Cherokee Bluff High School | 6603 Spout Springs Rd., Flowery Branch , GA

Cherokee Bluff Cross Country Team Guide

Cherokee Bluff Cross Country

Team Guide


What is Cross Country

Cross country is a unique team sport where individual performances are put together to create a team performance. A cross country team consists of 7 runners who will run in a race ranging in distance from 2 miles to 3.1 miles (5K). The first 5 finishing runners for a team will generate a team score based off of their finishing place. The team with the lowest score will win the meet. 


For example: 

Cherokee Bluff runners finish 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 

North Hall runners finish 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 


From these finish places, the first 5 finishing places for each team will be added together to produce a team score. 


Cherokee Bluff: 1+3+5+7+9=25 

North Hall: 2+4+6+8+10=30 


Because Cherokee Bluff has the lower score, they would win the meet. A meet is a collection of Boys and Girls, Varsity and Junior Varsity (JV) races. Most meets will have 4-6 races depending on how many teams are entered in the meet. There can be as few as 2 teams in a meet all the way up to 20+ teams. Each race in a meet will be spaced approximately 30-45 minutes apart. Unlike track, cross country races can take place on a wide variety of terrains. This includes but is not limited to golf courses, wooded trails, open fields and gravel pathways. Most cross country courses are not flat and may contain hills and sharp turns. 

Just like any other sport, cross country has what can be considered a post season however, it is not like a traditional tournament style set up like you see in basketball. In cross country, teams must qualify in order to compete for a State Championship. In order to qualify for the GHSA State Meet in the 3A classification, a cross country team must finish in the top 4 as a team at their Region Meet. A runner can also qualify individually for the GHSA State Meet by finishing as one of the top 6 individuals in the Varsity race. There is a JV race at the Region Meet however; there is no JV state meet. A JV athlete’s season will end after the Region Meet. Cherokee Bluff is in Region 7-AAA. This region consists of the following teams: 


This Region consists of the following teams:

Cherokee Bluff

East Hall

Greater Atlanta Christian

North Hall 

Dawson County

Fannin County

Lumpkin County

Union County


Team Philosophy


Cherokee Bluff cross country has a team first philosophy. Everything we do is focused on how to make the team better. Cross country can be more of an individual sport, however, as coaches we believe that the athletes can benefit more from an atmosphere where teamwork is stressed. Decisions will be made with the team in mind and will be made to better the team as a whole. At any time, if an athlete is considered to be involved in activities that are detrimental to the team, they can be suspended from the team for a short period of time or indefinitely. The period of time will be up to the coaches and administration. 


“Win the Day” 

Cherokee Bluff cross country has a team philosophy that encourages the athlete to “Win the Day”. This applies both in the classroom and at practice. The idea behind this is that every athlete will put forth their best effort in everything that they do. This will make their body accustomed to putting forth their best effort. Giving their all will come more naturally to them. This will help them in school and life but also in cross country. When we are faced with adversity, like in a race, our body will resort to performing in a manner it is used to performing in. If we have trained our bodies to always give our best effort then when faced with adversity, our bodies will be able to perform at a higher level. At any time, if an athlete is considered to be giving less than their best effort, they can be dismissed from practice or suspended from the team for a short period of time or indefinitely. The period of time will be up to the coaches and administration. 


Goal setting 

Cherokee Bluff cross country has a team philosophy that incorporates goal setting. This gives us something to work for and look ahead to. This will give us the focus we need to get through tough workouts. We will map out goals as a team and as individuals and we will write them down. The team goals will be posted and will be a constant reminder to us as to what we want to accomplish. We will also set up a plan on how we will achieve these goals. This will give us the step by step procedure to follow to achieve our goals. These goals will help hold us accountable as a team and as individuals and help us track our progress throughout the season. 


Team Goals

These goals are generic goals for the team and will guide the overall direction of the team. Each year the team will come together and establish specific goals for the season. 

  1. Challenge for Region championships on a yearly basis. 
  2. Challenge for podium finishes at the GHSA State Meet on a yearly basis. 
  3. Have a team that is known for their performances not only in competition but also in the classroom. 
  4. Develop runners who go on to compete at the collegiate level. 


Team Rules/Expectations

  1. Attendance during the season is mandatory. Athletes missing 4 or more practices during the season will not be guaranteed a Varsity letter. 
  2. Cell Phones WILL NOT be allowed unless you are running with it or need it in case of an emergency (i.e., use of cell phones during stretches will not be tolerated) 
  3. Athletes will show respect to all coaches, teammates and other athletes at all times. 
    1. 1st Violation – verbal warning 
    2. 2nd Violation – suspended from upcoming meet 
    3. 3rd Violation – dismissal from team 
  4. Athletes receiving ISS or OSS will be subject to discipline in regards to cross country 
    1. Discipline could include suspension from practice, suspension from a meet and/or dismissal from the team. The discipline will be determined by the coaching staff. 
    2. If a student receives ISS/OSS it is their responsibility to notify the coaching staff. Athletes receiving ISS/OSS are not allowed to attend practice or meets on those days. 
  5. Athletes will comply with all policies regarding alcohol, drugs, tobacco and criminal offenses set forth by the HCS. 
    1. Coaches will follow all guidelines set forth by the HCS in relation to any incidences involving alcohol, drugs, tobacco and criminal offenses. 
    2. A violation of this policy will result in a minimum of a suspension from the team or even dismissal from the team depending on the situation. ISS and OSS will also be applied as deemed necessary by the Principal. 
  6. Athletes must participate in every aspect of practice. This includes stretching, running, core routines and recovery activities. 
  7. Athletes will keep a training log and update it weekly. Failure to bring training log to practice and update weekly will result in consequences ranging from push-ups to dismissal from the team. 
  8. Athletes must notify one of the coaches if they will not be at practice. When possible, this should be done in person. 
    1. 1st Violation – verbal warning 
    2. 2nd Violation – suspended from upcoming meet 
    3. 3rd Violation – suspended from the team 
  9. Athletes will not participate in other sports during cross country season without prior approval by Coach Brick or Coach Manders. 

a.    If an athlete is found to be participating in another sport during cross country season without prior approval, a meeting will be held with the coaches, the athlete and the parents to determine the best course of action moving forward. 

9.     Athletes will notify a coach when they are experiencing pain or feel that they are injured. This notification should occur ASAP. 

  1. If an athlete misses a practice for any reason the week before a meet, it will be the coaches’ decision whether or not that athlete will run the meet that week. 
  2. If an athlete misses practice the day before a meet, the runner will not run in the meet the next day. Special cases will be allowed however this must be discussed in advance with one of the coaches.
  3. All rules stated in the student handbook apply to all Cherokee Bluff Cross Country events and practices. 
  4. Returning athletes may be put on a behavior contract if deemed necessary by the coaches. Behavior contracts could be warranted for situations where there have been previous behavior problems in school or in previous season/sports. 

14.  Situations may arise that which are not addressed specifically by these rules. In these situations, coaches will a fair and consistent decision after consulting the parents and the administration. 


Racing Requirements

In order to qualify to run in a race for Cherokee Bluff HS, a time standard must be met. This is to help the coaches know that they are only putting athletes in races who are physically ready for that experience. In order to run in a race for Cherokee Bluff HS, the following time standard must be met for 2 miles: 

Boys: 16:30

Girls: 18:30

Athletes who do not qualify at the time trial will be allowed to run a 2 mile each week until they qualify. They will then be put in the next available meet where the coaches decide is the best fit for them. 


Lettering Requirements

There are a few ways that an athlete can receive a varsity letter for cross country: 

  1. Running on the Varsity team at the Region Meet and/or the GHSA State Meet. 
  2. Run below the time standards set below. 




1st year



2nd  year



3rd  year



4th year 



3. Any runner who has run cross country for 4 years and never received a varsity letter will receive a varsity letter upon completion of their senior cross country season. 

*Attendance at practice is mandatory. Athletes missing 4 or more practices will not be guaranteed a Varsity letter. 


Training Philosophy

Having a planned out training plan is essential to success as a cross country team and essential to being able to plan for a peak performance at the right time. Cherokee Bluff cross country will have a detailed, pre-planned training schedule. This plan will not be set in stone but will be a guide to follow throughout the season. 

Our training will focus on the following principles: 

  1. Aerobic development 
  2. Strength development 
  3. Mental development 
  4. Long term development – 4 year plan 

Our training plan will be designed with the 4 concepts outlined above. Everything we do will be focused on developing our athletes physically and mentally. We will work to make athletes more aerobically fit. This will help them be able to run and maintain a quicker pace as well as be able to handle a higher level of training. We will work on strength development in different ways from core routines to weight room routines. This will help our athletes to build general strength which will help prevent injuries and will help the athletes be able to handle a higher level of training. We will work on mental development in different ways, helping our athletes to be able to handle the mental stresses of training, racing and life. This will help our athletes excel in races as well as in the classroom. All of our training will be designed with the future in mind. This includes the future of their high school career as well as running beyond high school. At Cherokee Bluff, we want our athletes to improve year after year and avoid injury so that by their senior year, they are running their best times. We want to avoid athletes burning out as a freshman or sophomore. Our training will be designed to prevent injury and encourage this type of long term development. 

The training plan will consist of the following types of runs/exercises: 

· Long Runs– long runs will be an integral part of the training plan. These runs will range from 6-15 miles depending upon the experience level of the athlete and the time of the season and will be run at a moderate pace. Athletes should be able to hold a conversation on these runs. If possible a GPS watch will be used for each training group to control their pace and run the pace prescribed by the coaches. The purpose of these runs is to help the athletes develop a strong aerobic fitness base. This will help them gain endurance needed to compete in races and hold a fast pace. It will also help them become more fit which will allow them to recover from workouts quicker. 

· Tempo Runs– tempo runs will help acclimate athletes to running at a faster pace. While the runs will not be done at race pace, the pace will be faster than long run pace. The runs will range in distance from 1-5 miles depending on the experience level of the athletes and the time of the season. Tempo runs will help athletes further develop a strong aerobic base while also allowing them to get their body used to running fast. This will help the athletes’ body become better at using the aerobic energy system as well as the anaerobic energy system. 

· Hill Runs– hill runs will serve two purposes in our training program. The first purpose will be strength training. Hills will be used early on in the training program and will help the athletes to develop their muscular strength and endurance. These hills will range in distance from 200-300 meters and will be run at a moderate pace. The second purpose hill runs will serve will be to develop the athletes’ anaerobic energy system. About halfway through the season, athletes will begin to run shorter 100-150 meter hills but at a much faster pace. The pace will be around 85%-90% of max effort. Doing this type of running uphill will also lessen the impact on the runners’ legs which will help reduce the chance of injury as the season progresses. 

· Recovery Runs– in cross country, recovery is just as important as running. Our body improves not when we run but when we recover. When we run and workout we break our body down. When we recover, our body builds back stronger. Recovery runs will be integrated in to the training program to give the athletes a chance to recover from hard runs and workouts. These runs will be at long run pace or slightly slower. The distance will range from 4-7 miles depending upon the experience of the athlete and the time of season. These runs will be controlled by a GPS watch by training group if possible. 

· Interval Workouts– these runs will be done on the track, on grass or on a crushed gravel pathway. These workouts will consist of running different distances in a specified amount of time, resting then repeating. Sample workouts could be 4x1200, 10x400, 10x200 or any combination. These workouts will be done close to race pace. These workouts will get the athlete used to running at race pace for a shorter distance. 

· Core/Strength Routines– developing a strong core is essential to success in running. A strong core allows the athlete to be able to better stabilize their body. This helps them maintain their form better which will help them conserve more energy throughout the race and run at a faster pace. It will also help increase the general strength of the athlete which will help prevent injury, help the athlete handle more training and recover better from hard runs. Sample core exercises can include pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, planks, squats and med ball exercises. 

· Flexibility/Form Drills– flexibility will help the athletes prevent injury. An injured athlete cannot practice so we want to make sure all of our athletes develop good habits when it comes to stretching. The team will partake in team stretching before and after practice. Before practice, athletes will go through a dynamic warm-up and stretching. Static stretching will occur after the run/workout. The athletes will also do hurdle drills to help with flexibility and other form drills. These flexibility and form drills will also help the runners become more efficient while running which will help them be able to run at a faster pace. 



Transportation will be provided for every meet. Athletes will be required to ride the bus to EVERY meet. If an athlete has a conflict arise with this, the athlete needs to talk with Coach Brick or Coach Manders. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis, however only in extreme conditions. If one of the coaches does approve an athlete to travel on their own to a meet, they will be required to travel with a parent or approved adult. If an athlete does not ride the bus and arrives to a meet on their own, they will not be allowed to participate in the meet and are subject to suspension from the team.



All eligibility rules and explanations can be found in the GHSA Constitution and Bi-Laws ( 

1.30 – AGE To be eligible to participate in interscholastic activities, a student must not have reached his 19th birthday prior to May 1st, preceding his year of participation.

1.21 To be eligible to participate and/or try-out for a sport or activity, a student must be enrolled full time in grades 9-12 inclusive at the school seeking eligibility for that student. 

1.41 Students must have a certificate of an annual physical examination on file at the school prior to participating in any athletic try-outs, practices, voluntary workouts or games that indicate the students are physically approved for participation. 

1.42 A student has eight (8) consecutive semesters or four (4) consecutive years of eligibility from the date of entry into the ninth grade to be eligible for interscholastic competition. 

1.51 To be eligible to participate, practice, and/or try out in interscholastic activities, a student must be academically eligible. A student is required to pass classes that carry at least 2.5 Carnegie Units counting toward graduation the semester immediately preceding participation. 

1.53 Students must accumulate Carnegie units towards graduation according to the following criteria: 

  1. First-year students (entering 9th grade) are eligible academically. Second semester first-year students must have passed courses carrying at least 2.5 Carnegie units the previous semester in order to participate. 
  2. Second-year students must have accumulated five (5) total Carnegie units in the first year, AND passed courses carrying at least 2.5 Carnegie units in the previous semester. 
  3. Third-year students must have accumulated eleven (11) Carnegie units in the first and second years, AND passed courses carrying at least 2.5 Carnegie units in the previous semester. 
  1. Fourth-year students must have accumulated seventeen (17) Carnegie units in the first three years, AND passed courses carrying at least 2.5 Carnegie units in the previous semester. 
  2. Students may accumulate the required Carnegie units for participation during the school year and eligibility will be reinstated at the beginning of the next semester. 

1.56 Loss of Eligibility: Students assigned to an alternative school or on out-of-school suspension for disciplinary reasons, or adjudicated to YDC, lose their eligibility. Suspension is considered to have ended when the student is physically readmitted to the classroom.

*These are not the complete requirements. They are subject to change. For complete and up to date eligibility