West Genesee Runners


Team Handbook:

Philosophy and Policies


The 2024 West Genesee Athletics Handbook contains an excellent overview of the philosophy, practices and values of athletes in our district, and I strongly recommend you read or re-read that document. Our brief team handbook is more sport-specific and divided into three sections: 1. Our team philosophy and expectations; 2. Nuts-and-Bolts information; 3. Communications.

Coach Vermeulen

Team Philosophy and Expectations

 Fundamentally, we believe in two possibilities: 1. Committed athletes want to achieve personal mastery and make a team contribution; 2. All committed athletes, properly coached, can improve in one or more Track & Field events. How do athletes make those possibilities realities? That requires some basic decisions by athletes. Taking from the legendary Coach Vigil of Adam State University, athletes progress from potential to achievement by meeting three basic expectations. These expectations are also what make teams productive and successful.

          The first is this: Show up. Spring is jokingly referred to as “the season of conflicts,” but it’s no joke. There is a collection of spring special events, functions or family plans that can conflict with our practices and meets. It is, therefore, the obligation of the athletes and the parents to work with us to minimize conflicts. A conflict should not mean that Track & Field obligations alone will be sacrificed. It means the best compromise will be achieved. Why is this important? For the straightforward reason that athlete mastery and achievement of personal potential is dependent on training consistency. Athletes will never reach individual potentials if missing practices repeatedly due to conflicts.  Any athlete training inconsistently is unable to make maximum contributions to the team. Someone once quipped, “you can’t teach an empty desk.” Neither can you coach a missing athlete. We want all our athletes to enjoy the development of personal greatness. Showing up is the first step.

The second expectation is this: Give Good Efforts.  That describes many more specific expectations, but basically it means the athletes will provide the effort required on any particular practice day. Some days, the athletes will work very hard; others, the work may be easier or focused on technique training. Athletes are expected to appreciate the value of all their training and apply the expected effort. Coaches welcome athlete questions and curiosity about the training methods. The more the athletes know about the why’s and when’s of their training, the better they will become. We enjoy explaining all aspects of training, but we do not favor conversations about doing less work. That would not contribute to the athlete’s maximum development. Athletes should understand that we are an effort-based team, and that all team members, regardless of talent level, can make—or learn to make--the required efforts.

          The third expectation is critical: Be a Good Teammate. Many athletes do not appreciate the added benefits they create just by being a good teammate. It’s ‘teamsmanship’ that makes average teams good teams--and good teams great teams. Being a good teammate means becoming more other-directed. It means being dependable. It means both supporting and holding teammates responsible for what they can contribute. Someone once said, “On good teams, coaches hold players responsible. On great teams, players hold players responsible.” Good teammates want to be accountable to others because they understand mutual accountability is what makes a team work.

 So, we want our athletes to Show Up, Give Good Efforts, Be a Good Teammate. To be the best team possible, we need all athletes meeting those expectations.


Nuts ‘n Bolts

Program Statement

All athletes can contribute to the team with their talents, their efforts and their positive attitudes.

 Attendance/Meet Qualifications

Athletes are expected to attend all required practices, team meetings and designated meets. Missed practices require a parent note or email to Coach Vermeulen(vermeulenjim@gmail.com). Any absence not verified in that manner will be considered an Unexcused Absence. Athletes must maintain an overall 80% practice-attendance average to be eligible to compete in meets.  Athletes who leave the team for vacations or family trips or conflicting activities will be required to ‘recover’ the same number of missed practice or meet days when they return before competing again. For example, an athlete missing 2 days for an extended weekend will practice at least 2 days before being eligible to compete. If a meet occurs in those two days, the athlete will not compete. Importantly, meets are athletic opportunities that are earned through diligent and consistent training. To ensure that team members are ready to compete safely, in a healthy manner, and to the best of their ability, it is required that all athletes complete at least 5 consecutive team practices/meets before any further competitions.  Any exceptions to these requirements due to illness, minor injuries or family emergencies will be made by the coaches.

 Behavior/Coaching Policies

We have a large number of athletes and only 5 boys/girls coaches. This requires a significant level of responsibility from athletes to be where they told and doing what they are told. Our athletes are typically excellent about this, but those who do not follow the coaches’ directives will be subject to team discipline policies as covered by the WG Athletics Code of Conduct. Behavior issues with athletes will be handled privately before or after practices. Training and meet roster decisions will not be discussed with parents except by a coach’s choice. Athletes, of course, can discuss those with coaches and then parents. Parents with concerns about the training or roster decisions of their athlete must contact the Athletic Director, who may then schedule a meeting with the coach, the parent and the athlete to address the concern. Important personal/family information that may affect the conduct or safety of athletes should certainly be shared directly with the coach. 

Varsity Letters

All team members are eligible to earn a varsity letter. To do so, they must meet the following standards: 1. Maintain a minimum 85% attendance average through the end of the league dual-meet season (Athletes with season attendances of 80-84% will be reviewed by the coaches, with possible attendance credit awarded for days missed due to illness or injury. Any other exceptions will be determined by the coaches). 2. Demonstrate Improvement in a Primary Event over the course of the athlete’s season. 3. Meet the team standard in at least one event(Team event standards will be revised and issued soon). 4. Compete in a minimum of 4 scheduled dual meets. Any exceptions to the four requirements will be up to the coaches.

 Types of Seasonal Meets

Dual Meets – SCAC Metro meets with 1-2 other teams. We have two home meets this season.

Invitational Meets – Friday or Saturday meets of 6-20 area teams. Coaches select rosters for these meets based on achievement and effort. We have 3 invitational meets scheduled.

SCAC League Championship – 2 entries allowed per event, with athletes chosen by coaches.

Class AA Sectional Championship – Athletes must meet sectional standards to compete.

State Qualifier Meet – Meet to determine state championship qualifiers. Athletes/Relays must meet standards to enter this qualifier meet.  

State Championship – Athletes who qualify through the State Qualifier Meet.



 Athletes and parents have several of methods for obtaining team information.

1.     Team Web Site: the www.wgrunners.com web site provides team information, meet results and a team practice schedule, among other features.

2.     Team Weekly E-mail: team members are e-mailed each weekend(usually Sunday evening) with information on the coming week’s practices, meets and other team information. Parents will be included in this mail-out.

3.     Team Meet Sheets: Meet results(and lap splits for middle-distance runners) will for emailed to the athletes following each competition.

4.     Post-Packet: at our annual post-season team picnic, athletes are presented a post-packet containing seasonal team/personal achievement data.


Coach Vermeulen

E-mail: vermeulenjim@gmail.com;  Cell: 315-263-6815

 Coach Palmisano

E-mail : mppalmis@gmail.com; Cell : 315-717-7936