Changes in Qualifying for State Cross Country Meet passes 1st of 2 votes to make official

The Virginia High School League Executive Committee (first vote-will take a second vote later this year) voted to change Cross Country state qualifiers. Five instead of four teams would qualify from the Region to the State. And the first 10 (not 15) individuals (not on advancing teams) will qualify. This will allow one more team and potentially more individuals to qualify to the state. It passed 17-9. It will be discussed and voted on in May.

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  • toolcircle / 3 Years Ago
    WOW! That's a huge change. At the Region IV meet this year, there was only 1 male who was not on a qualifying team that finished in the top 15 and qualified individually.

    Conceivably, you could have some kids finish outside the top 25 and still go to states.
  • gthcarolina / 3 Years Ago
    So, the top 10 NOT on qualifying teams advance? In theory, that could be individuals #36-45. Am I reading that right? Or does the new rule increase the number of teams but make it HARDER for a lone individual from a weaker team?
  • RileyBrady / 3 Years Ago
    Looks to be as if the next ten individuals that aren't apart of those 5 teams that advanced make it through. As in, anybody who is apart of one of those 5 teams is exempt from the count. The 2nd, 5th, 8th, 12th etc. individuals could be pushed through, so long as they didn't make it as a team.
  • MileStat / 3 Years Ago
    @gthcarolina

    Top 10 individual finishers not on the top 5 advancing teams at the regional meet will qualify for the state meet with this new format.
  • markbatzel / 3 Years Ago
    Just curious... what's the reason for changing the qualifying procedures?
  • ramblinman55 / 3 Years Ago
    getting a hotel for state just got a little harder, but i'm thankful and hoping it does get passed
  • 85viking / 3 Years Ago
    From an individual participants perspective the change identifies and advances competitors that are actually individuals not competing for a qualified team. In most regions under the current rule you sometimes end up with only 5-6 individuals actually advancing. This way the number is set. 'All Region' and 'state qualifier' don't have to be one in the same.

    Team-wise I think it is making an effort to adjust based on extremely strong regions that are located in parts of the state. AA Region II and AAA Northern Region come to mind.

    markbatzel
    Just curious... what's the reason for changing the qualifying procedures?


    @markbatzel
  • TruRunner2 / 3 Years Ago
    Ramblinman55 has the answer to the question !! Its all about money ! Now if up another 10 kids per region get in, that could mean 40 more kids at the state meet. That mean more hotel rooms, more money on food, that means 40 more parents, aunts, uncles, etc.... more money. The funny thing all these schools are complaining about budgets and cost and then vote a way to spend more money on a sport that is "non" revenue.
    I think is a bad vote, because it doesn't mean the competition level will increase, it just means the numbers will. That means in Region IV that the 41st place 23:28 girl now is all region and get to go to states ! I'm sure that would be the case in a-lot of districts. They are going to ruin cross country just like they have basketball, next we will have divisions and 6 state champions !
  • PrideXC / 3 Years Ago
    I'm curious if this is truly about amking it a bit easier to get out of one of the tougher regions or not though. If it is, there has to be a better way....It seems to me that even though they are letting more people in, the problems still stay the same. You have runners sitting at home that are hands down faster than others who qualified simply based upon the regions.....Some interesting results from last year had the rule been in place....

    Region I girls last individual finisher (10th)- 22:24
    Region I girls 5th place team avg.- 22:21

    Region II girls last individual finisher (10th)-20:56
    Region II girls 5th place team avg.- 21:06

    Region III girls last individual finisher (10th)-20:52
    Region III girls 5th place team avg.- 21:08

    Region IV girls last individual finisher (10th)-23:28
    Region IV girls 5th place team avg.- 22:17


    Don't get me wrong...I'll take the new rules happily as we are a region II team, but I'm not sure it makes sense how they went about it...I'd be curious to see what the discrepencies are in the other state divisions with new rulings... I feel like there should be a way to reward regions who have high team/individual finishes in the previous years state meet. Thoughts?
  • jbbrown14 / 3 Years Ago
    2 cents worth.

    Cent 1 A runner that finishes 41st and qualifies for states is not all region. The top 15 are all region. She is just a runner from a non qualifying school that is going to states. Other runners on a qualifing team will go to states with a slower time.

    Cent 2 Still hard to compare times of cross country courses to say this runner deserves to go because he/she ran faster than a runner from another region that is going. I do like the suggestion of looking at prior years and having a extra team, individuals for some regions. But then this is administrative work.
  • RothRE / 3 Years Ago
    Your thoughts on the situtation are probably influenced by your position. If you come from an area that has an extremely strong program and have worked hard to keep your position, it might seem reasonable to restrict the number going to state. However, in my opinion the sport is strengthened by anything that gets more kids running and goal-focused. If you are from a rural area with small numbers on your team or the skill level fluctuates more, then you want any opportunity to get your runners going to state. Getting them to state creates more interest in the program and thus the skill level of the team. When you have a kid who places just outside the top ten or 15 but is still faster than a couple of dozen kids on the other qualifying teams, it doesn't feel just. I know this suggestion is absurd on several levels but why not just go with only teams qualifying or only the top 15-20 runners qualifying. If the argument is to improve competition in the actual race, then restrict the field. If the goal is development of the sport, maybe there is value in the concept of more is better...to a certain extent. I personally favor only 3 teams making it plus the top 15 not on one of those teams.
  • BearlyRunnin / 3 Years Ago
    Some thoughts and ponderings...

    * This is a similar approach to how teams and individuals qualify for NXN. Are there other states that use this method for determining individual qualifiers for their state meets?


    * There was talk recently of moving to five classifications within the state. Is it believed that this might work well within that structure should both change? The number of schools in each classification would be smaller than the current three tier set-up so you'd end up with a fairly decent percentage of the runners within the state qualifying for the state meet.


    * It would now be possible to have five runners from the same team advance without being able to score as a team. The Abingdon girls, for example, would've qualified 4 runners this past season with their fifth being the 11th individual. This isn't necessarily good or bad, just interesting.


    * Would the district level still operate as it currently does with the top 4 teams and top 15 finishers advancing to the regional meet?
  • fivekrunners / 3 Years Ago
    This is just going to water down the state meets and take away from the high level of competition there, especially in Group A and AA. The current system made it a more special for someone to qualify...someone who finishes in the high 20s in their region meets doesn't deserve to run at the state meet.
  • Runman56 / 3 Years Ago
    Lobbyists are winning this week with the VHSL meeting. First we wake up to hear that the proposal to permit year-round access by coaches to athletes PASSED. Each region's council can modify it but still this is a fundamental change with huge implications (that topic deserves its own thread in late spring). Second, we are seeing a poor response by the VHSL to real issues in this issue of # of teams moving on to the State XC Championships.

    Maryland's state athletic hierarchy does not do too many things anyone would consider progressive, but they do have a more equitable system for cross country teams earning berths at the MD State XC Meet. Each year, the results of prior years determines the number of teams that can earn spots from that region. Weak or lesser regions have fewer teams earning berths. The deeper or stronger regions earn more slots. A blanket increase in all regions is not the answer. Certainly, if they are willing to make a rule change they could consider a system similar to Maryland.

    The top 10 individuals not on 5 teams moving on to States: Just looking at last year's Northern Region XC results which is considered a deep region yields this result:

    BOYS: Last year 8 individuals NOT on the 4 teams moved on to States and 4 of them finished in the top 10 including the State Champion. Going to 10 individuals NOT on 5 teams would have the 22nd finisher going to States.

    GIRLS: Last year 7 individuals NOT on the 4 teams moved on with 2 of them earning top 5 State Finishes including the State runner-up. With 10 individuals NOT on 5 teams going to States, would have the 20th Region finisher moving on.
  • RothRE / 3 Years Ago
    Runman56
    The top 10 individuals not on 5 teams moving on to States: Just looking at last year's Northern Region XC results which is considered a deep region yields this result:

    BOYS: Last year 8 individuals NOT on the 4 teams moved on to States and 4 of them finished in the top 10 including the State Champion. Going to 10 individuals NOT on 5 teams would have the 22nd finisher going to States.

    GIRLS: Last year 7 individuals NOT on the 4 teams moved on with 2 of them earning top 5 State Finishes including the State runner-up. With 10 individuals NOT on 5 teams going to States, would have the 20th Region finisher moving on.


    @Runman56 These finding seem to support the idea that competition is increased with a model that has 4 teams and some number of individuals not on one of those teams. How do you propose how to define a strong region and how many teams they would be allocated? Would that be re-evaluated annually? Would this be the model for the largest and the smallest schools?
  • fivekrunners / 3 Years Ago
    This is just going to water down the state meets and take away from the high level of competition there, especially in Group A and AA. The current system made it a more special for someone to qualify...someone who finishes in the high 20s in their region meets doesn't deserve to run at the state meet.
  • Runman56 / 3 Years Ago
    @RothRE
    Brandon covered this topic of "team allotment" fairly well in the past year. In the absence of a committee selecting AT LARGE TEAMS like the NCAA D1 XC Finals, I'd look at the prior year's team performances in the State Meet by each Region. In AAA, the new system would yield 20 teams vice the current 16 teams. Looking at last year's AAA BOYS' results by region with each number representing a team's finish 1 thru 16:

    NORTHERN CENTRAL NORTHWEST EASTERN
    6 1 2 11
    8 7 3 14
    9 12 4 15
    10 13 5 16

    If you simply add the totals and use a XC scoring system, you could rank Regions. The NORTHERN and CENTRAL Regions tied with 33, Eastern had 56 and the NORTHWEST total is 14 showing a clear dominance in 2010. I would have a minimum of 3 teams per Region regardless of a State Meet result.

    Using last year's results under the newly proposed 20 team system, I would (my humble opinion) allot:
    7 to NORTHWEST
    5 to NORTHERN
    5 to CENTRAL
    3 to EASTERN

    This will never happen, so this is purely one person's "on the fly" proposal
  • irishrunner2017 / 3 Years Ago
    Whats the problem if the state meet field is increased to 180 competitors? This is not a large number and wouldn't impact the race at all. Anything that allows more people to participate at higher levels without compromising the highest tier of competition is defintely a good thing. It would especially give underclassmen a better chance of experiencing the state meet because it is very much an upperclassmen dominated sport if you aren't competing for a top team.
  • markbatzel / 3 Years Ago
    RothRE
    When you have a kid who places just outside the top ten or 15 but is still faster than a couple of dozen kids on the other qualifying teams, it doesn't feel just. I know this suggestion is absurd on several levels but why not just go with only teams qualifying or only the top 15-20 runners qualifying. If the argument is to improve competition in the actual race, then restrict the field. If the goal is development of the sport, maybe there is value in the concept of more is better...to a certain extent. I personally favor only 3 teams making it plus the top 15 not on one of those teams.


    @RothRE

    I agree to some extent, I like the idea of a set certain of number of individuals making it to the state meet, but I'm also not sure how I feel about adding more teams... I could be wrong, but although some regions are harder than others to make it out of, what about the regions that aren't as strong? Then, although you're adding one or two deserving teams to the state meet, you'll also have teams that may not be qualified from the weaker regions. This still ends up with the same problem of having some teams that are more qualified than others not making it to states. Compare the eastern and northern regions, for example. Also, to me, the harder it is to qualify, the more rewarding it is to run at states. But it will be interesting to see what they decide!
  • RothRE / 3 Years Ago
    @markbatzel Again, I think it comes down to the goal. Someone earlier joked that the goal of the state is to increase revenue by allowing more to participate. Perhaps that's true. The region where my son runs is very strong. Unfortunately he's on a team from one of the smallest (50% the student population) schools compared to those that consistently make state. In this case my goals are split: grow the team stronger & give the current team the best chance to make state. If I control the equation I allow no more than 4 teams from our region but I increase the number of individuals (not on a qualifying team)to go to state. In our region, that still keeps most of the runners under 17:50 and well the top 15 runners under 17:10 or so. The consequence is that my son has a chance as a young runner to experience state level competition and it makes it easier for our coach (who is great) to recruit kids to run rather than play ball, etc. I'd rather see the sport grow than stay largely the same with the same teams winning each year.

    However, there is another compromise which I like just as well and it serves roughly the same purpose. In track there are regional qualifying times for running events. Make the time, you go to regions. Why not apply the same concept to going to state. If you run at regions and are on a top three team, you go to state. But also add a proviso that if you run below a predesignated time at regionals (say 17:20 - 17:30) then you, too, qualify for state. You might field only three teams or you might field a large group of competitive runners. Someone reading this is thinking that XC courses will play role in those times. Yep. No doubt about it but a few coaches doing a little math can come to some consensus on equivalent courses or time adjustments for challenging courses. I'm not about making it easy, but equitable and goal targeted would be good.
  • semi5683 / 3 Years Ago
    Why don't they leave it like it is? So if your not on a top four team in the region and you don't finish in the top 15 then you shouldn't go to the state meet. Go home and cry and run harder in the off season and get better. I placed 16th my junior year and went home and cried and trained harder to get there the next year. It shouldn't be made easier to get there it should be for the best guys/girls. It is an honor to run in the meet.
  • ledgers80 / 3 Years Ago
    I like the idea. Hopefully it will pass.
  • RothRE / 3 Years Ago
    Think I'm going down to the well tonight and I'm gonna drink till I get my fill
    I hope when I get older I don't sit around thinking about it, but I probably will
    Yeah just sitting back trying to recapture a little of the glory of
    Well the time slips away and leaves you with nothing, mister, but boring stories of

    Glory Days...
  • MileStat / 3 Years Ago
    My opinion about the proposal is attempting to address the need for more qualifiers for those strong and deep regions who obviously have some good teams and individuals who are being left home after regionals and could have placed very high at the state meet next week have to throw a bone to those not in good regions to get them go along and vote on it by allowing them to get more qualifiers as well. At least no deserving team or individual will get left home, but also means more undeserving teams or individuals will make it to the state stage.

    If the VHSL went with my proposal about basing at-large berths of the region or districts qualifiers performance in the previous year's championship season, the schools and ADs from the weaker districts and regions would like vote it down and not be enough votes to push it through because it would mean less qualifiers from their district and region as they would be re-allocated to the stronger districts and regions. Even though I think my proposal with at-large based on last year's championship meet results makes a bit more sense in trying to insure we get the most competitive state meet possible, it is less likely to get voted in compared to this proposal.
  • cooperj / 3 Years Ago
    What if one team did not make it out by place but had 5 individuals in the top 10 of not place-advancing teams? Would those 5 people score as a team at the state meet even though the team did not qualify?
  • andermjo / 3 Years Ago
    RothRE


    However, there is another compromise which I like just as well and it serves roughly the same purpose. In track there are regional qualifying times for running events. Make the time, you go to regions. Why not apply the same concept to going to state. If you run at regions and are on a top three team, you go to state. But also add a proviso that if you run below a predesignated time at regionals (say 17:20 - 17:30) then you, too, qualify for state. You might field only three teams or you might field a large group of competitive runners. Someone reading this is thinking that XC courses will play role in those times. Yep. No doubt about it but a few coaches doing a little math can come to some consensus on equivalent courses or time adjustments for challenging courses. I'm not about making it easy, but equitable and goal targeted would be good.


    @RothRE
    There's no way this would work, there are WAYYYY too many different courses in Virginia (i.e. pancake flat newport news park). OR if the course is short (burke lake) though it could still be converted). I still don't understand how or why teams run on courses under 3 miles. It only works in track because everyone runs the same distance on a (mostly) flat, round track.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    I, for one, have a daughter for whom this gives some hope. She's the fastest girl on a team that has little hope of advancing out of districts. She gets to meet girls all the time who are slower than her who get to go to regionals and states because of they happen to be on a team with 3 or 4 really fast girls. Let me ask you, "Is it harder to get yourself down under 21 minutes if there's 4 other girls on your team who already do it that you can work out with or is harder to get under 21 when the rest of your team runs 26's and you end up running alone at every practice?"

    So, for my daughter this is a nice rule change, and I hope the regions follow suit. She might get to go to regionals as a freshman if they do. I wish it had been in effect last year when our region actually cut back the number of teams advancing and our girl's squad was the team that missed out because of the cut (it would have been the only time in history we ever advanced out of the district) and our second fastest runner was 16th place.

    Just when we had gotten our program off the ground a little bit we were the first team left out and had the first girl left out. This year we get to move up to the ultra competitive Commonwealth District where we again have little hope of advancing. This rule change would effect our team in a very positive manner. I think our girls have a legit shot to come in top 5 (but top 4 would be a lot tougher), but if you add 10 at large girls we could conceivably have 6 girls shooting for that Some schools are working towards a state title, for us, just advancing would be a dream come true.

    It all depends on perspective. I'm hoping the Northwest Region implements this rule for letting kids advance from districts to regions (not 5 teams so much as 10 at-large kids in addition to 4 teams). This is coming from the perspective of a dad who has watched his daughter fall in love with running and would like to see her get to make a trip to states before it's all over.

    I know people like to crow about cross country being a team sport, but it's not a team sport like basketball. We've got girls going to states that have never broken 30 minutes while Alanna Kelly of W.T. Woodson runs something like a 20:19 (adjusted from 2.98 mile course) and can't get out of district. A few more at-large bids would be nice for girls like her.

    Plus, like has been said on here before. Adding runners is not going to effect who wins the state. It's not like we let an at-large girl in at 21:00 minutes and she's suddenly going to dust the girls running 18's. You just don't have that kind of upsets in cross country.

    One final thought. The VHSL pretty much allowing out-of-season practices is going to mean that the strong teams with tradition and community enthusiasm are just going to get stronger. This rule change gives the struggling and up-and-coming programs a little something to hopefully get fired up about and maybe gives them a little bit more of a chance to catch up.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @cooperj

    This is a good question as I believe Mountain View would have qualified all 7 boys under this rule.
  • gthcarolina / 3 Years Ago
    @RothRE

    Thank you for bringing the Boss into this discussion. Not kidding; I'm a big fan.

    But you are right. I think of this every time I see a 120 lb bench-sitter who should Run cross instead of (not)play football.
  • psugls / 3 Years Ago
    As a AAA runner I take pride in qualifying for the state meet. With this rule change it will be easier to make it and take away from the prestige of the meet. Just keep the rule the same.
  • BearlyRunnin / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath

    While I sympathize with your desire for your daughter to have the opportunity to run at the state meet, I mostly don't agree with you. I've been on both ends of the spectrum - as a runner on a team that regularly advanced to the state meet and as a collegiate runner where the thought of us finishing in the top half of the conference was laughable. If your daughter really has been bitten by the running bug then she'll keep running because she loves it, not because of how long her fall season extends. We don't get to always be the winner. In fact, I can think of plenty of runners, athletes, and everyday people who derive more from their non-winning experiences to push them to be better. Nobody wants to fail all of the time, but we don't all get to be winners, either.
  • KC_Track / 3 Years Ago
    what was wrong with the old way of qualifying? this is going to water down XC the way that all the other sports are watered down by using the 3-A (6 class) system. Next thing they'll be doing is messing with how you quilify in track, probably something like- the top 8 that don't qualify by meeting the time standard also advance. I dont like this new way of qualifying; it leaves too much room for them to water down the rest of XC and Track.
  • RothRE / 3 Years Ago
    @KC_Track To a certain extent I'll agree. Probably too many teams...but I like expanding the individual runner options. In fact, the only thing that it waters down is a perception of prestige. It has minimal effect on the outcome. Cream always rises. There's 5-7 guys at any particular level that have any shot of actually winning. The other # of participants is there to compete and enjoy the event but by adding more runners it waters nothing down other than what you think it means to make the race. In many cases if you take a strong runner at AAA that doesn't quite make state and he/she transfers to a lower division school, there's a good chance they make state with exactly the same time. So how do we deal with prestige in this situation? Should the kid feel good about getting to state or less than that because it's not competitive? No one is calling to take the top 7 of each division and have them run against each other to see who's best. How many "State Champs" or "All State" runners are there?

    Read the blog entries on changes to year round practice. You now have a whole new ball game when it comes to one sport going against another for recruitment of an athletes commitments. XC and Track/Field now have to compete much more aggressively for kids (especially the boys). So if you keep emphasizing elitist programs (which are by the way very fun to watch) over the gradual development of programs at all levels across the state, XC & T/F will lose. You will have traditional XC schools and football schools but you won't seen anything but the huge suburban schools have a chance to be great at both. For the mid-size and the small schools, you have to find a reason for the athletes that are available to choose you over football. That might just be something like a higher probability of going to state or scholarship options. I very much believe in tradition but not to the point that it nullifies growth.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    I don't think letting in at-large runners that are faster than the back of the pack waters down the field. What waters down the field is those 5, 6 and 7 runners on teams who could have never made it on their own.

    This is not like basketball. It is BARELY a team sport. I don't think my daughter deserves to get in at any particular time. I don't really care if they take 1 kid per region or 90 kids per region. The thing that gets under my skin is this:

    Assume my daughter were in the Commonwealth District last year. The rest of her team is running 2-3 minutes slower than her but she runs a 20:46 in the district meet. She would have stayed home for regionals.

    SIXTEEN girls slower than her (including a 25:53) would have gotten to go to regionals simply because they are on a team with a couple of fast girls. Helen, didn't do anything wrong except live in a county with no running tradition. This is a great deal for the power schools. They get to keep beating down kids and teams if they start to get a little something going. I should have taken a pastor's job in Stafford County instead of Orange County and then she could ride somebody's coat tails into the regional and state meets. What your're telling me is that taking the girl running the 20:46 will water down the field more than taking the girl running a 25:53? Really?

    I don't know what my daughter will run next year, but I bet she'd be a top 7 runner on half to 3/4 of the teams that go to states in AAA. She's punished because she's the only one who loves running distance around here.

    To me this would be like your average throwers getting to throw in states in track because you a bunch of good sprinters and jumpers.

    I'm sure we could look at any district or region and do the same thing.
  • BlueStreaksXCTF / 3 Years Ago
    I doubt you would call it "barely a team sport" if your team was strong. I don't say that to be snide.

    Also, realizing you are new to the sport, please understand that it may offend many to call cross country "barely a team sport."

    Finally, for the runners who run 5-7 on teams who make it to the state meet and get to represent their school, it is surely not "barely a team sport."
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @BlueStreaksXCTF

    You're making my point. If it is a team sport; then the kids who do well without the support of a team are REALLY doing something more amazing, than a kid who runs the same time with a plethora of support from their team. Those kids deserve at large bids.

    I mean seriously, how many girls that ran in the Massanutten District Championships didn't get to go to regionals?

    In the Commonwealth District next year there will be nine teams and with the exception of Orange they're all pretty stong programs. The fact that single A and AA people from districts that only have three teams show up for district championships think my daughter doesn't deserve to go to regionals if she runs in the low 20's seems a little like, "We've got ours, now tough for you."

    I guess it's hard for anybody to understand this, but I imagine it's tough to be 16th in the district and realize that at least 13 (and almost certainly quite a few more) girls that ran slower than you get to go to regionals while your season is over.

    To me the current system is kinda like saying, "You only made a 710 on your SATs, but the other six kids on your team made 1500's so we're going to let you go to Harvard, too!"

    I think more at-large bids, especially in deep districts and regions makes sense.
  • 85viking / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath
    Your latest suggestion my be the most ridiculous thing I have ever read on this MB in the last decade.

    Penalize kids because they and their coaches have taken the time to build a successful program?

    Lets apply that to the classroom. Oh your parents both have PhD's. You will need to score 110 to receive an A.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    Let's address the issue: How many kids should get to go with at-large bids?

    Top however many teams go. Any at-large kid that beat more than half of the kids on those teams gets to go.

    So if your district or region has 4 at-large teams then that's 28 that get to go right there. Any at-large kid that beat 14 of those 28 get's to go on to the next round.

    To me this is better than a raw number of kids, because the mix is always different every year. There could be a year where nobody qualifies on this rule and there could be a year where a good number does, but it's hard to argue that a kid who beat more than half the kids that are advancing shouldn't get to advance himself.

    If we had implemented my idea in the Central Region Boys Meet then 4 more kids would have gotten at large bids. Their times were 16:43, 16:47, 16:52 and 16:57. I don't think those kids would have "watered down the field." Three of them beat EVERY RUNNER on one of the qualifying teams. The slowest kid to qualify this year ran a 18:43 as the #7 runner on his team.

    On the girls' side only one more kid would have qualified, but with a 19:36. Again, I don't think we'd need to throw up our hands and scream, "WATERED DOWN!" since one girl got to go as the #7 runner on her team with a 21:21.

    A quick look at region II was interesting. My plan would only have provided for 1 additional boy, but it would have provided for 9 girls getting in with at large bids. The slowest of the 9 would have run a 21:12, but that's not embarrassing considering we already had 14 going to states with slower times including a 23:06.

    In Region D no extra kids would have got in on the boys side, but 1 extra would have got in on the girls' side.

    I think a change like this costs nobody anything and gives some kids a thrill that they've quite frankly earned.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @BearlyRunnin

    I disagree with you here. In college you get to pick where you run (if they'll have you). If you pick poorly, that's on you. In high school you're pretty much locked in by where you live.

    You say my daughter is failure if she runs a 20:21 and misses the regional meet by a second, but that some kid who runs a 25:55 and happens to get to go to school in Stafford is a success because she's #7 on the team. I say she's not a failure and your logic is warped.

    The Stafford kid hit the lottery and I don't think that's how you run a sport.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @85viking

    I'm not sure to what you're referring; I'm not suggesting we penalize anybody on a good team. I'm suggesting we give more opportunities to the top runners on weak teams.

    The analogy that applies is that the current system would be more like, "If your family has doctorate degrees we're going to let you get an A with a 70, but if you come from a family where no one has ever graduated high school, you've got to make a 90."
  • 85viking / 3 Years Ago
    excellent editing of your original comment....
    you clearly suggested that time be added to kids from strong teams to compensate for the benefit of being on a strong team and being able to traing with other good athletes; which is absurd!

    mattymath
    @85viking

    I'm not sure to what you're referring; I'm not suggesting we penalize anybody on a good team. I'm suggesting we give more opportunities to the top runners on weak teams.

    The analogy that applies is that the current system would be more like, "If your family has doctorate degrees we're going to let you get an A with a 70, but if you come from a family where no one has ever graduated high school, you've got to make a 90."


    @mattymath
  • shscoach / 3 Years Ago
    According to you, you do not want to penalize anyone on a "good" team but you keep complaining about a girl who happens to be a 7th runner qualifying for a regional meet because her time is a 25? Did you ever stop to think that maybe she wasn't feeling well or perhaps was a substitution and didn't run at the Regional meet? Please stop demeaning the kids and those programs who have worked hard to make their regional meets by saying they shouldn't be there because of their time.

    mattymath
    @85viking

    I'm not sure to what you're referring; I'm not suggesting we penalize anybody on a good team. I'm suggesting we give more opportunities to the top runners on weak teams.

    The analogy that applies is that the current system would be more like, "If your family has doctorate degrees we're going to let you get an A with a 70, but if you come from a family where no one has ever graduated high school, you've got to make a 90."


    @mattymath
  • jldeal / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath

    Please understand where you are posting this. This is a high school cross country board, not espn forums. As much as I want everyone in VA to enjoy cross country not everyone can. And some seem to not want to. You'll get no sympathy from most of the people on this board saying things like this
    mattymath

    This is not like basketball. It is BARELY a team sport.


    Cross country IS a team sport. In a way no other sport works, my teammates push me to extremes that I could never accomplish on my own and I like to thing I help them in this way also. This upcoming cross country season we are looking a gap between our crucial 4th and 5th runners; one that needs to be filled. There are at least 5 guys that I know will be willing to push themselves and each other to a point where I will feel completely confident in the fact that I have a TEAM of at least 6 other guys behind me. All willing to cover for me, all working for the same TEAM goals that I am. I finished all state this past season and I was ecstatic. But that didnt even come close to the feeling I had standing on that podium with my TEAMmates. Its a feeling that cant be taken away from me. As an individual I can run, I can even win but in the end its the 7 guys that really understand the meaning of the sport. I have a teammate that could be an exceptional football player and runner, and am sure that he feels like he is on more of a TEAM running with us than playing football. Sure there is no physical team cooperation, but a much greater emotional and psychological connection. I don't post here much but I feel like this was worth saying.
    With Respect - JLDeal
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @85viking

    Have you ever heard of a rhetorical device?

    I took down that comment almost as soon as I wrote it, because I knew some people hadn't.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @jldeal

    I have already conceded the point that we're talking about a team sport. So what do you say to a kid who isn't lucky enough to even have five runners at most meets? What do you say to a kid who calls up everyone she can think of and tries to start a running club in the summer and nobody comes?

    Do you say, she doesn't deserve a shot, because she's not lucky enough to go to a school with a program?

    If that's your position, fine. It's not mine.

    I keep coming back to the point. If it's a team sport, then it's easier to run good times on a good team than on a bad team. So if a kid runs a good time on a bad team they've done something special.
  • mcrthomas77 / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath
    If you have not figured it out by now, cross country is the unique sport that advances teams and individuals, but the team comes first. Your arguement is centered on the premise that the individual is more important than the team. I disagree. You belittle the contributions of the 5, 6 & 7 runners - last I checked, 5 scores, 6 & 7 serve as placeholders in defensive strategy. Regardless of their respective times, these team runners are valuable to the success of the team. The current advancement rule does make provision for individual advancement through the championship season, and should remain as is - a special accomplishment, not a feel good gesture based upon relaxed standards.
    You refer to times your daughter has yet to attain, as if it was fact. She is good, yes, and has a lot of potential, yes, but she is not even in high school yet. I applaud your advocacy and support of the Orange program as it enters into the AAA arena, but your acertation that the power teams are going to beat down an up and coming program is just absurd. It may be presumptuous, but the last thing on the minds of the student athletes as they toe the starting line in the Commonwealth District Championships is to "beat down" Orange County.
    Your self-serving indignation throughout this thread is a slap in the face to the sport and the kids & coaches who work hard to make it what it is today.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    mcrthomas77
    @mattymath
    If you have not figured it out by now, cross country is the unique sport that advances teams and individuals, but the team comes first. Your arguement is centered on the premise that the individual is more important than the team. I disagree. You belittle the contributions of the 5, 6 & 7 runners - last I checked, 5 scores, 6 & 7 serve as placeholders in defensive strategy. Regardless of their respective times, these team runners are valuable to the success of the team. The current advancement rule does make provision for individual advancement through the championship season, and should remain as is - a special accomplishment, not a feel good gesture based upon relaxed standards.
    You refer to times your daughter has yet to attain, as if it was fact. She is good, yes, and has a lot of potential, yes, but she is not even in high school yet. I applaud your advocacy and support of the Orange program as it enters into the AAA arena, but your acertation that the power teams are going to beat down an up and coming program is just absurd. It may be presumptuous, but the last thing on the minds of the student athletes as they toe the starting line in the Commonwealth District Championships is to "beat down" Orange County.
    Your self-serving indignation throughout this thread is a slap in the face to the sport and the kids & coaches who work hard to make it what it is today.


    @mcrthomas77

    I certainly don't mean to belittle the contribution of anyone. I understand the theory behind cross country scoring pretty well, being that statistics, operations research and game theory are my main areas of interest in mathematics and that I have a math degree. I actually am working on trying to formally represent mathematically a cool problem from cross country. Leave everything alone in a meet. Keep the times exactly the same for everybody, but add one team and depending on how they finish they can change the order of finish for the other teams. Two lesser teams can collude to stop another team. This is actually a weakness in cross country scoring that is akin to some problems with elections and how to fairly divide a piece of land to multiple heirs. So you don't really have to explain cross country scoring to me, though when I first went to meets and asked how it worked everyone seemed to think it was really complicated.

    I obviously dont' think the individual is more important than the team or I would advocate a system like wrestling does where you only qualify as an individual and then the team gets a shot if enough individuals qualify. I only suggest the balance should be weighted slightly more towards the individual (seriously, my system only adds 0,1 or 2 runners most of the time.

    You say I'm being condescending, but what about this statement: "a feel good gesture based upon relaxed standards." That's pretty condescending to say to a kid who just ran a 5K in under 17:00 and beat every kid on an advancing team. "Sorry, Sonny, but if we let you run with us it would just be a feel good gesture. I know you beat every kid on my team, but hey, too bad we can't lower ourselves to let a kid with THAT uniform on run."

    Of course the kids lining up at the starting line aren't thinking about keeping Orange down. They're kids. It's the adults that do that behind the scenes in VHSL meetings. I might know of what I speak since I have coached two sports and since my wife wasthe chair of Region II when she was high school principal. I know exactly the manipulations the adults will go through to make sure the rules benefit their teams and I know which schools will stand up for all the kids in the region and which only look out for themselves. I know which ADs will let themselves be pushed around and which ones can rally everyone around them.

    To me this is purely a mathematical argument. I think we take too many teams to the football and basketball playoffs if our goal is to crown the best team as state champs. A perfect system in cross country (A series of dual meets with the winning team advancing) would take too long due to the physical demands of the sport so we have to compromise. I get that.

    If you think this is about my daughter, then you must think I'm delusional. Even if they switch to 5 teams plus 10, I don't see her going to states any time soon. She actually sees the switch to a tougher district as a good thing. She says she'd rather run a 20:30 and not advance than run a 22:30 and get to advance.

    You're really misreading me if you think I'm indignant. That would mean I'm angered by something that seems unjust. I really am not angry at all about this issue. To me it is a mathematical argument. It seems unjust to me, yes, but I don't put it up there with real the real unjustice in the world.

    In short, if you think I intend to belittle anyone you are wrong. I intend to celebrate a few kids who had great seasons and came up "just short," in tough districts and regions.
  • jldeal / 3 Years Ago
    I think the current rules work for both individuals and teams nicely. Teams should be the main focus of the sport, be on the top 4 teams and you qualify. There is the individual aspect so each runner still has a chance but it is going to be alot harder to qualify as an individual, not impossible but harder. Sure this can lead to some weird situations like in the northwest region meet where patrick henry had the top 2 runners and got 5th place as a team but that happens. I like the way its been. Im not completely against the new way, well just have to see how it works out...
  • mcrthomas77 / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath
    Very eloquent reply mattymath. I do not agree with all that you state, but you are certainly entitled to your opinion, and I will leave it at that.
    I am sure that you are aware that currently the top 15 individuals advance from each level of championship competition. I believe that this rewards the exceptional individuals regardless of team affiliation. By relaxing the standards for advancement, you alter the “perception of prestige”, as RothRE put it. Those that have earned an All-District, All-Region and/or All-State honor wear that title proudly. Don’t take that from those young men and women. Saying “Sorry, Sonny…” (your words not mine) for a sub-17 is condescending, but also a dose of reality that a good effort does not make a great effort.
    I don’t think you are delusional, but perhaps are trying to change the sport based on the view from your front porch. Others are entitled to dissenting opinions.
    When I read “what really gets under my skin”, I interpret that as anger at an unjust situation. Sorry if you took offense.
    My view is that XC is a TEAM sport that provides opportunity for individual glory, reserved for the best of the best. Ask anyone on a team that can field seven in a meet, and they will tell you TEAM comes first.
  • BlueStreaksXCTF / 3 Years Ago
    I don't mind the change to top-15 non-inclusive finishers - there is certainly competition waiting for them at the meet. Also, however (I've said this is similar discussions), the advancement process is a tournament of sorts. I've coached in Region II and seen teams at states that I knew couldn't hold my team's spikes. I've had teams now in Region III who get to compete at Great Meadow who would be lucky to finish in the top half of Region II.

    This same thing happens in other sports. Baseball, Soccer, Football, Basketball. ALL have their tales of a good team being left behind.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @BlueStreaksXCTF

    Of course! Has anybody looked at the playoff draws in Division III Basketball this year? 8-14 Graham is in there (I love the G-Men, but that looks funny when you look at the Region I and II teams playing each other with 21-2 and 23-0 records).

    Guess what, if you go over to Virginia Preps AA Basketball Message Boards there's a lot of suggestions for "fixing" the system. Part of what makes sports seem like they should belong in school is that it's a chance to teach our kids about fair play, so it's natural for people to look at any playoff system and think, "Hmmmm, this doesn't look right, what if we did (insert your idea here)."

    That's why we have classes and divisions, and those "solutions" are a source of as much controversy and the problems they were created to solve.

    I do think it's interesting that the most prestigious high school cross country race in the country only qualifies individuals (at least Foot Locker seems to be the most prestigious to me), so by no means is it a settled issue on what the right proportion of teams and individuals should be in any big time meet.

    I should also point out, that no matter what anybody says we've got the fairest sport around. No judges giving subjective scores; no refs blowing block/charge calls, the first time you ever go to a meet you can tell who won. In tennis you can score more points than your opponent and still lose. In golf you can lose because the perfect shot hits a sprinkler head. It's a race and I think that's the most beautiful thing about the sport (that and the absolutely incredible sportsmanship I see displayed by the athletes).

    I am sorry if my rhetorical devices made anyone angry. I consider myself a mathematician and I like to argue things until we find the absurdity in then to prove my points and I don't always consider that they may be coming off mean spirited (especially when typed and you can't see the big grin on my face). Anyone who knows me would tell you I'm just the opposite in person (I was voted "nicest" in senior superlatives my senior year of high school). I absolutely adore the kids that run cross country at my school and the best I can tell the kids that run cross country at the other schools are just as awesome. I am not jealous of coaches that have good programs. I am incredulous. I see coaches who regularly get kids to drop gigantic amounts of time every year, and I know that they have a system, a work ethic and must be an incredible motivator of kids. So please don't take anything I posted as a knock on a kid, a coach, or a the sport. I'm an ex-football and baseball coach and player and I've come to a place where I'd rather watch the NCAA cross country championships on television than the Super Bowl or the World Series. I'm just like anybody who loves a sport. I want it to be as good as it can be.

    I wonder how they get that many kids out to run. I ask kids all the time and went so far as to start a running club this summer (and I'm not the coach who is beating the bushes for runners 24-7). Almost every kid looks at you like you just said, "Here, drink this rat poison," when you suggest running 3.1 miles.
  • 1moveyourfeet3 / 3 Years Ago
    It's insane that people are getting so worked up about this decision. How can people not be happy about having more kids qualify for states? Referring to watering down competition: the top kids at states are still going to run as fast as ever. How will letting more kids in hurt the chances of high level competition.......?
    Parents and coaches will always have their opinions, but I don't know many kids that wouldn't be happy to qualify for the state meet under any conditions.
  • mcrthomas77 / 3 Years Ago
    @1moveyourfeet3
    We have these spirited discourses because this is a discussion forum about a sport that many of us feel passionate about. We differ in opinion on how best to serve the student athletes that devote so much of their time and effort in practice and on the field of competition. Both sides of the argument believe their point of view benefits the kids.
    I believe the current advancement rules reward both teams and individuals in a fair manner. Perhaps it is weighted more to the benefit of teams, but that is what the sport is about. The state meet is not an exclusive club, but you do have to earn the right to compete at that level. I could go on with a satirical exaggeration that it may become like a Parks & Rec 8U soccer league, with everyone getting a miniature trophy with “Winner” emblazoned on it… or make a scholastic comparison that all “B” students should get an “A+” on their report card because their study group got “C”s. If you lower the highest standards of achievement, the students will adjust their goals accordingly. Just my opinion.
    For all the discussion, I seriously doubt the VHSL pays any attention to this thread, and will proceed as they see fit. I, for one, will accept it and move on.
  • mattymath / 3 Years Ago
    @1moveyourfeet3

    It's about prestige. However...prestige is kinda what you make of it. If we take 5 teams per region instead of 4, then yes, the phrase "I went to states" might carry a LITTLE less prestige (with people who know much about the sport), but the phrase "We finished 16th in states," suddenly carries more. Saying, "I was 62nd place in states" now should carry less prestige than saying it if and when we go to 5 teams plus 10 at large.

    In the end, unless you take everyone somebody's going to be able to find an injustice in the system. It's entirely possible if you take 5 + 10 at-large that there will be some runners at 1st place schools who didn't make their team's top 7, but could have made that top 10 at-large list.

    Somebody's going to be that #11 runner from the sixth place team. They'll feel just as badly as the 16th overall runner from the fifth place team now.

    But speaking of prestige...If you're the number one kid in the state off of the the number one team in the state wouldn't you want as many people as possible see you getting the glory? I mean, this isn't going to get 3 pages in the Richmond Times Dispatch like the football state champions will. The best way to get a bigger crowd? Invite more teams and more runners. All their supporters will forever remember the kid and the team that was so awesome. Otherwise, they're off to indoor track or swimming or the spring drama production and they might not even bother to ever look to see who the state champs were.

    So, yes, there's a lot of ways to look at this, but does anybody think a change in the rules is going to have much of an effect on which team wins the states or which individual wins the states? Is that 5th team going to sneak up and win a state title? Is that runner who was 16th in the Regionals suddenly going to win the individual title? I doubt it.

    So, yeah it doesn't matter all that much. It passed the executive committee by a strong majority and the AD's and principals will likely not feel like getting in a big debate over cross country rules, so the rules will likely change when the membership at-large votes on it.

    In the end it's just a matter of how many kids we want to let participate and if we want them to qualify with teams or individually. Where you come down on that question, as was initially posted by someone on here, is more a matter of your individual situation than anything else. If you're team or kid(s) are more likely to benefit from the current situation, you're likely to be for the status quo. If you're more likely to benefit from the change, then you'll like the change.
  • mcrthomas77 / 3 Years Ago
    @mattymath
    Nice summation, seriously.
    PS He was 60th not 62nd :)