Redondo Nike Thank You Volunteers

Congratulations on hosting one of the premier track meets in the country. Now widely considered one of the top track meets in the nation in only its sixth year, it is important to point out why this meet continues so be so strong every year. and EPI has created a formula based on the finishing times from the previous state championships to determine a fair standard to pin down what makes an elite mark. A nearby meet held on the same day produced six EPI Elite marks. At this year’s Redondo Nike Track Festival, 139 EPI Elite marks were produced, along with nine state leading marks. That is six more than last year. That is very productive considering the less than ideal conditions on Friday. This will be the highest caliber meet in the state until the Arcadia Invitational is contested in mid-April.

There were 2,550 athletes competing from 75 different schools! That is a massive number of athletes competing in one sporting event. Many were premier athletes, and many others were simply hard working, overachieving students from around the state. Year after year, this is the largest high school sporting event in the history of the South Bay. Our goal is to provide a first class experience for all that compete in our meet. Not just the super stars.

When I think of community, I think of the people and places that make a town feel unique, more of a hometown than a city where you happen to live. It is the people that we interact with, the coffee shops and grocery stores we frequent that enhance our lives. I feel hometown events like parades and sporting events are a part of that as well. The Redondo Nike Track Festival has become part of the fiber of this community. Having a strong sense of community gives us all a stronger connection with each other. The long hours and hard work our volunteers put are part of that connection.

Here were some of the great things heard around the meet:
“First of all, thank you for putting on a great meet! We were one of the smallest schools in attendance, but my athletes had a great experience, learned a lot and had fun! The meet was 100% professionally run and made my job as a coach super-easy.” ~ Tyson Sacco, head track coach at Chadwick Prep.

“Thank you Redondo coaches and staff. You guys did a great job and everyone was so kind. Thank you for all the hard work and for putting on a great meet!” ~ Coach Sara Soltani , Golden Valley High School track coach.

“Congratulations on an outstanding invitational. With weather conditions as bad as it was, you guys came through in an Olympic winning way.

Thank you for letting me be a part of it,” Ed Austin, meet official and former track coach at Redondo Union and Aviation High School.

One of the really cool aspects of this meet, is that it is hosted, manned and organized completely by volunteers. The clerks, announcers, ticket takers, gate keepers, pit rakers – you name it – was operated by a volunteer, and most likely a parent of a team member. Most major meets are run by a professional meet staff with hired officials at every turn, every gate and every event. Paid security to keep people off the fences and patrol the aisles. Not here. These were all locals who answered the call and help out every year. Many new parents experienced the rush of the meet kicking into high gear, i.e. 37 heats of the 100 meter dash completed in one hour. Several of our volunteers are parents who have not been in the program for years, but still in the program. Take our announcers; good ol’ Greg Hough handling the duties Friday night (daughter Nicole, class of 2009) and the voice of the Redondo Track Festival Kevin Ryan (daughter Kelly, class of 2011) were both terrific.

Each position at the meet was important. Each position made up for a huge win because everyone took ownership in their spot and made it better by the end of their shift. And, in addition to this dedication to your position, you were nice to people and helped give a great vibe to the meet that I know I felt and other coaches commented on as well. I would like to especially like to thank:

  • Caedryn Schrunk, Molly Paterno and the Nike West team. They have been our unyielding sponsor from the beginning. They have provided us with all the tools to create this one of a kind event. They have always asked, “What do you need to make this special? We know you want a first class meet. Let’s make this happen together.” Without their support none of this would have been possible. They are an amazing team that supports us to the end.
  • Andy Saltzman, our athletic director, who provides his full support of this event. He secures the fields and makes sure every detail we ask for is at our disposal. This type of support for track and field is not always the case at other schools, but it is with Andy. His hard work allows us to be great!
  • Nick Carr – my good friend and best man at my wedding! He has taken a position at the meet that is difficult, long and tiresome. Rounding up kids, announcing the same message over and over again and making sure that you get the heats ready for the track in a perfectly timed way is not an easy one. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the ownership and care he takes in this position. It’s one of the most important ones to ensure that the meet runs on time. Thank you!
  • Laurie Baker – the one gets the work done in the background from running and updating the website, to getting all the volunteers signed up, to setting up the athlete check in – thank you!
  • Dave Dill – the dedication we feel from you to this program does not go unnoticed. Making sure that all of our gear is up-to-date and on-hand, to giving us a vision of having a second pole vault pit and picking up where ever we needed help after that – thank you!
  • Kevin Ryan – for being the voice of the Redondo Nike Track Festival. I know it’s a three ring circus up there and you having to announce every aspect of that meet is a lot, but you handle it like a pro and get it, so we say thank you for that, once again. The meet would feel hollow without that booming baritone.
  • Susan Ryan – your expertise on the field has been invaluable for six years now. Having a meet this size and such a tight schedule begs for a poorly run and off schedule meet. But for six years, we have never been behind more than 10 minutes at any time (but caught up later in the day!) which is essential for athletes who count on a time schedule to time their warm ups and give them some sort of relief that they have something to count on. This is probably the one area we get most compliments from the other coaches. Thank you!
  • Carlos Caracoza – my former teammate, once again, you bring your hard work and dedication to this meet is an essential one. I hardly have to pay attention to how the concessions are going because I know that you and Carmel own it. The grill set up is perfect each year and the amount of food you go through for the spectators is unbelievable.
  • Jerry Hernandez- RUHS class of 1981, and former prom date of Shannon Rodriguez, for donating the wonderful plants that line the turns and awards area. It is such a nice touch of class that is unusual at a high school meet.
  • Greg Hough- In the booth he did an amazing job announcing the many award winners and calling of the meet Friday. This is a very difficult task involving getting timely results and coordinating with the crew on the field.
  • Coach Brian Lindquist – from set up, to break down and EVERYTHING in between that you gladly help out on, I cannot thank you enough. Your energy is boundless and your eagerness to take it on is so refreshing. Thank you!
  • Julie Ferron- Our co-head coach who does an amazing job coaching and guiding our program. During the meet while coaching she organizes all of our student volunteers. She organizes every student and assigns all position. And makes sure the volunteers help the meet run smoothly. Since she has taken this role it has had a huge impact on running this first rate meet run like a clock. Thank you!
  • The admissions team of Cindy Will and Sharon Douglas- they handled the gates and all the money. You guys were key to the operation while working long hours and many of you couldn’t see anything that was going on at the track. But you were bringing money in for the program and overseeing a big responsibility. Really appreciate your support there. Thank you!
  • Nedra Yost- Medals and awards. You took a tough position and got all the medals out in a timely manner. We handed out over 1,500 medals over the two day meet and you made sure they were accurate and given out in a timely manner. Hats off to you and your team. Thank you!
  • Julie Heiden- and her team at athlete check-in. It was great to see Amy Pederson, daughter Nicole class of 2015, back in the mix. This is one of the most stressful spots on the planet. And this crew did the best job we have ever had. Thank you!
  • Carmel Beaudoin- with her team of Bea Stone and Tracy Seth at consessions were rock stars. You fed half the city of Redondo and turned a nice profit for the team. Thank you, Carmel, for all the pre-planning you put in to make it all work so splendidly.
  • Tanya and Donte Montgomery and Bryan Wynn, daughter Breya class of 2015- Did their usual amazing job at the long and triple jump pits. That is always a trouble spot at most meets, but not with this crew. Not only do the events get done on time but the kids are treated so well they tend to jump personal bests every year. Thank you.
  • Cathy DeCurtis and Peter Wadhams- The high jump was run very well and on time. Another area that can unravel quickly if not for the professional manner the event is handled.
  • Bob Mull, daughter Lyndsey class of 2012 and Jonathan Hill- as the gate keepers. Great job keeping the kids and spectators from cutting across the track. All done with a smile. Thank you!
  • Meredith Tait and Sonoya Wynne, daughter Breya- ran the team check in. This is the first point of contact with the coaches and athletes and you handle your selves well and represent the school splendidly time and time again. No matter what the situation the teams exit the Team Check-In and begin their trek to the stadium with smiles already in place. Thank you!
  • Janet Lindquist worked the throws area from beginning of the shift through to the end. During one of the most intense rain and wind storms I have ever seen during a track meet. She handed out medals, checked in athletes and stayed through out when other volunteers failed to show up. Thank you!

As I watch the athletes being escorted to the infield the expressions of pride are visible on their faces. To see them bask in the glory of a high level meet is a moving experience as a track fan and as a parent. These are cool character building moments in their young lives. When it is one of our own athletes it is even more impactful. When chat with the kids and discuss how their races and events are going I try to always remind them to thank their parents for their contributions in helping. That always brings an extra wide smile showing how thrilled they are that their family is a part of this proud meet as well.

Go Seahawks!

Bob Leetch
Track & Field
Redondo Union High School

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