Fairfax Police Youth Club

Age Groupings

Age Groupings for Practice and Competitions


All age groups practice at the same time. Age groups are broken into the categories listed below.  If there are certain athletes in age groups that are strong runners for their age, they may be allowed to run with an older group to provide them with a workout more suited to their ability. By doing this, our coaching staff will be able to focus on a group of similar athletes, making for a more productive workout for all. **To join the team, athletes must be 5 years old at the start of the season. For track and field, that would be turning 5 by early March. For cross country, that would be turning 5 by end of August/beginning of September. Check the schedule for season start date. 


At track and field meets, particularly with shorter distance events, every effort within reason will be made to have participants compete with their peers. Depending on what club or organization is hosting and organizing the meet, groupings may be done in different ways. In some races, it will be done by age group (for example, age 6 and under boys, age 6 and under girls, age 7 and 8 boys, age 7 and 8 girls, etc.) Some times it is done by grade level (for example, K and under boys and girls, grade 1 and 2 boys and girls, etc.) When it is possible and makes sense, boys and girls will run sprints in separate heats or races.


This is not as easy as you might think. There are two general approaches to defining the age, and thus the age category, for competitors. The first is "age on race day." Following this method, if a runner is 8 years old on the day of the meet, and she will not celebrate her ninth birthday until the following day, she would run and be scored with the 7 and 8 year old girls. The other approach is grouping by "age at the end of the calendar year." In this case, the same girl would be considered age 9, because she will reach her ninth birthday on or before December 31 of that year. Thus, she would be in the 9 and 10 year old age group. In fairness, a 10 year-old would be similarly aged up out of the age 9-10's and into the next age group.

Often in selecting runners for heats, however, efficiency trumps strict adherence to age, grade, or gender groups. For example, if the 7 and 8 year old girls have been placed in groups of six (most high school tracks are six lanes), and there are 2 remaining girls at the end, it would not be uncommon to merge the heat with a few 7 and 8 year old boys or bring down a few nine year old girls from the next succeeding (9 and 10 years) age category. This is done to reduce the number of total heats and make the meet run much faster.

At longer distance track races, track field events, and cross country races, there is even less likely to be age group separation for competition. The track, pit, or cross country course can accommodate more participants simultaneously, so groupings that span age and gender are fairly standard.


At our competitions, we do not keep composite team scores - but many races and meets distribute individual ribbons and other awards to competitors. Again, this is up to the host. Sometimes, they are based on place in heat (for example, if our same young lady placed fourth in the second heat of the girls age 7 and 8 200-meter dash, she might get a fourth place ribbon), and other times they are based on overall place in the age group (her fourth place heat finish might have been the 8th overall fastest time, when all 7 and 8 year old girls from all heats are considered). For scoring purposes, a runner typically will not be competing for place with older runners, even if they are in the same race. Please recognize, though, that procedures and practices can vary widely, again depending on the preference of the meet host.


Our team records are all based on "age on race day." So even if the meet organizers consider a competitor to be 9 years old for their scoring and awards because they are using the age up method followed by AAU and USATF that calculates that the athlete will be 9 years old prior to the end of the year, the athlete will still be considered, for our club purposes, to be an 8 year old on that day and the performance would be judged against those marks or times in the 7 and 8 year old category for the athlete's gender.

Examples of Age Groups and Competition Ages

The generally accepted standard age groupings are:

By Age
By Grade
By Birth Year
Age 5 and6 
Grade K and Under
Born in 2017 and 2016
Ages 7 and 8
Grades 1 and 2
Born in 2015 and 2014
Ages 9 and 10
Grades 3 and 4
Born in 2013 and 2012
Ages 11 and 12
Grades 5 and 6

 Born in 2011 and 2010

Ages 13 and 14
Grades 7 and 8
Born in 2009 and 2008
Ages 15 and 16
Grades 9 and 10
Born in 2007 and 2006
Ages 17 and 18
Grades 11 and 12
Born in 2005 and 2004



The organizing body of all things running in the United States is USA Track and Field (USATF). Use the below link to find the official age categories. Notice that their lowest official category is a more catch-all, "8 and under" group. USATF does not acknowledge a "6 and Under” age group). USATF uses these classifications for all youth events that it sanctions, such as the Junior Olympic program. Please see USATF link on age divisions: usatf.org/groups/Youth/ageDivisions.asp