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About Atlanta Track Club Youth Team

Atlanta Track Club Youth Team is open to all Atlanta area middle school-age runners who have an interest in being part of a competitive cross country and/or track & field team, regardless of ability or experience level. The team is designed to develop and teach athletes life-long lessons on the following topics:

  • Physical development
  • Social and emotional development
  • Goal setting
  • Teamwork
  • Work ethic
  • Sportsmanship
  • Enthusiasm for athletics
  • Health and wellness knowledge

Registration for the 2019 Atlanta Track Club Cross Country Youth Team is now open. Registration for the 2020 Atlanta Track Club Track & Field Youth Team will open on January 1. The registration fee for each regular season and postseason is $150. Need-based scholarships are available and can be applied for by clicking HERE

The items below are included with registration. All athletes competing during the cross country or track & field postseason must be current USATF members. USATF youth membership registration is $20 and separate from Atlanta Track Club Youth Team registration. To register for a USATF youth membership click HERE.

  • Meet entry fees
  • Team uniform
  • T-shirt
  • Team yearbook
  • End of year celebration

Please send inquiries to youthteam@atlantatrackclub.org

  • Date & Time

    Fall, Winter & Spring

Atlanta Track Club Cross Country Youth Team

Regular Season: August 13 - October 10
Post-Season: October 12 - December 7
Practice Days: Tuesday & Thursdays
Practice Times: 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Practice Location: Piedmont Park Active Oval

The regular season competitions include exhibition meets throughout metro Atlanta. Postseason competitions include championships meets outside Atlanta, including USA Track & Field Youth Championships. The Georgia Middle School State Championships are a part of the regular and postseason schedule.

Atlanta Track Club will host a meeting for current and prospective cross country team members' parents/guardians during the first day of regular season cross country practice on August 13 from 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. During this meeting, parents/guardians will learn more about what their children should expect during practices and competitions, meet the team coaches and administrators and have the opportunity to ask questions about the team.

Parents are encouraged to learn more about preparing for the upcoming cross country season HERE.

The registration fee for each season is $150. Need-based scholarships can be applied for HERE.

Cross Country Team Schedule

  • August 13Parents Meeting
  • August 13Regular Season Practice Begins
  • August 24Saucony Battle of Atlanta (3K)
  • August 31Cherokee County Classic (3,000m)
  • September 14Big Peach Mustang Stampede (2 Mile)
  • September 20Wingfoot XC Classic (3K)
  • September 28Darlington Cross Country Festival (3,200)
  • October 5Altra Nash Farms XC Festival (3K)
  • October 12Georgia Middle School State Championships (Regular & Postseason) (2 Mile)
  • October 12Regular Season Ends & Postseason Begins
  • October 19Carrollton Parks and Rec XC Meet (2,000m)
  • October 26Sirius Athletics XC Meet (2,000m)
  • October 27Peachtree City Flash Invitational (3K)
  • November 2Etowah Youth Track Club XC Meet (2,000m)
  • November 9USATF Georgia Association Junior Olympic XC Championships (3,000m & 4,000m)
  • November 23USATF Region 4 Junior Olympic XC Championships (3,000m & 4,000m)
  • December 7USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships (3,000m & 4,000m)

Coach & Staff Bios

Patrick Peterson, Youth Team Head Coach

Patrick Peterson has been head coach of Atlanta Track Club Youth Team since 2017. He has coached four Georgia association state champions, three USATF Junior Olympic Championship top 10 finishers and led multiple Georgia association and region four teams to championship titles. Patrick has also coached seven middle school boys to run sub-5:00 minute miles and two girls to run sub-5:30 miles. He is a graduate of Iowa State University, where he earned All-American honors as a member of the track and field and cross country teams. In 2016, Patrick was a finalist in the 800m at the U.S. Indoor Track & Field Championships. He continues to chase his dream of running professionally as a member of Atlanta Track Club Elite.

Eric Heintz, Director of High Performance

During his thirteen year tenure as Marist School's head track and field and cross country coach, Eric Heintz led his teams to win a total of 24 GHSA state championships. Marist athletes also secured 32 individual GHSA State Championships during this time. Also a history teacher at Marist, Heintz received the 2017 Goizueta Chair of Excellence recognizing innovative teaching, high standards of professional development, promotion of cross-curricular understanding and global interest and involvement in student extracurricular activities.

Andrew Begley, Elite Team Coach & Youth Team Program Manager

Andrew Begley brings more than two decades of elite running and coaching experience to Atlanta Track Club. He helped the University of Arkansas secure nine NCAA National Championship titles, earning All-America honors three times and winning the 5,000 meter indoor at the SEC indoor championships in 2000. As a high school coach, he guided seven athletes to 18 state titles in Indiana, Louisiana and Oregon. Begley was also an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut, where he coached seven conference champions and two NCAA regional qualifiers. He has coached Atlanta Track Club's Elite since 2015 and has been a youth team program manager since 2017.

Justin Gaymon, Youth Programming Manager

While at the University of Georgia, Justin Gaymon captured three SEC 400m hurdle titles and was a three-time All-American. He went on to compete on the professional circuit, finishing fourth and fifth during the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Trials, respectively. Justin has been a youth team program manager since 2018.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What will athletes do during a typical practice?

A: Athletes will begin each practice by running warm up laps, followed by stretching, active drills and running their workouts.

Q: What should athletes wear to practice?

A: During warm days, athletes should wear shorts and a t-shirt/singlet to practice. During cold days, athletes should wear layers. Bring warm athletic attire to wear during their warm ups with shorts and a t-shirt underneath to wear during the workouts.

Q: Who can join Atlanta Track Club Youth Team?

A: Atlanta Track Club Youth Team is open to all middle school age kids (11-14) who have an interest in being part of a competitive cross country and/or track & field team. The team includes a wide variety of ability levels, from beginner runners to state championship title contenders. Team members train with those who are close to their ability level to encourage a positive, competitive practice experience for all.

Q: What are the competition age divisions?

A: Youth competitions typically take place in two-year age divisions. These age divisions provide young athletes the opportunity to compete with other athletes of similar ability. The 2019 USA Track & Field age divisions are 9-10 (3K), 11-12 (3K), 13-14 (4K), 15-16 (5K), and 17-18 (5K).

Q: Will Atlanta Track Club provide travel to and from practice and competitions for athletes?

A: Travel for practices and competitions must be provided by the parent or guardian.

Q: How can parents/guardians stay informed?

A: During the season, team members' parents/guardians will receive weekly emails from their child's coach including information on upcoming workouts and competitions. Parents/guardians will also have access to the team's Facebook group page, which will include team photos and information on a range of topics including nutrition and recovery best practices.

Q: How can parents/guardians support the team?

A: Parents/guardians are encouraged to support the youth team by cheering on athletes during practice and competitions, assisting coaches during practice (starting athletes, resetting field event standards, etc.) and volunteering with meets (raking sand pits, distributing race numbers, etc.)

Q: What kind of shoes should team members wear to practice and competitions?

A: Team members should wear running shoes during practice and competition warm ups. Spikes are recommended during certain practice workouts and competitions. Most running shoes are fine for sprinters and distance runners to wear, as long as they fit comfortably, but sprinters should wear sprint spikes and distance runners should wear distance spikes. We recommend visiting your local specialty running store and speaking with an employee to learn more about what running shoes and spikes would be best for your child.

Q: What are the qualifying standards for the regular and postseason cross country meets?

A: There are no qualifying standards for regular season meets including the Georgia Middle School State Championships. The top 30 athletes and top five teams from the Georgia Middle School State Championships qualify for USATF Georgia Association Junior Olympic XC Championships. The top 30 athletes and top five teams from USATF Georgia Association Junior Olympic XC Championships qualify for USATF Region 4 Junior Olympic XC Championships. The top 30 athletes and top four teams from USATF Region 4 Junior Olympic XC Championships qualify for USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships.