Welcome to CTSA Sacramento

At CTSA Sacramento, we are dedicated to providing you with certified track starters to serve Middle and High School Track & Field and Cross Country meets within the Sac-Joaquin, North, and North Coast Sections. Our goal is to provide you with fair and equitable competitions for your schools, conferences, and leagues throughout these Sections covered by the California Track Starters Association.

Services Include: Starting of all Men’s and Women’s track/cross country races and relays according to NFHS Rules including Rule interpretations upon request.

Certified Track Starters

Our certified track starters are trained professionals who ensure the fair and efficient start of track and field events, providing a seamless experience for athletes and spectators.

Event Coordination

We offer event coordination services to help schools, conferences, and leagues organize and execute successful track and field meets, handling logistics and scheduling with precision.

Rule Adherence Supervision

Our team specializes in rule adherence supervision, ensuring that all competitions follow the regulations and guidelines for fair and safe track and field events.

requesting a certified starter

CTSA provides certified starters and referees for Middle and High School Track and Cross-Country Meets. Please contact us if you would like to have a starter for your meet.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can CTSA Sacramento benefit my track and field event?

CTSA Sacramento brings certified track starters who ensure the FAIR and EQUITABLE start of track and field events, enhancing the overall experience for athletes and spectators.

What sets CTSA Sacramento apart from other track starter services?

CTSA Sacramento stands out for its specialized focus on serving Middle and High School Track & Field meets, along with a commitment to professionalism and rule adherence supervision. We are certified by the California Interscholastic Federation through testing and hands on training on the rules of the National High School Federation.

How can I request the services of CTSA Sacramento for my school or league?

You can easily request the services of CTSA Sacramento starters by contacting us directly through our website. We are here to support your school or league with our expertise as a starter and referee.


You can contact Mike Brown, CTSA Sacramento Board Member, at mrbrowncds1113@gmail.com to ask what is involved in becoming a certified starter for Cross Country and Track & Field.

How can I find a Fully Automatic Timing crew to help with timing and making my meet more efficiently run?

Some schools may have their own system to time a meet. However, if you do not have the capability to time your own meets, there are several timers in our area that you can contact and request their services. We can highly recommend the following automatic timing services:

Craig Wilson, Red Cap Timing at https://redcaptiming.com/ 

Alex Mansoor, Mansoor Timing at https://ca.milesplit.com/timing/1409/mansoor-timing 

Lynn Mentzner, Mentzner Timing at https://live.mentzertiming.com/ 

David Unterholtzner, Bella Vista Timing at https://bvtrack.com

Aaron Ford, Ford Timing at https://www.fordtiming.us/ 

Tony Rodriguez, Caltiming at ricardo@caltiming.com

http://highspeedtiming.com/  Quick Lizard Timing 925-413-8433

Diablo Timing  shannon@diablotiming.com    

Aliya Dibrell  https://www.adkinstrakwest.com/

Patrick Williams, Sacramento Track and Field Timing Academy, LLC  sactfacademy@gmail.com   916.717.5305

Work With Legendary CTSA Starter Chuck Buettner.

CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Championship

Melody Karpinski Nov 05, 2022

Becoming a track official wasn't originally in Chuck Buettner's life plan.

Long jump was his thing. He set the Stagg High School (SJ) record in 1964, and earned a bid to the CIF Track & Field Championships the same year. He went on to compete at Delta College and from there, Sacramento State. 

It was at Sacramento State where during an Olympic Development track meet he broke his back and long jumping was over. Just two weeks later, he served as a long jump official despite being in a back brace. 

Since that fateful year, Buettner has never stopped officiating or starting. The starter of the Sac-Joaquin Section Cross Country Championships for the past 32 years, Buettner has started thousands of other meets from small dual meets to the CIF Track & Field Championships for the past 51 years. It's a profession in the sport that is underpaid and under-acknowledged, but Buettner doesn't mind. 

His first paycheck? A turkey. 

"I got paid in turkey," said Buettner with a laugh. 

The track & field coach at Sacramento High School where Buettner was student teaching didn't want to pay anything for a starter for a dual meet, so he called Buettner up and asked him to start. At the end of the meet, he offered Buettner a whole turkey.

"I took it into the cafeteria ladies afterwards and said 'can you roast this for me?' They said, 'yes, it will be ready by lunch tomorrow,'" said Buettner. "At lunch the next day, I took it into the office of the men's P.E. department and I said 'Gentlemen -- have at it!'"

Buettner is a longtime member of the California Track Starters Association (CTSA), which contains multiple chapters in key hub spots like San Diego, Los Angeles and Sacramento. Buettner remains heavily involved in the Sacramento chapter.

"He took me under his wing as a mentor, he's been a very valuable asset in my officiating career," said John Busto, a fellow starter and member of the Sacramento branch of the CTSA. "He's like that for anyone wanting to try or learn officiating. Especially if you want to become a starter."

For his lifetime achievements in officiating and starting, Buettner was inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Section's Hall of Fame this past October. It follows previous awards he received - an induction into the Stockton Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009, the USATF George Newlon Memorial Award in 2018 and the Girls Track and Field Starter of the Year by the National High School Officials Association in 1998. 

"He is one of the best and most appreciated starters in the Sac-Joaquin Section," said Craig Wilson of Red Cap Timing. 

Yet when asked what his favorite meet to start is, Buettner doesn't hesitate. 

"No doubt, - the Special Olympics," he said. "I've been doing the Special Olympics for at least 20 years now, and it's how happy the athletes are just to participate."

Buettner loves seeing the Special Olympics athletes return often to continue competing and finding him in between races to say hello, even decades later. 

"I had a gal come up to me with Down Syndrome and she might be 45 years old now," said Buettner. "I said 'you're still around?' - she wasn't even supposed to live that long and she comes back every year and it just warms your heart. That's what it's all about." 

Even before he began starting, Buettner was coaching in his hometown. 

"Believe it or not I was coaching at the middle school level when I was in high school - when I was a long jumper in high school at Stagg and went to State in 1964," said Buettner. "After (Stagg) practice was over for me I went over to Webster Junior High (his alma mater) and coached long jump."


Buettner served as a P.E. teacher for 36 years in several different Stockton-area schools after graduating with his bachelors and teaching credential at Sacramento State in 1968 and 1969, respectively. 

"My best friend's dad was a P.E. teacher, and he showed us how to shoot the bow and arrow after school," said Buettner. "Everything I did from that point on was to become a P.E. teacher." 

Coaching went hand in hand with his teaching, and he began assistant coaching track & field at Sacramento High School in 1967. From there, he went on to teach at Hamilton Junior High School where he served as a teacher and the track & field coach for many years. 

"Hamilton was everything but white (demographically)," said Buettner. "It was rare that I had more than three white kids in a class."

His team was skeptical of the white guy coaching them, he says. At the beginning of the season, he told one of his athletes -- Patro Lagula -- that he would break the county record in the 330-yard hurdles. Lagula sniffed and threatened to quit the team. At the end of the season at Hamilton's championship meet, Lagula broke the record. On the bus ride home, the bus suddenly came to a stop. 

"It was Patro," said Buettner. "He stopped the bus and said 'Mr. Buettner, I need to say something.' I got worried something was wrong." 

Lagula stood up and looked at his teammates. "From now on, we're not calling you Mr. Buettner anymore. You are our coach now. We'll call you coach." 

"I still get goosebumps when I talk about it," said Buettner. "A few decades later, I had lunch with Jim White (the longtime coach at McFarland HS) and told him the story. He was like, 'Chuck, have you not seen my movie?' The same thing happened to me.'"


Mentorship is important to Buettner. His own mentor was Tom Moore, a record-setting hurdler for Cal who spent decades championing track & field in the Bay Area and of course -starting meets. 

"We were driving somewhere to start a meet and Tom didn't look well, turns out he had the flu," said Buettner. "I said, 'Tom, you need to turn around,' and he said 'no, I told them I'd be there.' That stuck with me."

Moore was too sick to start the meet, so Buettner took over and Moore served as the recall starter -- laying on his side on the field and taking breaks to get sick in the bathroom. 

"They came from all over to start under his gun," said Buettner. "And then I ended up doing all the starting that day." 

The lessons he learned from Moore were simple, but timeless. Try to be perfect every time, you won't be -- but try. Be fair. Go by the book and by the rules. Get business taken care of. Stay on time. 

"The challenge is always getting it right," said Buettner.  "Making sure that everybody got a fair start or a fair chance to compete -- that's what Moore taught me. Every time you're a starter, meet referee or a field event judge, how can you be fair? Not more than fair, just fair for the person who is competing in that moment." 

Buettner enjoys passing on his own and Moore's knowledge to young and upcoming starters.

"I have to make room for the young ones coming up, it's not easy," said Buettner. "I've been trying to get kids fresh out of college to come learn how to start. The kids think they're going to start right away, but I say no think about it -- get an idea of what it's like. I don't want you to make a commitment until your life allows you to."

He's open, welcoming and interactive, says Busto, noting Buettner will take the time out to do clinics and let others shadow him at meets. "He's very giving in that way," said Busto.   

"I really attest to a lot of my officiating practices based on how he has trained and mentored," said Busto. "He highlights some of the smaller points that are not as obvious to the naked eye, and he really wants for anyone who he works with to be the most efficient official possible."

This year, Buettner will no longer be the lead starter for the SJS Cross Country Championships. He's stepping back so others can begin to take their place at the helm. He will still serve as the SJS meet referee and will be watching the line November 12.  

He might get paid more than a turkey.


Track & Field Links

Use these links to help you navigate to other helpful track and field sites.

High School Governing Bodies:

CIF State  https://www.cifstate.org/ 

CIF Sac Joaquin Section www.cifsjs.org 

NFHS  https://www.nfhs.org/ 

Online Registration Sites for Track and Cross Country:

Mile Split  https://www.milesplit.com/ 

Direct Athletics  https://www.directathletics.com/ 

Athletic.net  www.athletic.net

National and International Governing Body Links:

USA Track & Field  https://www.usatf.org/ 

USATF Pacific Association  https://www.pausatf.org/ 

World Athletics  https://worldathletics.org/ 

NCAA  https://www.ncaa.org/ 

Additional Links can be Found at:

Bella Vista Track  www.bvtrack.com 

Become a Certified USATF Starter/Official

Many of our Certified CTSA Starters are also Certified USA Track & Field Starters/Officials. If you are interested in becoming a Certified USATF Starter/Official please contact one of the following to get additional information: Phil Leake (PAUSATF President) pgal1@sbcglobal.net, Ajay Padgaonkar (PAUSATF Certifiacation Chair) certification@pacific.usatf.org, John Busto (CTSA Sacramento President) jbusto23@gmail.com,  Mike Brown (CTSA Sacramento Secretary/Certification Chair) mrbrowncds1113@gmail.com

“Working with CTSA Sacramento has been a game-changer for our track and field events. Their professionalism and expertise have elevated the overall experience for our athletes and spectators.”

— Sarah Johnson

Contact us

Get in touch with us to elevate your track and field meets with our certified track starters and event coordination services.


CTSA Sacramento
Sacramento, California, United States

About us

CTSA Sacramento is committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and fairness in track and field competitions. With a focus on serving Middle and High School Track & Field meets, we aim to contribute to the development and success of student-athletes in the Sac-Joaquin, North and North Coast Sections. Our team is passionate about creating an environment where athletes can showcase their talents and pursue excellence.