I have been involved with this problem for the past 12 years; however, every year standards are being determined by averaging over the past several years. To me this is crazy. How can you determine an honest standard for the upcoming year by using performances of athletes that have been gone for years. In my opinion the only way to determine an honest standard is tto include the performances for juniors, sophomores and freshmen that are returning the next year. I would like to hear some comments on this as I totally due not understand the reasoning behind the current method of determining minimum standards whether they are at the National, State, Regional or District level.
The VHSL is a government organization that exists to serve itself, not the interest of the student-athlete. Who knows how they come up with standards for the state meet. I have sat in district meetings when standards were being developed. It was so politically motivated it made me sick!! Don't waste your time trying to figure it out, it will only anger you.
Elaborate on the political part of the equation for me...
- Im a coach. From what i understand it is taking the 6th place or 8th place depending on level. Whether districts, Regional, or States. Taking those 6th or 8th place results and averaging them over a 2 or 3 year window. So some years you may have a strong field in an event and some years may be weak. If your child or athlete can't make those standards, they have the ability to place top 6 in their region meet. If they can't make it out of the region meet, there is a good chance of them getting their feelings hurt at the state meet level. By keeping the numbers down and watering down the field with subpar athletes you allow those that can compete against the best of the best. Also if every kid made it in, state meet would take all day. Every parent or coach hates to see their kid not make it in.
Oh and about using sophomore and junior times.... kids get stronger over the summer. Practice hard during the off season. join cross country to get better. Teaches your kid to work hard and know the value of great workouts and what those before them must have gone through to make it to the podium. I have seen it from the athlete side and the coaching side. I will soon see it from the parent side. System works.
No need to elaborate. Just accept it as fact.
- I think averaging the past three year's sixth place finish is generally a good standard. That way if you have a particularly good crop of kids one year then extras can qualify, but it's not letting in everyone.
I'm not as cynical about the VHSL as a lot of people. I don't think anyone has evil motives, but sometimes 320 principals all voting for their own school's interests comes up with decisions that don't benefit the whole (see "Prisoner's Dilemma").
On the other hand, it's quite a thrill for a kid to go to states and I'd bet most of the kids at states KNOW they aren't going to come in first (A lot of kids I know have a goal simply to make regionals or states). I would also wager that if a kid gets into states from a 6th place finish in a weak region that they're not deluded about their chances. All the kids I know have been on this web site enough to know where they stand. I hope none of them are ever embarrassed about doing their best and having done what it takes to advance to regionals or states or whatever.
I hope track and field never gets to the point where we can only celebrate the very best and we don't celebrate with kids who do THEIR very best.
- I sincerely hope SprintParent is being facetious but somehow I doubt it
- I have been involved in setting standards for district & region. My problem with the state standards is that they are a 5-year average of the 8th place performance. The standards usually average out, but there is a problem with this. In those running events at state where there is an 8 lane final after trials, we have a problem. The 8th place finisher more often than not runs slower in the finals and may let up some when he/she sees themselves behind. Thus these events have may not have a true standard. I have advocated that the better of the 8th place time in the finals or the 8th place qualifying time should be used as the standard for that year. When you go to states watch how many more entries there are in these events, especially the 100 meter dash.
Jim Holdren of Maggie Walker Gov. school sets the standards and I advised him of this problem one year when we had 6 heats of the 300 hurdles and had to take the heat winner plus next 2 best times to finals (a lot of good hurdlers did not make the finals).
- Years ago they used to use a system of (standard of LY x 5 or 7, add the 6th place or 8th from LY and divided by 6 or 8). This method helped smooth out the spikes or dips in the standard.
My experience with district standards is not as formal as yours. I wish we had a consistent structure to use. As far as regional stanards, have no idea how they are developed.
I would like to have more athletes compete in our district championships, even if it meant easing the standards. It would give them an opportunity to get post season experience. With only 10 schools in the district, it could be done. All I ever hear is how quick we need to finish the meet. It's never about giving athletes that extra opportunity.
- @SprintParent I personally think 3 athletes per school per event is more than enough athletes competing. It is a varsity sport and districts should maintain the championship meet prestige by being at least somewhat exclusive. Do districts of football let JV teams compete? So why should we?
There is no JV level in track, so I don't see it as relevant. Some districts are stronger than others and some teams are deeper. I don't think it takes away from the "prestige" of a championship event. Giving athletes experience at post season meets is important for their development. Even if they don't make it past that meet, they have experienced a championship environment. Some teams don't even run their best athletes at district championships, so where is the prestige in that? Again, I'm all for giving athletes opportunities to compete and develop.
I would love to accept what you said as fact, but the problem is that throwing the label "politics" at this topic doesn't really clear things up for my small brain. So, would you kindly care to explain the political advantage gained by enforcing the current time standards, and also exactly who stands to benefit from that advantage? By the way, please do it in layman's terms. Thanks.
You had it right. At least for AA it is:
5 x Last year's standard + last year's 8th place, divided by 6.
Aha...but there IS a JV level in track and field! It's called "everyone who doesn't qualify for districts". As another poster said, 3 athletes per school per event is plenty and certainly makes meet scheduling a hassle, as you yourself pointed out. Might I remind you that in the scheme of things, district standards mean nothing, since those minimum 3 per school qualify regardless of time? Regional standards are developed using a well-known, public formula and are in my estimation pretty damn fair. Sorry you don't see it that way.
Well known public formula?? Regional and state standards are handed out. They never come with a piece of paper that states how they were developed. District championships are somewhat watered down, especially when top athletes don't necessarily run in them. Sorry, but there is no "official" JV team for T&F.
Enjoy the state meet
I don't know who misinformed you about state/regional standards but they aren't simply "handed out" by a shadowy panel of bureaucrats. There is, as many other posters have mentioned, a formula used to determine those times which takes into account previous years' performances. For example, I used to run for a Region II school: the Region II standards when I ran were set by averaging the 6th-place times/distances from the last 3 Region II meets. We all knew this. There was no drama in discovering the regional qualifying times.
I don't know how much life experience you have, but let's face it, politics play a role everywhere. It's in little league baseball, it's at work. It is in schools, both public and private. It's even in christian schools. So, please don't sit there and make comments that track and field standards are developed in such a scientific way. I have sat in district meetings when they were being developed. I have seen for myself. It is not hearsay. Yes, it's not all peaches & cream as you may think or want to beleive.
Mr. Superman, when you received your 2011 set of standards, exactly what documentation did you receive? I know exactly what I received.
- @SprintParent Do you really see a problem with the standards? The only problem I've seen is the slight issue with the sprints but especially in the distance the times are truly state level times and seem extremely fair to me.
You keep saying that politics are involved, yet give no evidence of that actually taking place. I'd love to hear the examples.
You act as though it's a secret to know the standards and how they are made. No, you're not going to receive a copy in the mail from the VHSL with explanations, but if you do an internet search for 10 minutes you can find all the information you need. Or, just peruse the VHSL site for a few minutes and you will at least find the standards at the beginning of each season.
There are things about the VHSL that do seem very political and money driven, but I don't see how the standards fall into that category.
- I enjoy the tough standards. It rewards teams and athletes who hit the qualifying times by not requiring them to prove themselves at the District and Region levels (much like you don't expect a 6'8 High Jumper to come in at 5'10)... while at the same time requiring athletes to really excel in an event to hit the qualifying mark.
If the state standards were set to easier times/distances then you'd open up more opportunity for athletes to hit the time early in the year and move to other events rather than fine tuning and focusing on what they are probably best at. They wouldn't have as much incentive to push their times down further after hitting the qualifier.
In regards to the actual equation used for the standards... not everyone will ever be happy with one system. What is currently used works pretty well IMO. Would I change a few small things about it? Sure... but it could be worse also.