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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

Free Sprinting & Distance Running Training Calendars for 2020 Postseason
For athletes continuing to train independently, the Atlanta Track Club Track & Field Youth Team is providing FREE training guides (sprinting and distance running) with supplementary training documents that cover a range of topics from warmup drills to hydration best practices specific to middle school age athletes. These training guides are intended to bridge between the spring track and field season and an athlete's chosen fall sport.

Personalized Virtual Coaching
When athletes have specific goals they need specific training! Personalized virtual coaching is available and includes a custom training plan, weekly virtual group training sessions with other team members, one-on-one virtual coaching, and more for just $150. The virtual sessions will take place from April 20-July 2 and include stretching and drill demonstrations as well as an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics including training techniques, injury prevention and goal setting.

Register Today
Registration for both the free and Personalized Virtual Coaching options is available via the link below. The free sprinting and distance training training guides can be used any time throughout the spring and summer, but we recommend those who are interested in the Personalized Virtual Coaching option register by mid-May.

Please send inquiries to youthteam@atlantatrackclub.org


  • Date & Time

    Fall, Winter & Spring

Atlanta Track Club Cross Country Youth Team

Additional Practice Location for Cross Country Team
We are excited to announce that Atlanta Track Club Cross Country Team will offer two training locations throughout the 2020 cross country season. Tuesday and Thursday practices will remain at Piedmont Park from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The new Monday and Wednesday practice sessions will take place under the lights at Marist High School from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Registration for the Atlanta Track Club Cross Country Team will be available in early June.

Regular Season: August 10th - October 17th

Post-Season: October 17th - December 5th

Piedmont Park Practice Information: Tuesdays & Thursdays at Piedmont Park, Active Oval from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Marist School Practice Information: Mondays & Wednesdays at Marist High School from 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $150 per season, need based scholarships available

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 Championship is part of both the regular and postseason schedule. More practice and competition information for the 2020 cross country season will be available soon.


Coach & Staff Bios

Patrick Peterson, Youth Team Head Coach & Distance 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.

O'Neil Wright, Youth Team Sprints & Jumps Coach

After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2004, O'Neil Wright worked as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping propel four of his athletes to All-American status. He went on to coach at the high school level, where five of his athletes earned conference championship titles and eight claimed school records. At Augsbrug University and Winston State University, Wright helped his teams win four conference titles, coached 11 individual conference champions and seven All-Americans. As a professional athlete, Wright represented Jamaica at the 2008 Olympic Games as well as the 2005 and 2007 World Championships. Wright joined the Atlanta Track Club Track & Field Youth Team staff in 2019.

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.


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.