How to Join/FAQ's


Getting Started

Q. I am a current student who would like to run/I am an admitted freshman who would like to run.  What should I do?
A. Talk to a coach or member of the team ASAP or email Coach Demetrius Clark (Head Track and Field Coach) ( or/and Coach Carson Vittorio (Head Cross Country Coach)( to let them know you are interested. Also, just come out to a practice or conditioning session. The sooner you start, the better, so take that next step. If you'd like to start doing something on your own right away, focus on completing twenty minute runs at a nice, relaxed pace. It is better to start slower and consistent than to run fast with frequent breaks. Detailed schedules can be found online or by emailing the coaching staff. You can also find a great deal of additional information on this website as well.  

Q. I am in elementary school but I'd like to run for Jones in the future.  What should I do?
A. The biggest thing you can do is focus on your academics. Students are admitted to Jones solely based on academic achievement. As far as running goes just try to focus on consistent running at a reasonable pace. Join your school track team. If there isn't one see if you can find a teacher or parent to start one. There are also numerous local running clubs (often based out of running shoe stores) and community races (5K's, 10K's, etc.) that you can get involved in as well. Keep in touch and let us know if you are admitted.  Once/if you are admitted, do not waste any time in reaching out to us so we can start helping in a more detailed manner.  

Q. How good are the cross country and track teams?
A. Both cross country and track teams have been extremely successful. The boys have won City, Regional, Sectional and State championships in cross country while the girls have won Regional championships and qualified for the state meet. The boys team has ended every year at the state track championships and have earned five all-state recognitions.  
We are most proud, however, of our growing depth. The team has continued to grown in numbers, and success, every year. For more information visit our cross country and track websites please look at the results and records section of our website.    
Q. Are there tryouts for the team?
A. Returning athletes must attend tryouts held during the first week of practice. If you show up to every day of tryouts - you've made the team. New runners are welcome at any point but the sooner you join the sooner you will be ready to race. Nobody is cut from the team based on ability or times, but all athletes from the fastest to the slowest are expected to show the same commitment and abide by team policies.  
Q. What do I need to run?
-Running shoes first and foremost (not basketball, soccer or Converse shoes): This is most important as improper footwear can lead to injury.  There are numerous resources available on the Internet to research what shoes are best for you as well as many stores in Chicago and surrounding areas (Fleet Feet, Universal Sole, Dick Pond, etc.) that offer great expertise. At some point you may also want a pair of racing spikes, but they are not essential at first.
- Sports Watch: this will be used to time your runs as this is essential for monitoring health and progress in the sport. This is mainly for distance runners. You aren't expected to have one if you are a sprinter, thrower, or jumper. 
- Running Log: our team uses an online version through that all runners are expected to sign-up for in order for you to monitor your progress. Again this is mainly for our distance runners.
Water Bottle:  proper hydration is also essential to ensure health and improvement
- A Good Attitude:  the most important thing you need to run and be a part of our program is your own self.  More valuable than any piece of equipment is everyone's willingness to work hard and commit to growing as a runner and person
Q. I have another activity a couple days a week after school, can I still be on the team?
A. Unfortunately no, in the interest of fairness and equity, exceptions will not be made on the attendance policy.  Success and health in running requires consistency and commitment and everyone on the team is given the same expectations.  You may, however, in certain circumstances, run for the running club (more details are included below).
Q. I have no experience running before and I am really slow, can I still join the team?
A. The vast majority of our athletes had never run track or cross country before joining and many of our top runners started out at the very back of the pack.  Running is a sport that anyone can pick up and with hard work find improvement.  Students of all abilities are welcome to be on the team.  Improvement amongst new runners often happens very quickly. Nobody is cut from the team based on ability.
Q. I want to compete in another sport for Jones.  Can I run with you guys over the summer to get in shape?
A. Absolutely.  Summer running is open to all individuals who wish to run and requires no commitment to running cross country.
The Details
Q. What is the cross country season like?
A. There are essentially two parts - the regular season and the post-season.  The regular season consists of four to eight meets- most of which are open to all athletes.  The postseason begins with the Chicago Public League Championships with competition at the Varsity, Sophomore, Freshmen and Open levels, so that everyone gets a chance to run.  After that the coaching staff selects a 12 person IHSA State Series Roster for each gender, seven of whom can compete in each meet on any given day.  IHSA Regionals are open to all teams, the top six of whom qualify to the IHSA Sectionals.  The top five Sectional Championship teams then qualify for the IHSA State Finals. We also conclude the cross country season with a competitive team time trial where the state-bound varsity runners serve as coaches and hand-make awards.  
Q. What is the track & field season like?
A. Like cross country, there are essentially two parts - the regular season and the post-season.  Within the regular season, however, also exists two parts: indoor and outdoor track.  The regular season for indoor track consists of four to six meets- most of which are open to all athletes.  The regular season for outdoor track consists of an additional eight to ten meets, roughly, with five to six of these meets being open to all athletes.  The additional "varsity only" meets are typically restricted to two entries per individual event and one relay team per relay event.  
The track and field postseason also begins with the Chicago Public League Championships, but, unlike cross country, is limited to competition only at the varsity and frosh-soph level (there is no freshmen only level, only a combined level, and there is also no open or JV level). After that the coaching staff narrows down entries for IHSA State Series to only two runners per individual event and one relay team per relay event.  The coaches are asked to choose eight names however to enter as eligible for a relay, and any four people out of those eight names can race at Sectionals or the State Finals.  There are is no Regional level of competition in track and to qualify for the IHSA State Finals an individual/relay must finish in the top two in the sectional, or achieve a time that is below a state determined "auto qualifying time". Like cross country season, we also typically conclude the track season with a time trial for runners who may not have made the cut for the post-season.
Q. What is the difference between the Cross Country/Track team and the Running Club?
A. The varsity teams require a significant level of commitment that not all students are prepared to make.  The running club is designed for people who are not ready or able to make that commitment but are still interested in running.  As a member of the running club you can attend practice, use the fitness center, weight-lift and race in any open or unlimited races - based on the coaching staff's discretion.  You will not receive a uniform, transportation to meets (unless there is extra room), team t-shirts, the right to identify yourself as running on the varsity team (for resumes/applications) or an invitation to the sports banquet. In addition varsity team members will have preference on any resources (i.e. treadmills, lockers etc.)  
Since it is our hope that running club members will at some point choose to commit to the varsity team, athletes who have never competed on the varsity team before are the only athletes allowed to join running club (juniors and seniors will not be allowed to partake in running club under any circumstances).  Similarly, athletes must be cleared and approved by the coaching staff before their admittance.  
Q. What are cross country/track practices like?
A. Practices usually run from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday to Friday with competitions scheduled for Saturdays.  If you do distance, usually there are 2-3 workout days where practice is heavily structured.  The rest of the days are long run or recovery run days (which primarily occur on the lakefront running path).  For our sprinters we will have structured practices either in the garage area during indoors or the outdoor track when it starts to get warm outside. Distance runners are assigned to pace groups of other teammates of their approximate fitness level to run with. There is typically a short team meeting held before every practice, as well as a proper dynamic flexibility routine. Upon conclusion of running, athletes are expected to complete a varying series of supplemental exercises (or "extra work") to increase strength and prevent injuries.  Most of these routines only involve body weight exercises.
Q. What is a cross country race?
A. A 2 to 3.1 mile race that is not held on a track.  The terrain varies from running on roads to grass to forest trails.  For more information see the team handbook.  
Q. What events can I run in track?
A. The events you can do are: 100, 200 and 400m dashes (sprints), 800m, 1600m and 3200m runs (distance/mid-distance), 110 and 300m hurdles, long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put and discus.  

Q. How many races will I get to run in cross country?  In track and field?  
A. It depends, but runners who begin right away at the beginning of the season will primarily run in four to six meets during the cross country season.  Some meets have limited numbers of entries but we try to find meets with open races or unlimited entries plus we run a competitive end of the year team time trial.  Most runners get ample opportunities to run.  In track and field, most runners will run in four indoor track meets and six outdoor track meets.  
Q. I want to sprint or do field events, do I need to run cross country?
A. No, but the more involved you are during the offseason, the better. It is advised that you talk to our field events and/or sprints coach ASAP to get more information.  
Q. Can I run cross country but not track? Or track but not cross country?
A. Yes, but it is often very difficult to improve as a distance runner if you are not running year round.  For sprints and field events cross country is not necessary though you are of course welcome, and many of our sprinters come from basketball or other sports. 
Q. What do I have to do to run varsity cross country for Jones?
A. You need to be committed 110%.  You are expected to be at practice or meets six days a week and if you want to be successful you will need to train in the winter and summer as well.  You are allowed three excused absences and one unexcused absence per season.  You are also required to complete a daily running log.  Running is difficult but also extremely rewarding- we have a lot of fun, stay in great shape and nearly 100% of our runners improve each year.  
Other Questions
Q. Where do you guys run?
A. Most of our distance runs are completed on the lakefront path (south from the museum campus).  We also do workouts at various places in Grant Park and our outdoor track.  More details are available in the team handbook. Sprinters, Jumpers, and Throwers will do their workouts in the schools garage during the indoor season and at the outdoor track during the outdoor season.
Q. How far do you guys run in cross country?
A. It varies depending on ability, gender, injury history, previous experience and other factors, but some runners will get up to about 50 miles in their highest volume week or 13 miles as the longest individual run of the season.  New runners usually start out at 2-3 miles per day and build up to about 25-30 mile weeks.  All of our pacing and mileage is individually tailored to a runner's style and previous experience.  Nobody will run more or less than what they are capable of.    
Q. How much do new runners typically improve?
A. New runners typically improve the most.  The actual number depends greatly on the individual athlete but many athletes improve their cross country times by several minutes. Many freshmen who were hoping to break six minutes in the mile ended up breaking five.  One athlete years ago (Daniel Whorf) went from 27:55 for 3 miles to 17:09 over his three year career.
We put a lot of focus onto developing all of our runners and have many processes in place to ensure that method continues.  Our frosh-soph and JV teams have had just as much success as our varsity program.  The team achieves success by building from the bottom up.
Q. How are Jones championship teams selected?
A. For cross country we select the top seven athletes for each level of championship available that we feel will give the team the best chances of success.  Sometimes younger varsity runners will compete at the freshman or sophomore level to strengthen those teams. We consider (in no particular order): fastest times, consistency, strength of workouts, success in big meets under pressure and dedication.  Grade or years experience are not a deciding factor (except in the rare chance of an absolute tie between deserving runners).  In track, as well, we select two individuals for each event and eight individuals for each relay card based on the same criterion.   
Q. I'm a parent/family member.  Where can I get information on a race?
A. Click on the race under upcoming races or on the schedule page.  There you will find attached meet documents, a link to a Google map, meet itineraries and results.
Q. Who coaches the teams?
A. Coach Demetrius Clark is the Head Coach for Track & Field. He is our sprints coach at Jones. Coach Carson Vittorio is the Head Coach for Cross Country. He is our distance coach at Jones. 
Q. Who runs this website?
A. The coaches, in our spare time.  We try to get results on here ASAP, keep records and bios up to date and write articles about the team - but please be patient with us.  If you have suggestions, notice mistakes or have questions please email Coach Carson Vittorio (
Q. Do the coaches have any lives outside of the team?
A. No