much just prior to the race.
Q7: How do I sign up my child for Olney CC Club?
Answer: You will need to bring a signed waiver form (which can also scanned & be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org) along with $30 to the first practice.
Coach Vassili Triantos
Vassili is a world-renowned accomplished runner as well as a running coach. Besides appearing twice in the cover of Runner’s World, he has won 10 ultramarathons, last of which earned him third place in the world for the longest winning streak. He won the Delpasatore 100K, earning him a spot to compete in Italy for the United States. He has competed in numerous national races, including JFK 50 Mile Run, where he placed in the top 10 three times. Vassili was a volunteer coach for Magruder High School as well as an assistant coach for track at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. Vassili was also a certified coach for MCRRC’s (Montgomery County Road Runner’s Club) Stride Clinic.
Coach Gretchen Triantos
Gretchen started her running career as a sprinter and ran for Magruder High School, and continued to race competitively for Montgomery College where she was the first woman to compete with an all-male track team. In 1977, she became the first MC runner (male or female) to win a gold medal at the National Junior College Athletic Association Track Championship in 800 meters (placed third in the mile). She was inducted into Montgomery College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. Gretchen was a head cross country coach at Magruder High School. Gretchen continues to train for and run in numerous races (including wins at Capital Crescent 5K and Riley’s Rumble Half marathon).
Coach Anne Forsha
Anne is a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners (MCRR), has ran numerous half marathons usually finishing in the top 3 for her age group, actively trains and runs in local races, including a win at Brookeville 5K and 2nd place finish at Rrca 10Mi Challenge, and was the MCRR 2012 Woman’s Grandmaster Runner of the year.
Coach Todd Carter
Todd has been a runner since he got out of college in 2009, runs for Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MCRRC), helps coach the 5K, 8K, 10K, and Intro to Trails program for MCRRC. In 2013, he placed 2nd in his age group for the MCRRC Cross Country Series races, and 1st in the Championship Race Series (Road Races). He is a RRCA Certified Coach, a USA Track & Field Level 1 certified coach, and completed U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Association technical certification in Track and Field in August, 2014.
Coach Michele McLeod
Michele was an Olney XC parent when her daughter Sophie ran from 2009-12. An avid runner with MCRRC and Virginia Happy Trails Running Clubs, Michele has completed trail ultramarathons (50M and 50K) and road races from 5Ks to marathons. In 2018 she qualified for and completed the Boston Marathon. She enjoys running for fitness, as a social activity, and helping others develop their running talents.
Recent OCC Alums who continued their running careers
Colin Crilly: Good Counsel, class of 2014; St. Joseph’s University, class of 2018
Megan Crilly: Good Counsel, class of 2016; Loyola University Maryland, class of 2020
Josh Tiren: Poolesville HS, class of 2019
Alex Carbonell: Poolesville HS, class of 2019
Max Margolis: Magruder HS, class of 2021
Faith Meininger: River Hills HS, class of 2021
Olivia Miller: Sherwood HS, class of 2021
Anna Avila: Holy Cross, class of 2022
Katie Kaneko: Sherwood HS, class of 2022
Yariv Simhony: Walter Johnson HS, class of 2022
Leah Stephens: Holy Cross, class of 2023
Emily Zanni: Sherwood HS, class of 2023
Corinne Wasson, Sherwood HS, class of 2023
Alexa Avila: Blake HS, class of 2023