Olney Cross Country Club was founded in the early 1980’s by a group of local running enthusiasts/parents. The club has been led by our current coaches, Vassili, Gretchen and Anne, whose children had actively participated in OCC since mid-90s. 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 continue to run for local competition, fitness and enjoyment. 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: 2021 season begins with the first practice on Monday, August 16th. There will be a fee of $45 to cover club operations and the end of the season party and awards. It does NOT include a team jersey/singlet, which can be purchased separately for $22 (these will be available at practices).
It is important to emphasize that our coaches DO NOT get paid. They coach strictly on volunteer basis. Their passion for running and desire to introduce cross country running to a new generation of youth runners motivates them.
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. distance runs, hills, and speed work). However, we recognize that each child has different running abilities and 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. (Please see our sheet on expectations of runners and parents at practices here.)
Q3: When and 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 and 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 and 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 and 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 normally encourage all of our parents to enjoy running with their kids. However, if you choose to leave, please make sure we have your contact information and return 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: (For 2021, meet information is still forthcoming) Races are held on Sundays in order of ascending age group: 1K distance for age 6 & under; 2K for 7/8 yr olds; 3K for 9/10 yr olds; 3K for 11/12 yr olds; and 4K for 13/14 yr olds. The runners age group is determined by his/her age at the end of the calendar year (not the age in race day.) In most meets, parents are allowed to run with their kids for 1K races, and “rabbits” (guide runners) are used for 2K races.
Your child is not required to run in all or any of the meets. But we strongly recommend all of our runners to run in at least one meet (especially in our home meet) to gain experience and to have fun racing.
Q6: My kids are planning on running in an upcoming meet. What do I need to do?
Answer: We do not currently have information on how meets will be run and how the fees will be paid. We will make this information available at practices and through the OlneyCCC.org website when it is finalized.
Q7: How do I sign up my child for Olney CC Club?
Answer: You will need to bring BOTH a signed COVID-19 waiver and a general waiver form (which can also be scanned & sent via email to email@example.com).
Coach Vassili Triantos
Vassili is a world-renowned accomplished runner as well as a running coach. He appeared twice in the cover of Runner’s World magazine, he has won 10 ultramarathons. He won the Delpasatore 100K, earning him a spot to compete in Italy for the United States. He has competed in national races, including JFK 50 Mile Run, where he placed in the top 10 three times. Vassili is a 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 the Montgomery County Road Runners Club (MCRRC) Stride Clinic.
Coach Gretchen Triantos
Gretchen started her running career as a sprinter and ran for Magruder High School. She 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, where she also 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.
Coach Anne Forsha
Anne is a member of the Montgomery County Road Runners (MCRRC), has run numerous half marathons usually finishing in the top 3 for her age group. Her running accomplishments include a win at the Brookeville 5K and 2nd place finish at RRCA 10M Challenge. Anne was the MCRRC 2012 Woman’s Grandmaster Runner of the Year.
Coach Michele McLeod
Michele was an Olney XC parent when her daughter Sophie ran from 2009-12. An avid road and trail runner, Michele has completed trail ultramarathons (50M and 50K) and road races from 5Ks to marathons, including 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