General Information

Friday, June 14 2019

Cal Grizzlies Running Club

We compete in both Track (March 11 to July 31) & Cross-Country (Aug 15 to Dec 10)!  



(1) Please do not phone me, but instead Email me at: 

(After you email me I will send you our practice schedule plus other important information. After receiving this information, if you want to join our club, then please proceed with steps 2, 3, & 4 below.)  

(2) Register your child as a California Grizzlies (# W376WF with AAU (see below). 

(3) Register your child as a California Grizzlies (# 8877) with USATF (see below).    

(4) Come to one of our practices & pay the team membership fee, & give me a PRINT OUT ("hard copy") of your AAU card & USATF card stapled together. 

That's it — you are now an official member of the California Grizzlies!  



We Have 4 Training Groups & Each Group Runs 3 Times Each Week  

(A) Pleasanton 

(B) Castro Valley 

(C) Fremont

(D) San Jose-Sunnyvale-Palo Alto 

RAIN or SHINE! Practices & races are NEVER canceled because of rain!  



2023 TRACK & FIELD: The track season runs from March 11th to July 31st, & the team fee is $350. But the team fee is only $300 for all those who come to their very 1st track practice (whenever that may be) of 2023 with a PRINT OUT ("hard copy") of their child's AAU card & USATF card stapled together, along with the $300 fee. Otherwise, the team fee is $350. 

2023 CROSS-COUNTRY: The X-C season runs from August 15th to December 10th, & the team fee is $250. But the team fee is only $200 for all those who come to their very 1st cross-country practice (whenever that may be) of 2023 with a PRINT OUT ("hard copy") of their child's AAU card & USATF card stapled together, along with the $200 fee. Otherwise, the team fee is $250. 



You MUST wear team jersey AND team shorts at ALL races & meets!  


2023 Spring & Summer Race Schedule  

TRACK MEETS — There are RACES EVERY WEEK throughout the Bay Area (most are listed here). 

Sat, MARCH 11 = Contra Costa County 

Sun, MARCH 19 = San Joaquin County 

Fri & Sat, MARCH 31–APRIL 1 = Santa Clara County

Sat, APRIL 8 = San Joaquin County   

Sat, APRIL 15 = Alameda County 

Sat, APRIL 22 = Alameda County 

** Sat, APRIL 29 = 4-Mile Road Race! = Santa Clara County  

Sat & Sun, MAY 6-7 = Contra Costa County

Sat & Sun, MAY 20-21 = Alameda County 

Sat & Sun, MAY 27-28 = Location To Be Determined  

Sat & Sun, JUNE 3-4 = Invitational (Sacramento County)  

*** Sat & Sun, JUNE 10-11 = USATF Assoc. Championships = Contra Costa County 

Wed, JUNE 14 = Brooks Invitational (In the state of Washington)

 **** Thur & Fri, JUNE 15-16 = NIKE Nationals (OREGON!!!)  

Sat, JUNE 17 = Monterey County 

Sat, JUNE 17 = Championship Meet for those born in 2015 & 2016 = Contra Costa County 

** June 24-25? or July 1-2? = AAU Reg. Championships = Modesto County     

*** Thur-Sun, JULY 6-9 = USATF Regional Championships = Fresno County    

Sat & Sun, JULY 15-16 = Location To Be Determined   

Fri, JULY 21 = All-Comers Meet? = Santa Clara County 

Sat, JULY 22 = All-Comers Meet? = Santa Clara County   

***** Wed-Sun, JULY 26-30 = USATF Junior Olympic Nationals — OREGON!!!  

*** Tue-Sat, AUGUST 1-5 = AAU National T&F Championships — Iowa    


2023 Fall Cross-Country Race Schedule

X-C MEETS — There are RACES EVERY WEEK throughout the Bay Area (but most are NOT listed here).  

September = 4K Road Race (Alameda County) 

October = Mt. SAC Invitational MS 2-Mile X-C Race (S. Cal.)  

October = Invitational 6K X-C Race (Santa Clara County) 

November = Walnut — Footlocker Western USA X-C Championships 

November = USATF Association X-C Championships 

November = USATF Regional X-C Championships 

December = AAU National X-C Championships

December = USATF National X-C Championships 


 California Grizzlies J.O. Running Club

I am a retired public school teacher who has been involved with cross-country and track & field for the last 59 years (since I was 8 years old). Many of my runners have qualified and run in the National Championships. Several boys & girls have made All-American (top 25 in the USA in cross-country and top 8 in track) while 3 runners (Yong-Sung Leal, Chris Dominic, & Ava Padilla) won the Nationals. Yong-Sung & Chris also set National Records as the fastest runners ever in the history of the USA. One runner even raced in the World Championships (in Ireland) when he was only in 11th grade as part of America’s National Under 20 Cross-Country team. I have also coached a California High School State Champion on three different occasions and a 3rd place finisher twice. Altogether, my runners have won 12 national championships and 3 California HS state championships, as well as set 5 NATIONAL age group records. These records and national titles were set in the 800, 1500. 3000, and 5000. And in 2018 nearly 90% of the members of the California Grizzlies Running Club qualified & ran in the USA Junior Olympics Cross-Country NATIONAL Championships.    

{National Records: }

Also, in 2019, we had the best 4th/5th grade cross-country team in California & Nevada (as well as one of the top teams in the nation). Finally, in December of 2019, two of our 5th graders (Gabe Heule & Shaun Mathew) set WORLD records in the 4-mile run. Shaun set the world record for 10-year olds with a time of 25:17 (6:19 per mile) while Gabe set the world record for 11-year olds with a time of 23:58 (5:59 per mile!). 

3-Time California HS State Champion and National Champion & National Record Holder Yong-Sung Leal, after being informed of Gabe & Shaun's 4-mile world records, replied: "This is great news! Wow—very impressive times. This is so great that you are still finding kids to coach. Honestly, running was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I take the same discipline that I learned from you and running and I apply those principles to other aspects of my life. I became the person I am with your guidance and from the greatest sport in the world. So glad that these two kids will learn about goal setting and hard work.... Thanks again for keeping in touch with me and even more thanks for your love and guidance growing up through running. God Bless you, coach. Amen!"    

Link to newspaper article:                                                                     

And now in the spring of 2022, two more world records have been set by California Grizzly runners in the 4-mile. Sixth grader Ava Padilla ran under 26 minutes (averaging about 6:18 per mile for the 4-mile course) to break the world record for 12-year old girls. And seventh grader Gabriel Heule set another world record as he finished the 4-mile course under 23 minutes (averaging about 5:33 per mile) to set a new world record for 13-year old males. Yong-Sung Leal (who has the American High School 5,000 meter record for 10th graders (14:27; 4:38 per mile average for over 3 miles) stated: "Congrats Coach! This is amazing. You’re the best at what you do for these kids. It’s because of you that I was able to accomplish so much with running." UPDATE: Ava ran 4 miles in 23:32 on Oct. 2, 2022 to lower her 12-year old world record by about 2 minutes!!! And teammate Charlene Evangelista also broke the 12-year old world record by finishing slightly behind Ava in 23:41!!! Both of them not only broke the girl's 12-year old world record, but they also broke the girl's 13-year old, 14-year old, & 15-year old world records!!! Plus, they broke the BOYS 12-year old world record as well!!!    

Link to TV coverage of 4-mile race announcing the new world records:

Link to World Records: 

And now in the summer of 2022, the USATF Junior Olympics National Championships concluded this past weekend. And incredibly, Ava Padilla won not just one event but all three events that she competed in! She won the 800, 1500, & the 3000. And her fellow teammate & friend Charlene Evangelista came in 2nd place in the 3000 (just a 1/2 second behind Ava)! And both Ava & Charlene were a whooping 19 seconds ahead of their nearest competitor (the 3rd place finisher)!!!  

To win a national championship is BIG. But to win 3 national championship races is ENORMOUS & rarely ever happens in national track competition. The last time that I remember someone winning all 3 of these particular events was way back in 1998. And that was a boy (Chris Dominic). I can't recall a single time that a girl ever achieved such an INCREDIBLE feat.  

Ava & Charlene started off this miraculous weekend at the 2022 Junior Olympics T&F National Championships by first racing in the 3000 meter race early on Saturday morning. But at the end of the race it was Ava coming across 1st in an unbelievable time of 10:25 (11:06 for 2-miles) as she ran 42 seconds faster than her previous USATF race only five weeks earlier to claim her first ever national crown! And Charlene also finished in 10:25 as she was only a half second behind Ava to finish in second place. Charlene's time was about 80 seconds faster than her previous USATF race!! 

Ava then ran in the 800 meter final later on Saturday. And she didn't disappoint as she came away with another national crown while crossing the finish line in an astonishing time of 2:16 (a full 12 seconds faster than she ran in her previous USATF meet) and only 3 seconds off the national record for her age group! 

But the big question that everyone was asking themselves as the competition resumed on Sunday morning — was — could Ava do it again in the 1500? And sure enough she did! Ava finished in a stunning  time of 4:48 (5:07 mile) while beating her previous USATF time by a mind-boggling 19 seconds!!!" 

Here is an article that talks about Ava and Charlene:

Here is the 3000 Video:

800 Video:

1500 Video:


2022 CROSS-COUNTRY — We had the BEST cross-country team (11-12 year old girls division) in all of Northern California, Central California, Nevada, and the rest of the northwestern USA. We placed 1st in the Association Championships, 1st in the Regional Championships, & 4th in the National Championships!


January, 2023 — I was selected by Positive Coaching Alliance as one of the top 25 coaches in the nation for 2022!    



This running club is *primarily for boys & girls from 7 years old to 15 years old who want to become the best runner that they possibly can. All runners should try their best to attend AT LEAST 2 races each month and 2 practices each week. And please try your best NOT to plan any extended vacations (of more than 2 or 3 days) in close proximity to our championship meets. Most of our championship track meets are in June & July (so the best time to plan a summer vacation would be in August). And most of our championship cross-country meets are from the middle of November to about December 11th (so the best time to take a fall/winter vacation would be anytime after December 11th)

* HIGH SCHOOL runners can also join the California Grizzlies Running Club. 

* ADULTS can also join our running club. 



Team Shorts = $20          

Team Jersey = $30 

I Sell Excellent Running Shoes For Kids (size 5 only) = $65

I Sell The Best Running Shoes On the Planet (size 3 & up) = $125 (these shoes normally sell for $305!) 



Group 1 — Born in 2015 or 2016 (or younger) = 2K  (1.25 Miles) 

Group 2 — Born in 2013 or 2014 = 3K  (1.8 Miles) 

Group 3 — Born in 2011 or 2012 = 3K  (1.8 Miles) 

Group 4 — Born in 2009 or 2010 = 4K  (2.5 Miles) 

Group 5 — Born in 2005 – 2008 = 5K  (3.1 Miles) 

* At the National Meet there is an additional age division:

Born in 2017 or 2018 = 1K (0.62 Miles) 



Everyone must have a team jersey & team shorts. 

Running Shoes — Everyone should have a good pair of running shoes.    

*You must wear team jersey, shorts, & running shoes at ALL races.   


If interested in joining our club, please email me at:  



----- Membership runs from September 1st to August 31st and costs $16. ----- 

Click on this link to get started (and then follow the instructions below):


Sign your child up as an “ATHLETE” (NOT as a non-athlete)

               WHAT TYPE OF MEMBERSHIP? 

PROGRAM = Youth Program (NOT Adult program)

SPORT = Track and Field (X-Country; Multi-Events) 

COVERAGE = Extended (AB)!   [Do NOT get “Regular” coverage!!!] 

Are you a member of a Club? Click YES, then select “CALIFORNIA GRIZZLIES” 

California Grizzlies Club Number:  W376WF           

(Membership runs from Sept 1 to Aug. 31) 

Now complete the membership application!

FINALLY, once you get your child’s Membership Card, print out 2 copies. Give 1 copy to Coach Mike Exton and keep the other copy of the Membership Card & bring to every meet (you may want to keep it in your car at all times) along with a copy of your child's birth certificate.   



----- Membership runs from January 1st to December 31st and costs $25. ----- 

STEP 1 — Register as a member of USATF.   


When signing up to become a member of USATF online, register as part of the "California Grizzlies" team. Then on the application it will say “Club Number.” Type in our club number — 8877. You will now be a California Grizzlies member of USATF. Membership runs from January 1st to December 31st.   

After you get your USATF membership number, immediately have your Birth Certificate verified. 



Members are required to upload/submit their birthdate verification documents while completing their membership profile on the USATF Connect system. 



Documents submitted for birthdate verification will be processed within five (5) business days of submission (excluding holidays). It is the responsibility of the registrant to assure submission in a timely manner to meet entry deadlines.



Birthdate verification documents must be uploaded through USATF ConnectIf you are experiencing trouble uploading these documents, please contact the USATF National Office for assistance. Be advised that birthdate verification documents will not be accepted or uploaded by the National Office. Procedures for uploading these documents in the USATF Connect system must be adhered to and there will be no exceptions. Documents sent to the National Office will be returned and the verification will not be processed.
If a document is illegible it will be invalidated and will not be processed. Invalidated documents will not result in an extension of the submission deadline. No extension will be granted for invalidated documents that require re-submission. The processing period will remain in effect. Birthdate verification documents will remain a permanent part of the member profile and will not require re-submission. 


“HOW TO” VIDEO —  Explains how to verify Birth Certificate: 


 STEP 3 — Bring your child's USATF membership number with you to EVERY meet (along with a copy of your child's birth certificate).      


Additional Information for USATF Junior Olympics:  

Contact Information for USATF Junior Olympics: 



What's the difference between cross-country and track & field? 
For one thing, T&F involves about 15 different events, but Cross-Country only has ONE event — a long-distance race.
Secondly, track races take place on a track. But X-C races do NOT take place on a track — instead they take place in parks on grass, dirt, asphalt, hills, valleys, etc. 
Thirdly, track meets usually take place on Saturdays or Sundays, while almost all of our cross-country races take place on Sundays. 
Fourth, track involves individual competition, but X-C involves not just individual competition but TEAM competition as well. Our team will be competing against many other teams at most of our X-C races. How does the scoring work? If a runner comes in 1st place, he (or she) earns 1 point for their team. A runner that comes in 2nd place earns 2 points for their team. The first 5 runners of each team are then added up and the team with the LEAST amount of points wins (just like in the game of golf). Team scoring makes cross-country competition very exciting! We will be trying to have the best team in northern California as well as the country! 
Fifth, it's MUCH EASIER to qualify for the National Junior Olympic Championships in cross-country than it is for track. To qualify and to compete in the Nationals for track is very difficult, as very few people make it that far. But in cross-country it is much easier, and many people on our team usually qualify & run in the Nationals each year. In 2019 almost 90% of the runners on our team qualified and ran at the national cross-country championships.  
Sixth, in X-C there is only ONE race, but the distance of the race varies depending on the age of the runner. The older the runner, the further the race distance, the younger the runner, the shorter the race distance. And of course the boys only race against other boys, and the girls only race against other girls.
Seventh, X-C is in the fall and goes from August 15th to December 10th (while track goes from Feb 1st to July 31st). 
Eighth, are our practices any different? NO, our practices are pretty much the SAME for both TRACK and X-C.




Please talk to me before you buy running shoes for your child. 



The shoes that I sell are the BEST racing shoes on the planet today! 



HANDICAP RACES:  In a Handicap Race the slowest runner starts 1st, the fastest runner starts last, and everyone else starts someone between the slowest runner and the fastest runner. For example, if there are 2 runners in a 2-mile handicap race, and runner A's best 2-mile time is 10:00, and runner B's best 2-mile time is 11:00, then runner B would start 1:00 minute before runner A.