Whether you are an experienced parent from our team or brand new to track & field, high school athletics, and this new phase of your son’s life, we welcome you to this experience . . .

Centerville Elks Track & Field.

We operate under rules of the Ohio High School Activities Association (OHSAA), Centerville School District, and Centerville High Athletics as far as eligibility, but find ourselves as team members, parents, and coaches much more responsible to the principles of dedication, perseverance, teamwork, honesty, sacrifice, and fairness. To limit the understanding of track & field to only the world of sports is to limit the potential impact this activity can and will have in the lives of the young men who persevere in this . . . perhaps the most difficult of challenges. Although skill and talent have a place in what we do, the athlete who dedicates himself to improvement will eventually prevail . . . not only on the track or field, but in every aspect of future life. No other activity in high school comes anywhere near the intensity and thoroughness of track & field as it prepares the youth of today to be the consummate leaders of tomorrow. The athletes who immerse themselves in this sport develop the mental ability to deal with life’s difficulties, the physical understanding of health and its relationship to overall happiness, and most importantly, draw the connection between personal hard work and the truly satisfying rewards that come from it.

Track & field has only one aspect which can be both positive and negative . . . it is the ‘great revealer’ of a human being’s internal character. When you challenge yourself with this sport, in time you are forced to look inside yourself and confront what makes up the measure of the man you will be. Other sports offer a ‘way out’ . . . an ‘excuse’ . . . a ‘rationalization for substandard effort’. Track & field gives no such luxury. The negative aspect of this can frighten a young athlete, but our team universally confronts this fear, overcomes it and re-channels it to a positive, and encourages the athlete to draw upon the inner strength of character developed by this sport as he battles life’s future great challenges. It is truly so much more than just a sport of running, jumping and throwing.

As coaches, we hope to enlist your support, not just by attending meets or providing team treats, but by fully understanding and encouraging the principles which we try to develop in each of our young athletes, regardless of physical talent or prowess. For the past 10 years, we have sought to provide the best possible environment for each athlete to develop their personal skills according to the tenets we listed above . . . and they work very well with the highest of community and personal standards. Allow us to help to provide the best opportunity for success by supporting them fully as they learn what it takes to work for personal excellence.

Please feel free to communicate with myself or our staff at any time. We understand that our involvement with these athletes may go far beyond the field as we work with you to encourage them to become the best they can be . . . in running as in future life.

Coach Somerlot & the Track & Field Staff


The Sport

Track & field is an event of worldwide acceptance and support. Virtually every high school of every size across the nation sponsors boy’s and girl’s teams, with similar events in most every state. The track is 400 meters around and is the same distance at every outdoor facility.  We are a member of the Greater Western Ohio Conference and compete in the central division. There are divisional and overall championships contested one week prior to the state tournament. Championships are held for high school runners in District, Regional, State, and National levels of competition. We have had athletes earn All-State honors in eleven of the past twelve seasons and have had athletes qualify & compete at the USATF JR National championships the past nine seasons.

A varsity team is made up of the following individual running events: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200 meters, 110 & 300 Meter hurdles. There are four standard relays: 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and the 4x800. The following field events are what are contested: Shot Put (12 lbs), Discus (1.6K), High Jump, Long Jump & Pole Vault. These events will be contested with two athletes per event and the scoring will be as follows: 10, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 & 1 for 1st to 8th place. There is a list at the end of the packet that explains what an athlete on average must be able to compete at to qualify to compete at a varsity invitational as well as earning their varsity letter.

The Team

Centerville High School has been considered by the state press as one of the top schools in the state of Ohio. The school has remained ‘closed’ for various reasons throughout modern history, so the successes of the program have come from athletes, who live within our boundaries. This is an important distinction. Coming from one of the most competitive track & field hotbeds in the United States, Centerville has amassed a record that is so far beyond the norm for high school athletics that it is easy to lose perspective on the accomplishments of the past. The goals of the team are always national in scope. Highlights of the team’s past include:

  • State Team Runner-Up in 2011 (indoors & outdoors) Highest finish in school history
  • 1st Regional Team Championship in 2011
  • Greater Western Ohio Conference Central division and Overall champions in 2011
  • Winning 8 of the past 12 District titles (Runner-Up the other 4 years).
  • All State athletes in 11 of the past 12 years including 5 individuals & 1 relay team in 2011.
  • 4 individual indoor state champions in: Anthony Scholes in the 25 lb. weight throw and Eric Schmidt in the 3,200 meters (the first two indoor state champs in school history) & Michael Melchor in the long jump (in 2010 & 2011).
  • One outdoor State champion: Michael Bennett (shot put in 2011)
  • Athletes have competed at USATF Junior Nationals the past 11 seasons.
  • Two former US Olympic Coaches- Criss & Rita Somerlot, who are hall of fame coaches at CHS.
  • Spring Break trips to Florida, California, Alabama and Georgia the past 9 seasons to compete at national track and field meets (the Asics Invitational in Mission Viejo, California in 2012)
  • 398 NCAA scholarship athletes since 1975, including 7 last season and 3 athletes looking to run after high school in 2012.
  • Race to Read program collected 25, 873 books in the past four seasons as a community outreach program combined with a track meet called the WarriorElk Challenge
  • A team GPA routinely over 3.00, with a 3.03 GPA for 181 athletes last season.

A normal sized team for the start of the year would be a total of about 125- 150 runners, with athletes coming to us from all 4 grades, 9-12. This season we started the year with 223 boys interested in running track for the elks and are between 120 and 155 for conditioning every day!

The Commitment

Although the traditional state track season goes from March- June, to compete on a national level our athletes train virtually year-round. Most of our athletes participate in other sports (76 % played a fall or winter sport in 2011/12) but many athletes start weight training in August if not involved in a fall sport. We will weight train based on a lifting cycle program that will change every 5 to 7 weeks depending on the training needs of the athlete. The athletes are expected to lift three days a week from 3 to 4:30 pm with some type of cardio work on their own three days as well. In the winter we will be training on Mondays, Wednesdays & Thursdays with lifting on Monday and Thursdays and the large plyometric circuit on Wednesdays. There will be a short pre meet practice on Fridays for those athletes who will be competing on Saturdays. Our outdoor season practice will be from 3 to 6 pm on Monday thru Friday. The practices will be quicker as we get later in the season. Still, our total time does not compare at all (it is far less!) to many other sports at the school, as we believe that if trained efficiently you can do more in less time.

Track & field is a sport and skill which builds cumulatively throughout the school years of the athlete so we do our best to provide an opportunity for each athlete to reach his or her potential by incorporating workouts which are written as part of a year plan. This allows our athletes to reach tremendous potential in running, throwing and jumping as well as represent our school in 2 separate sports . . . indoor track and outdoor track.

Since each workout is a part of a holistic part of a training program, each workout, is important. Athletes who are not able to complete the workout schedule, or are unable to make the commitment to train effectively do not give themselves a fair opportunity to succeed and will have trouble competing for a varsity spot. We ask athletes to schedule every possible appointment around workouts that are given to the athlete at the start of the season. Those athletes missing a practice are subject to missing the next competitive event, a penalty that is universal for every competitive program at Centerville High School. Athletes also are expected to attend rare special events, from the Gathering of Champions to banquets honoring their achievements. We hope our parents agree that the immense benefits of track & field more than outweigh the time commitment involved. This sport definitely rewards the committed athlete and parent, but our athletes have time for top-notch academics, church positions, extracurricular activities, and even work if they desire to budget their time . . . another lesson learned in this sport.

Uniforms & Equipment

Our school provides a competitive uniform. It is to be washed in cold water and line dried after each use in a meet. We have varsity and JV uniforms. Warm up tops and pants are also used, and we issue these for varsity and JV athletes at the beginning of the season, as a will a bag. The warm ups are not to be worn except on meet days to school and at a track meet.

Good running shoes are the only requirement of this sport. There are two great running stores in our area and they both will provide 10% off of your purchase. Endurance Sports off of Wilmington Pike by cub foods and Runners Plus behind the Dayton Mall are both athlete friendly and do a great job supporting us. It is also recommended that each athlete has a pair of specialist’s shoes. These can be spikes (running, jumping and pole vault all have their own event specific spikes) as well as a throwers shoe. These can be purchased at the same stores or on line- see our website for more info.

Booster Group

As you walked in there was a list of positions available to help out. We have broken down the jobs so one person does not get stuck doing all of the work. We felt that this would be the best way to achieve our goals for the season. All of the money raised goes directly back to the track program. Items purchased in the past with these funds were t-shirts, uniforms, indoor entries, equipment and motivational tools.

Centerville also has a separate school-wide Booster Club. We encourage you to join and voice your opinions here too if desired. The club offers sponsorship plans which fit many families and has been a huge help to the program for years.

Awards Banquets

Upon completion of each season, the team will host an awards banquet that recognizes team and individual excellence as well as participation by all. Each athlete is admitted for free but we ask that each family will either bring a desert or an appetizer for 8 people.

The banquet will be Wednesday June 6, 2012 in the west commons at 6pm.


Normal travel costs (bus, food, registration) are handled by each athlete on each event individually. Events such as the Lenny Lyons Invite, in Louisville, KY ($40) or Spring Break (between $350 and 500) are the responsibility of each athlete. Fundraisers do not cover these costs as some of our athletes do not attend and therefore do not receive the benefits. Fundraising money goes towards indoor track, long sleeve dry fits, elk relays, goal setting, and GWOC shirts and shorts. In addition, money raised goes towards the middle school relays, field event classic, some elk relays expenses and indoor meet entries. We will also spend money on equipment and motivational awards plus pizza dinners, warm-ups and uniforms, and a host of other expenses. To meet this need, we conduct a coupon card sale in February, counting on each student-athlete to sell a minimum of 20 cards. It is a tremendous team-building experience and many athletes say it is the most fun they have had on the team.

Every four years we will do a letter writing campaign that sends 10 out of town letters to friends and family that ask for donations. I believe that to do this more than once a family cycle is not fair and this way most families will only be hit once. This year we put the money earned towards 55 new warm up suits. It is due to the size of the team that we need to do a project like this as the school could only pay for 25 suits. This way we will have 80 or so new warm up suits every four years.


Every athlete who runs for Centerville Track & Field will not compete at a level where a scholarship is a reasonable expectation, but we encourage all of those that feel a desire to continue to compete to use this as a goal. Centerville has established a reputation across this country as the preeminent college preparatory school where all runners graduate with superior running skills and a desire to take it to the next level. Our training, goal setting, and team traditions use college running as the focus.

Hours are spent each day in cultivating and maintaining relationships with college programs in many areas of the country. We correspond with over 125 NCAA Division I, II and III colleges and submit updates, web site information, personal data forms, and newsletters to all of these institutions in order to keep the upcoming stars on our teams in the national forefront. Although it has become commonplace for parents in many sports to patronize a new cottage industry of college recruiting web sites, charging from $70 to $250 for an annual listing, our staff works individually and personally with each graduating senior to help them continue to compete wherever they want to be as a natural progression of our program. Centerville Track & Field graduates are among the state’s most highly prized recruits.

We encourage each senior-to-be to present a list of their top 5 choices in post-high-school education. We then begin an intensive phone and letter campaign for each athlete to each of those 5 schools, remaining honest about the abilities of the athlete but also honest about the college in question. We encourage direct parent contact with the collegiate coaching staff and then remain on the sidelines to answer any questions you may have. (Since 1975 we have had 391 boys compete at the DI, II & III levels)

“The Competition”

The Competition

During the track season, our athletes have races which test their ability against local, regional, and national class competition. The simplest meets are the traditional ‘dual’ meet, a tri-meet (3 teams at one site) or quad-meet (4 teams). On our schedule, all athletes will compete at open meets (48 classic and JV gwoc)

Invitational races are held on Fridays & Saturdays (we do this to simulate the state meet time schedules). Many teams from different OHSAA regions participate as well as some teams from out-of-state. Races are usually held for varsity boys and girls only. Individual and team awards are won at these competitions, and we will usually get a first look at top regional and state competition here.

The District, Regional and State Meets are a tremendously fun experience for each athlete. It is the goal of every athlete to place her or his name on the “Top-5” lists at seasons end, and the events here are where the legends of Elk Track & Field are made.  Only our top 2 athletes are allowed to compete in the district meet and the top 4 in each event will advance to the Regional and State meets.

Invitational meets are held on Fridays & Saturdays, with some meets being local and some meets requiring travel. Centerville has been invited to many major national meets with meet administration occasionally assisting in travel costs for varsity athletes. Costs for these meets are minimal as we travel on commercial carrier and keep expenses to a minimum. Extensive information is given to all of our athletes in advance of each invitational, particularly if travel is involved. Each travel trip is supervised heavily and is conducted according to community standards.


Any time Centerville Track & Field leaves the school for competition, we all travel together and use school transportation or commercial carrier. Athletes travel together using the same mode of transportation and we use this as part of our ‘team time’ together. Athletes must travel with the team. If there is a situation where the athletes would need to leave with the family they must fill out the travel forms at school and have it turned in prior to the trip.

“The Body”


Track & Field rarely sees any ‘catastrophic’ or long-term injuries, but nagging pains and/or discomforts should always be reported to the coaching staff. Athletes will be able to avoid almost all injury by following the guidelines below:

1) Follow the training program set up for you by the coaching staff!
Athletes who alter or vary the training schedule are not trained in physiology, sport science, or training theory and undoubtedly will put themselves at risk! Each workout is designed to build upon the one that went before . . . alteration diminishes recovery or prevents continued improvement!
2.) Wear proper footgear and monitor it closely!
There is no excuse for bad shoes on this team. If you were cheerleading, playing in the band, or participating in another varsity sport, you would be required to spend a lot more . . . keep an eye on the condition of your shoes (about every 200 to 300 miles)!
3.) Report any injury to the coaching staff!
Generally, low-grade and transient pain is not a problem unless it continues past a few days. Any clicking, popping, or snapping noise should be evaluated by a trained professional. Alert the coaches and then follow through immediately with medical treatment.
4.) Seek medical help promptly!
Athletes are never held responsible for training injuries . . . but they certainly ARE responsible for the delays they continually cause in seeking adequate treatment! As a high-performance athlete on one of the state’s top teams, you are expected to immediately get to a doctor for evaluation as soon as you are sent there by the coaching staff. Delays in getting treatment only prolong the injury and prevent you from being able to improve.

Colds/Flu and Their Avoidance

Contemporary studies with elite athletes (Western States 100m Competitors and Hawaii Kona Ironman Competitors) have shown the following are most important in avoiding colds/flus, especially in public places.

  • Athletes MUST get to bed within 15 minutes of the same time every night!! This is the single most important element to cold avoidance and results in a 400% decrease in the frequency of upper-respiratory tract infection. Total hours of sleep and/or time the athlete gets up are statistically insignificant . . . but WHEN THEY GO TO BED is most important!!! Athletes should avoid talking on the phone during the last 20 minutes before they go to sleep.
  • Athletes should stay hydrated throughout the day. Take a water bottle as one of the most contaminated places in the school are the drinking fountains
  • 4-5 servings of red meat per week.
  • Complex carbs are eaten within 30 minutes of a hard workout

(bananas, Power Bars, almonds, crackers)

  • Hydrate with 20 ounces of Gatorade within 30 minutes of a hard workout.
  • Eat 4-5 smaller meals throughout the day. Don’t skip breakfast.
  • Eat a balanced group of food. Do not overeat on one thing.
  • Supplement ONLY with a standard multivitamin, and only after a doctor’s OK.
  • Proper nutrition is secondary to nothing when avoiding colds/flu.


We train on a ‘hard-easy’ schedule (making each workout all that much more important!!!) and use elements of the African training model in order to structure daily workout capacities as well as a year-long plan of cycles. These cycles build, one on the other, for a full-year program designed to promote ability in the athlete with a minimal risk of injury, throughout the high school career until ready for college.

For parents, the ramifications are simple. We strongly encourage (require) each athlete to attend practice on a daily basis in order to continue progress and reduce the risk of injury. The program available to your son is not ‘haphazard’ as many sports programs in high school but is designed to provide the most intensive development with the least amount of training time. Workouts are generally brief and allow athletes tremendous time to accomplish other aspects of their lives with proper time management (the true heart of the “track takes too much time” problem). Our athletes will spend less time in training than virtually every other sports and extracurricular activity.


Running alone does an excellent job of preparing an athlete to race, but the superior athlete incorporates strength training in order to supplement the aerobic stamina he gets from running. Our weight workouts are designed to gain strength each day. The cycle system we use is proven to build useable strength levels for track and field. The key like everything else is to be consistent. Weights develop the musculature in addition to the cardiovascular work of running and help the athlete maintain speed in the closing stages of a race.

Rest & Recovery

Elk Track & Field trains using the ‘hard-easy’ system where one hard workout is followed by an easy one. This allows the athlete to recover and be able to challenge himself at the next workout. Workouts apply stress to the body that forces the body to adapt. This training effect is what helps the athlete become faster.

Parents are specifically responsible for most of the recovery and rest an athlete receives. After the stresses of a workout are applied, the athlete goes home, eats balanced meals, hydrates well, and then gets adequate rest (usually 8-9 hours per night). This ‘retraining’ period, specifically supervised by parents, is by far the most critical aspect of a high school runner’s physical program. Please encourage your son to follow parental and team guidelines about rest and recovery.

Supplemental Training

We encourage our athletes to supplement their weights and running with a series of “core” exercises each day. Our “core” will be done at the start of each day’s afternoon practice.

The “Bottom Line”

Parents and athletes sometimes can baffle a coaching staff. The track & field program is charged with continuing opportunities for regional, state, and national excellence, but at times, we see every other distraction possible interfering with training, many times with the full sanction of parents.

Specifically, workouts are designed and sequenced in a specific order so as to cause maximum adaptation of the body through training. A training ‘stream’ exists from day-to-day . . . once a runner leaves that training ‘stream’ for distractions that may be handled during other times, it is impossible to recreate that workout and ‘catch-up’. Running at a championship level has no compromise physically. It is hard to believe that athletes on a state power team can miss 50% or more of winter training while dancers on our drill team are not allowed to miss even one!!! Parents . . . in the real world your sons will need to be responsible . . . to their church, family, and jobs, but most of all, they must honor their commitments. Help them to see that. Karate parents and dance team parents pay $2000 - $4000 per year but make SURE their kids get to practice. If we charge you an additional handling fee, will you make sure also?



  Centerville School District eligibility requires a student-athlete to have a minimum 1.5 GPA (out of 4.0 possible) with no more than one failing grade in the quarter immediately preceding the competitive season (must pass 5 classes- pe not included). However, most parents, and the coaching staff, are interested in grades much higher than the minimum. In fact, running and the dedication that goes into it go along quite nicely with super grades. Our team routinely averages over 3.0 out of 4.0.

Coaches will take an active role in the grades of each athlete and we also support individual parental monitoring of the grades. Centerville’s new ‘Pinnacle’ system allows daily monitoring of attendance and scores. Many of the scholarship opportunities our students receive are at least in part due to their superior academic work, so we strongly encourage athletes and parents to set academics as a first priority . . . with running second.

Physical Education Credit

The athlete must complete 90% of the season in good standing and

attend the end of season banquet to receive credit.

“Pirate Up”

Our theme for the 2012 season is Pirate Up. We will be using flag key chains and t-shirts as well as notes to class and meeting recognition to motivate the athletes to achieve at their highest levels. The important thing to remember is that every athlete will have a best mark at some point this season and it is our goal to have them reach it and reset it and reach it again. By using this theme we feel that we can maximize our efforts and achieve our season team and individual goals. I feel that Pirate Up is a great theme for this season as a pirate mindset is something that we want to use to teach the kids to come together and work as one. We graduated a lot of experience last season and many people are not sure what type of team we will have this season. I wanted this team to have an all for one type of mindset and felt that the idea to

“Pirate up” would be one where we can maximize our talents the best way possible.  


Matt Somerlot: 13th year as Head Coach- hurdles and sprints

Matt.somerlot@centerville.k12.oh.us Cell # 902-4889 School # 439-3551

Phillip Kirby: 7th year- jumps, physics teacher west unit @ chs

JJ Ramsey- 5th year- sprints and relays, assistant football coach, health teacher @ chs

Kevin Walsh- 3rd year, assistant distance & Head Cross Country coach

Zach Cline- 1st year- pole vault, math teacher east unit chs

Chris Perry- 1st year- throws, personal trainer & strong man competitor