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How does walking on a XC D3 team work?

homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,605 Senior Member
Our S19 may want to try to walk on to Bowdoin's XC/track team. The assistant coach told him back in November that, if he was accepted, that he would be welcome on the team. He contacted the head coach a few weeks ago but has not heard back. I think S19 should call him but he's been so busy that he hasn't gotten around to it yet.

Would the XC team get to school earlier than the freshman to train? If he wanted to walk on, should we expect that the coach would just ask him to come to practice once the freshman arrive on campus? I know some sports have kids show up early but those would only be the recruited and returning athletes. Wondering how walking onto a team works and what the timeline looks like.

Hoping S19 and the coach connect soon but thought I'd ask her in the meantime.
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Replies to: How does walking on a XC D3 team work?

  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 20,370 Senior Member
    It really is school dependent. Some D3 teams (including some top notch D3 XC/track teams) take everyone. I'd really defer to having your son contact the coach unless you can find someone here who has specific knowledge about Bowdoin.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,605 Senior Member
    @doschicos The coach told him he was welcome to run. We just don't have details yet. I made our airline reservations for drop off and I'm just hoping that he wouldn't be expected before that! I'm wondering if kids who walk on teams (really any sport) just "try out" when they get to school. Like I also said, I know some teams like soccer or football have to report to school earlier in the fall.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,795 Senior Member
    edited May 9
    Coach is probably just busy with the season, I would call him again.

    My understanding is that some fall athletes/teams go early, but the freshman have to do the mandatory orientation trip Aug 28-31, after arriving on the 27th. So freshman would just miss those days of practice, if they are even happening yet. Upperclass students don't move in until Sept 1. I don't think any sports (besides maybe football) would start before Aug 27th, but again, the coach will know.
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,831 Senior Member
    Even if they don't arrive early, it's likely that the athletes would receive a workout schedule for the summer. Keep emailing.
  • eastcoast101eastcoast101 Registered User Posts: 456 Member
    edited May 9
    My son runs at a D3 school. He receives a strict running schedule for the summer. He is expected to keep a running log which the coach looks at regularly and provides guidance and feedback. This started right after his HS season ended. He was given about 2 weeks of rest and was running again by the end of June, 6 days a week, with cross training. Keep in mind college XC is 8K, it’s a big adjustment from the 5K they run in HS.

    He went to school about 5 days before the rest of the freshmen came to school. They had special permission to move into their dorms early, then went off site for a team running camp for several days. They were back on campus by Freshman orientation.

    I can’t imagine an athlete just showing up when freshmen arrive at campus. The cross country season starts pretty quickly and your son would need to be training all summer to be competitive.

    Every school is different of course but at a school like Bowdoin I doubt a student could just show up. I’m pretty sure their team is quite competitive. I would definitely suggest making reaching the coach a high priority.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,605 Senior Member
    @eastcoast101 s19 plans on training this summer. His high school team is a high mileage team and runs about 60 miles a week in the summer. He was planning on just training with them again this summer. I will make sure he emails the head coach tonight. If he doesn’t hear from him tomorrow, I think he should try to call him. S19 would not show up in the fall untrained but I agree that he really needs to try to talk to the coach.
  • politepersonpoliteperson Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    @homerdog yes, I’d email again and cc the asst. coach if still there. Include current times in the body of the email or even in the subject line. This is a very hectic time for track coaches with conference meets happening so I’m not surprised by any coach who doesn’t respond to the first email. I’d try to get the new program’s summer training plan; your son can still run with old teammates but it’d be ideal if he comes in with the same summer training background as future teammates. It’s possible there’s not much difference, but there might be.
  • eastcoast101eastcoast101 Registered User Posts: 456 Member
    I agree he should try and call the college coach. I didn’t mean to imply that your S wouldn’t be running over the summer; of course he would. But he will certainly want to keep up with the other incoming freshmen, and the only way to know that for sure is to get it from the coach. The coach will also provide speed workouts and will surely want to know how he’s doing with that. The coach can tailor those workouts for him. I don’t know about your high school coach, but many (most) are not certified USATF coaches and/or don’t have the level of coaching expertise a professional college coach has. Our HS XC coach certainly didn’t.

    Also regarding college athletes we had a lot of extra paperwork to complete before he got to campus. Insurance information, signing off on NCAA regulations, releases, HIPAA paperwork, medical information beyond what a typical student completes, etc. We had to send any Xrays and images to to team trainer. There was also a physical required by the team doctor before he was allowed to compete. (Local physician paperwork was not sufficient.). That’s why I’m saying that just showing up during Freshman orientation is not the best way to proceed.
  • waverlywizzardwaverlywizzard Registered User Posts: 100 Junior Member
    I would relax a little bit. D3 NCAAs are May 23-25 in OH. I would let the coach concentrate on prepping his athletes for this. Then allow him to shift focus to recruits, and the training program should filter down. Coaches are limited in the contact they can have with athletes in the off season. Will your son be doing NB Nationals or any summer track?
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,605 Senior Member
    @eastcoast101 thanks for all of the details. I will make sure S19 asks the coach next week about insurance, medical forms, as well as training and a start date. I’m glad he got back to S19 so quickly last night and gave him a time they can talk next week.

    I’m not sure if our coaches are USATF cerifified but one ran D3 in colllege and the other D1 and almost went to the Olympics. They are certainly very qualified coaches. Our program has turned out quite a few successful D1 runners as well as a D3 national champion currently in college now.

    @waverlywizzard s19 won’t be competing at all this summer. Just training.
  • OnTrack2013OnTrack2013 Registered User Posts: 249 Junior Member
    My two cents – make sure your athlete arrives on campus trained but not over trained. The first semester freshman year can be overwhelming for cross country athletes. He will not have a chance to get settled in before competition every weekend kicks in. That will be on top of new classes, living away from home, eating different food, new roommates, etc.

    So, make sure he resists the urge and the push from everyone to arrive on campus at his peak, because it is likely that the first few months of training in college will be more intense than hs, You want him to start fresh, with a good distance base, but not burned out. There is no break for distance runners in college, they go from XC to indoor and then outdoor, and you want him ready to start strong but not peak for the year too early.
  • homerdoghomerdog Registered User Posts: 4,605 Senior Member
    edited May 11
    @OnTrack2013 that is a very good point. In fact, S19 trained very hard last summer, was having a new PR every week for the first few weeks of XC season and then started hurting. Ended up with a stress fracture. And he had to sit out and watch the kids who didn’t run as much over the summer get faster and faster from Aug-Oct. I hope he learned a lesson but your post reminded me to remind him!
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 39,265 Super Moderator
    ^My son tended to do that, too! He would peak in late September and then slow down the rest of the season.
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,663 Senior Member
    As someone else mentioned cc the asst coach. My D plays bball and had a training schedule that was approved by the coach for the summer. It is winter sport so she did not have to arrive early, but I suspect XC does. My D's training schedule was reviewed in detail by the trainer and the coach in May. Keep reaching out, asst coach probably has more time to respond.
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