All About USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field and Cross Country Competitions


All About USATF Junior Olympic

Track & Field and Cross Country Competitions

Did you know that two national USATF Junior Olympic Championships are coming to Northern California?

  • 2009 National USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Reno, Nevada on December 12, 2009.
  • 2010 National USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships (information pdf) will be held at CSU Sacramento July 27-August 1, 2010.

Are YOU ready to take your competition to the next level?

Are you serious about your sport?  Is track & field and/or cross country important to you?

Do you know what college recruiters want to see on your athletic resume?  Not only do they want to know that you have competed in a CIF or state meet … they also want to know that you have competed at a National USATF Junior Olympic Championship meet or a USATF World Juniors meet.


What is USATF (

USATF is the national governing body for long distance running, cross country, ttrack & field and race walking.  It is the only organization representing these sports that is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee.  Athletes who compete in USATF are exposed to more events than what is offered in high school, i.e., javelin, hammer, 400m hurdles, steeplechase, race walk and 4x800m relay. Two top prep athletes who have competed in and benefited from the USATF Junior Olympic programs include Jordan Hasay and German Fernandez.

Consider joining… or forming…  a USATF Club:

USATF clubs are typically much smaller than a high school team thus offering more one-on-one training resulting and less standing around.  Also, many USATF clubs are staffed by coaches that have earned USATF Level 1, 2 or 3 coaching certification thus they are able to answer your training specific questions and alleviate any frustrations you might have experienced in the past.  Finally, it is fun and membership in a youth club is often significantly less expensive than many other club sports.  It is not required that you compete on a USATF club and athletes who are no members of a club are categorized as “unattached.” The only expenses for unattached athletes are meet fees and annual USATF membership.

Extend your competitive XC & T&F seasons —

Supplementing your high school experience with USATF summer & winter training and national level competitions can allow the average athlete to improve and become a high performing athlete.  Why does this matter?  By competing in the USATF circuit you have an opportunity to be seen by more college coaches, compete against athletes from out of your area/state and you are given national exposure.

Compete against athletes in your own age division!

Athletes compete in 2-year age divisions, based on the year of birth.

Talk to your coach —

If you have a coach that is able to train you year round … stick with him/her.  Ask your coach to build into your training and competition plan the USATF championship meets and then compete as an unattached athlete.  What does ‘unattached’ mean?  It only means that you are not a member of a club.  Unattached athletes can compete in any event except a relay.  Only club members can compete on a relay team.

If your coach has other obligations and cannot provide year round training then consider joining a local youth track & field or cross country club to ensure that you are continuing to improve your skill sets.  The results are astounding!  Many of the top California high school athletes that you see competing today train and compete on USATF clubs.


To help you get started read these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

·      Q1.   Can anyone compete in a USATF Junior Olympic or USATF Jr. Nationals meet?

·      A1.   A youth competitor in a USATF championship meet must be a current year USATF member.  Also a youth cannot turn 19 until after the final day of competition.


·      Q2.   How can I sign up for a USATF membership?

·      A2.   You may join online or print out the application to mail in at


·      Q3.   How much does it cost to join USATF?

·      A3.   If you are under the age of 18 your annual membership is $20.  If you are 18 or older then your membership cost is $30 a year.  Membership year is from January 1 – December 31.  Athletes who join after November 1 are granted the following year as part of their membership.


·      Q4.   What do I receive for my USATF amembership fee?

·      A4.   Click here ( to learn about all the additional benefits USATF offers once you become a member.


·      Q5.   If I compete on a USATF club will I be ineligible to compete in a CIF competition?

·      A5.   No. Competing in a USATF sanctioned event will not invalidate your CIF eligibility.  It is recommended that athletes train and compete with a USATF club team when they are not in their CIF same sport season.  Some schools do not allow an athlete to train with their club team once the CIF season has begun … others will allow an athlete, with prior approval, to attend a club practice to work on a skill set that the school is not staffed to train.  It is important to understand that once you have competed in your first school competition, wearing a school uniform, you cannot compete in a USATF meet as a club member.  However, depending on your school policy, you may be allowed to compete in a USATF meet as an unattached athlete.  Always consult your school coach or athletic director to ensure you understand the policies specific to your school to ensure you do not invalidate your school eligibility.  NOTE:  CIF rules only apply to athletes attending high schools competing in CIF.


·      Q6.   How do I find a club in my area?

·      A6.   Click here ( and type in your zip code and all the clubs in your area will be identified.


·      Q7.   Are the meets local?

·      A7.   The state of California is split between into four geographical areas.  Based on where you live, your competitions will be within your Association or Regional area.  The national USATF Junior Olympic Championship meet is rotated each year across the United States.  This rotation is between the western states, middle of the USA and the eastern states.


·      Q8.   When will the National USATF Junior Olympic Championships return to the western states?

·      A8.   The Pacific Association of USATF will be hosting the 2009 USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Nationals in Reno, Nevada on December 12, 2009.  The following year the USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Nationals will be held at CSU Sacramento the last week of July 2010.


·      Q9.   How do I qualify to compete in the USATF Junior Olympic Championships?

·      A9.   Qualification for a USATF Junior Olympic Championship meet is a two step process.  First you must qualify in a local Association meet.  The top finishers from the local Association meet then compete several weeks later in a Regional meet.  There are two geographical regions in California:  (1) San Diego and Southern California; and, (2) Central California and Northern California (includes parts of Northwestern Nevada.  The top finishers in each region meet will then travel to the USATF Junior Olympic championships. Pacific Association athletes: please note that since 2009 USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country Nationals and the 2010 USATF Junior Olympic Track & Field Nationals are held in the Pacific Assocation, you are required to compete only in the Pacific Association Junior Olympic Championship meets to advance to the national championship meet.

·      Q10.   How do I start my own USATF club?

·      A10.   There are several steps you need to follow.  (1) Follow the instructions here ( to create a club.  Also the Pacific Association of USATF has created a “How to start a club document” for your reference.


·      Q11. Is USATF club membership only for high school athletes?

·      A11.   No, the youngest age group of youth athletes are age 10 and younger.


Learn more about your local USATF associations at these links:

PA/ the Pacific Association Web site  (the host association for the 2009 National USATF JO XC and 2010 National USATF T&F Championships) The Southern California USATF Association Web site the San Diego Association USATF Web site the Central California USATF Association Web site the national association’s Web site