Team Information

Equipment Needed to Begin

  • Running shoes
  • Water bottle labeled with your name
  • Racing spikes are optional, but encouraged for varsity runners
  • Running watch is highly suggested, but not mandatory


Buying Running Shoes

Running shoes are critical to training and injury prevention!  We recommend going to a store that specializes in selling running shoes rather than a large department store.  These stores should offer you a discount if you let them know you are part of the STMA Cross Country program.  Typically, these stores have a knowledgeable staff that can help you find the right shoe.  I think TC Running is the closest and most helpful.

TC Running Company

Maple Grove

12862 Bass Lake Rd

Maple Grove, MN, 55369

(763) 746-0378


Weekly Training 

Practices will be at the St. Michael Rec Center from 8:00 to 10:00 beginning August 12th.  Once school starts, practice will begin at 3:40 pm and be done between 5:00 and 5:30 pm.


Saturday Runs 

Saturday morning practices will be optional for JV runners and mandatory for varsity runners. If girls choose not to practice with the team, they are expected to do a Saturday or Sunday recovery run on their own. These runs are very important, as they help the recovery process for the following week’s training.



It is essential that Coach Strait or Coach Venaas are informed in advance when it is necessary for an athlete to miss a practice or meet. This means that the athlete talks, texts, or emails Coach Strait or Coach Venaas personally ahead of time.


Practice Conduct

Runners are expected to be on time to practice, respect coaches and teammates, and work hard to get the most out of their ability.



A nutritious diet is part of the athlete’s training program. It is essential that our runners make a commitment to eating nutritious meals and snacks. Unfortunately, there is no one eating plan, nutrition program, or energy bar that will guarantee success for all girls. Ultimately, the best advice for high school runners is just what parents have been telling them since they were little—eat healthy foods (making sure to include plenty of carbs and protein), eat three well-balanced meals a day, eat healthy snacks between meals, and cut out the pop and junk food.

In addition, athletes must be deliberate about drinking plenty of water. This means sipping on water all day long during the season. Being properly hydrated helps the body carry oxygen and nutrients to the cells, allowing the body to work to its full potential. Water also plays a central role in regulating body temperature.


Meet Days

Athletes will miss some class time in order to travel to away meets. It is the athlete’s responsibility to communicate with teachers in advance when she must miss a class for a meet. In an effort to help build team unity, we would prefer that parents do not take their daughter home after the meet. However, the coaches are aware that there are certain circumstances where a parent needs to drive ​their daughter home.  A parent signature will be required in the sign-out binder at the team camp before leaving.  A parent may choose to designate another adult to provide transportation for his/her child from a meet.  District policy requires that you must have activity director approval no less than 24 hours before the scheduled competition to use this option. The designated adult must use the sign out binder before leaving the meet with the athlete.


Varsity Runners

The initial makeup of the varsity team is determined by the coaches with consideration given to condition at the beginning of season, STMA scrimmage times, participation, and attitude during practices. We will run 7 girls on varsity for most meets, with some meets running up to 10-12 varsity runners. The composition of the varsity team will be adjusted throughout the season to reflect a combination of the following: most recent race performance, consistency of race performances, health, injury, attitude, and quality of performance at practice.


JV Runners

All runners not running varsity will run JV.  We are very fortunate to have such a big team with a lot of depth.  Because of our large numbers, JV runners need to be particularly responsible both at practices and on meet day.  As coaches, we value each of our runners, and our expectation is that the girls participate fully and run to the best of their ability in each practice and meet.


Lettering Policy

  • A varsity letter will be based on both race performance and attendance throughout the season.
  • Everyone will start with a 5K time of 22:00.9 minutes as the lettering standard.  For every practice missed (excused or unexcused) the time is reduced 7 seconds.  For perfect attendance throughout the season, a 30 second bonus will be added for a 22:30.9 lettering time.
  • Official times will be taken from the results at each meet.  Occasionally, a course is exceptionally fast or short of the 5K distance.  In this case race times will be adjusted accordingly or not used in meeting the lettering standard.
  • Coach’s discretion will be used regarding the lettering of seniors who do not meet the lettering standard time.  Varsity letters may be awarded to runners who make an extraordinary positive contribution to the team despite failing to meet any of the above specified criteria.