How the post season might work under new alignment
11/05/2015 5:22:10 AM
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I am stunned by how differently the various regions must be allowing teams and individuals to qualify for their regional meets. My girls were not good this year. We were knocked down to 5 runners due to injuries and were not even close to qualifying for regionals in 5A North, which takes 3 teams from each conference (12 total). I was fine with that. We didn't deserve to advance. However, I look at 5A South and they have 19 teams qualifying and I realize we would have probably beaten at least 6 of them even if we ran poorly. I have to admit to a little twinge of jealousy. (My kids had an advantage last year as our conference only had 4 schools so you could still easily place in the top 15 if your team didn't go, so I'm not whining too much--you get an advantage one year, and you lose the advantage the next). I know it will never be fair. Even if all conferences had the same number of schools and everyone did it exactly the same way, we know some conferences will just be tougher than others. So I'm not sitting here bent out of shape or anything, just musing about what I'd like to see. I generally am of the opinion that I don't really care much how they decide how teams and individuals qualify for regionals or states, as long as the system is reasonably likely to have the six fastest teams and 15 fastest individuals, but I hope the new new realignment will standardize this a little bit. But, hey, football's got a different system for every region, too, so it's not like we're the only one. Anyway, I just thought I'd post a musing on what I'd like to see as we go back to the traditional 4 regions per class year after next. The numbers and percentages can change, but it looks like regions will roughly be equal to two conferences combined. I have no idea if they plan to simply do a regional meet and then straight to states (probably competitively the best, but I don't like losing a post season meet) or if they will call the regions "sub-regions" and then have a regional meet and then states (this feels unnecessary, but adds the excitement of a third round). I also fear that the sub-region alignment would end up with state championships with only 6 or 8 teams which doesn't feel "special" to me. Regardless, here is what I suggest. In the post season, I'd like to see the number of teams advancing based on 50% of the schools advancing. My logic is this, in other team sports, 50% of the schools advance (one wins, one loses) each round. If you have an odd number of schools I would err on the side of caution and take 5 out of 9 or 6 out of 11. As far as individuals go, I also think this should be based on the number of schools competing. In order to advance as an individual the traditional number has been top 15, though some meets have switched to the top ten non-inclusive. I don't like non-inclusive because the kids don't know what they have to do. I have thought about this a lot. Advancing as an individual is hard compared to advancing as part of a strong team. If you're an individual you can't have a bad day and still get to move along. You can't take regionals off if you have a sore ankle and then get plugged back in at states like you can if you're part of a strong team. I like the idea of taking the number of teams competing and multiplying by 2.5 to determine how many advance as individuals. This would mean a 6 team meet advances the top 15, 7 team meet advances top 18, 8 team meet advances top 20, etc. This is a pretty tough standard (you could multiply by 3 if you wanted an easier standard) So let's just say you end up in a region with 13 teams (which will be the average number in the new system). You would have to be one of the top 7 teams to advance as a team and one of the top 33 individuals. You then proceed to a sub-regional which would likely have about 14 teams and I would guess around 16 individuals. 7 would advance as teams and any individual in the top 35. You would end up with around 14 teams at your state meet. I think if you only had two rounds of the playoffs you'd have to adjust this (maybe taking 1/3 of the teams rounding up instead of 1/2). That would likely get us around 18 teams at states (more would be appropriate since we are losing one post season round, but we wouldn't want the field up at some ridiculous number like 25 teams, I don't think). I find that most disagreements around the way we take teams really come down to a matter of taste on just how exclusive people think the post season should be and much you think a lone runner running at a school without a strong team around them should be valued. I think my arguments for the number of teams advancing have some pretty sound assumptions holding them up, but there are reasonable arguments for more or fewer qualifying. The actual number of schools and individuals advancing can be just about anything and it wouldn't bother me as long as it's consistent throughout the state.
I am stunned by how differently the various regions must be allowing teams and individuals to qualify for their regional meets.

My girls were not good this year. We were knocked down to 5 runners due to injuries and were not even close to qualifying for regionals in 5A North, which takes 3 teams from each conference (12 total). I was fine with that. We didn't deserve to advance.

However, I look at 5A South and they have 19 teams qualifying and I realize we would have probably beaten at least 6 of them even if we ran poorly. I have to admit to a little twinge of jealousy. (My kids had an advantage last year as our conference only had 4 schools so you could still easily place in the top 15 if your team didn't go, so I'm not whining too much--you get an advantage one year, and you lose the advantage the next). I know it will never be fair. Even if all conferences had the same number of schools and everyone did it exactly the same way, we know some conferences will just be tougher than others. So I'm not sitting here bent out of shape or anything, just musing about what I'd like to see.

I generally am of the opinion that I don't really care much how they decide how teams and individuals qualify for regionals or states, as long as the system is reasonably likely to have the six fastest teams and 15 fastest individuals, but I hope the new new realignment will standardize this a little bit.

But, hey, football's got a different system for every region, too, so it's not like we're the only one.

Anyway, I just thought I'd post a musing on what I'd like to see as we go back to the traditional 4 regions per class year after next.

The numbers and percentages can change, but it looks like regions will roughly be equal to two conferences combined. I have no idea if they plan to simply do a regional meet and then straight to states (probably competitively the best, but I don't like losing a post season meet) or if they will call the regions "sub-regions" and then have a regional meet and then states (this feels unnecessary, but adds the excitement of a third round). I also fear that the sub-region alignment would end up with state championships with only 6 or 8 teams which doesn't feel "special" to me.

Regardless, here is what I suggest.

In the post season, I'd like to see the number of teams advancing based on 50% of the schools advancing. My logic is this, in other team sports, 50% of the schools advance (one wins, one loses) each round. If you have an odd number of schools I would err on the side of caution and take 5 out of 9 or 6 out of 11. As far as individuals go, I also think this should be based on the number of schools competing.

In order to advance as an individual the traditional number has been top 15, though some meets have switched to the top ten non-inclusive. I don't like non-inclusive because the kids don't know what they have to do.

I have thought about this a lot. Advancing as an individual is hard compared to advancing as part of a strong team. If you're an individual you can't have a bad day and still get to move along. You can't take regionals off if you have a sore ankle and then get plugged back in at states like you can if you're part of a strong team.

I like the idea of taking the number of teams competing and multiplying by 2.5 to determine how many advance as individuals. This would mean a 6 team meet advances the top 15, 7 team meet advances top 18, 8 team meet advances top 20, etc. This is a pretty tough standard (you could multiply by 3 if you wanted an easier standard)

So let's just say you end up in a region with 13 teams (which will be the average number in the new system). You would have to be one of the top 7 teams to advance as a team and one of the top 33 individuals.

You then proceed to a sub-regional which would likely have about 14 teams and I would guess around 16 individuals. 7 would advance as teams and any individual in the top 35. You would end up with around 14 teams at your state meet.

I think if you only had two rounds of the playoffs you'd have to adjust this (maybe taking 1/3 of the teams rounding up instead of 1/2). That would likely get us around 18 teams at states (more would be appropriate since we are losing one post season round, but we wouldn't want the field up at some ridiculous number like 25 teams, I don't think).

I find that most disagreements around the way we take teams really come down to a matter of taste on just how exclusive people think the post season should be and much you think a lone runner running at a school without a strong team around them should be valued. I think my arguments for the number of teams advancing have some pretty sound assumptions holding them up, but there are reasonable arguments for more or fewer qualifying. The actual number of schools and individuals advancing can be just about anything and it wouldn't bother me as long as it's consistent throughout the state.
11/05/2015 7:13:45 AM
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The team scores that were sent in for the 5A South meet are not correct. Only 16 teams (4 conferences x top 4 advancing) could advance but the results submitted to Milestat show 20 boys teams scoring and 19 girls team scoring. This happened because they scored teams with 5 or more individuals advancing as scoring teams. FWIW - The meet director was informed of this.
The team scores that were sent in for the 5A South meet are not correct. Only 16 teams (4 conferences x top 4 advancing) could advance but the results submitted to Milestat show 20 boys teams scoring and 19 girls team scoring. This happened because they scored teams with 5 or more individuals advancing as scoring teams. FWIW - The meet director was informed of this.
11/05/2015 9:50:49 AM
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@VAxcc The team scores that are reported to the meet directors are correct. There were a couple teams that were not "teams" at the regional meet and thus could not advance.
@VAxcc The team scores that are reported to the meet directors are correct. There were a couple teams that were not "teams" at the regional meet and thus could not advance.
11/05/2015 10:24:46 AM
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Obviously they advance some number of individuals after eliminating teams advancing. In the north you have to be top 15 as an individual including advancing teams, so you'd be going as a team anyway if you could put 5 in the top 15.
Obviously they advance some number of individuals after eliminating teams advancing. In the north you have to be top 15 as an individual including advancing teams, so you'd be going as a team anyway if you could put 5 in the top 15.
11/05/2015 10:49:07 AM
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sadly you can not score as a team unless you advance as a team even if you have 5 runners advancing as individuals.
sadly you can not score as a team unless you advance as a team even if you have 5 runners advancing as individuals.
11/05/2015 9:39:13 PM
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And to think none of this would ever have happened had we not gone to 6 divisions. What a STUPID decision that was! Now we have conferences and regions using different standards to advance individuals onward, some giving us situations where a team advances 5 individuals but not a team. This is simply ridiculous! How much I would love to see someone just once admit they made a BAD decision and go back to the way things were. If we truly needed to make changes, then we should have considered 4 divisions, but this 6 division system is a MESS!
And to think none of this would ever have happened had we not gone to 6 divisions. What a STUPID decision that was! Now we have conferences and regions using different standards to advance individuals onward, some giving us situations where a team advances 5 individuals but not a team. This is simply ridiculous! How much I would love to see someone just once admit they made a BAD decision and go back to the way things were. If we truly needed to make changes, then we should have considered 4 divisions, but this 6 division system is a MESS!
11/05/2015 10:30:04 PM
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When we went to 6 Divisions and the new rules for advancing a couple years ago, I posed the question in this forum: Does the changes increase or decrease the chances of the phenomenon of a team advancing 5 qualifiers but not advancing as a team? Many responded the chances of that ocurring were extremely slim. However, MATTYMATH, true to his sobriquet, responded with a full statistical dissertation. But, obviously, he didn't see this coming today. Nor, obviously, did the Milestat database. So, please tell us, since we can't tell from the data records, who was the team that hit this lottery of misfortune and qualified 5, but didn't qualify the team.
When we went to 6 Divisions and the new rules for advancing a couple years ago, I posed the question in this forum: Does the changes increase or decrease the chances of the phenomenon of a team advancing 5 qualifiers but not advancing as a team?

Many responded the chances of that ocurring were extremely slim. However, MATTYMATH, true to his sobriquet, responded with a full statistical dissertation.

But, obviously, he didn't see this coming today.
Nor, obviously, did the Milestat database.
So, please tell us, since we can't tell from the data records, who was the team that hit this lottery of misfortune and qualified 5, but didn't qualify the team.
11/05/2015 11:08:59 PM
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@gilmorep I'm pretty sure it is statistically impossible in a 12+ team meet. Even taking 11-15 that's only 65 pts. It has however happened in smaller districts..... We (heritage) moved on 5 kids in a 5 team district years ago, but didn't qualify as a team. It was definitely hard to swallow!
@gilmorep I'm pretty sure it is statistically impossible in a 12+ team meet. Even taking 11-15 that's only 65 pts. It has however happened in smaller districts..... We (heritage) moved on 5 kids in a 5 team district years ago, but didn't qualify as a team. It was definitely hard to swallow!
11/06/2015 12:01:16 AM
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Woodbridge had 5 boys move on as individual qualifiers in 2013, the first year the new realignment took effect. At the time we were told we could not score as a team, then we were told we could score as a team but at the regional meet we were told again that we could not score since we did not advance as a team. It was an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions and no one seemed to have the right answer, including VHSL. To be honest, if a school can get 5 athletes to move on as individuals then they should be able to score as a team. What would it hurt? and if it is "nearly impossible" for this occurrence to happen then scoring as a team should be allowed since it would be such a rare event.
Woodbridge had 5 boys move on as individual qualifiers in 2013, the first year the new realignment took effect. At the time we were told we could not score as a team, then we were told we could score as a team but at the regional meet we were told again that we could not score since we did not advance as a team. It was an unnecessary roller coaster of emotions and no one seemed to have the right answer, including VHSL. To be honest, if a school can get 5 athletes to move on as individuals then they should be able to score as a team. What would it hurt? and if it is "nearly impossible" for this occurrence to happen then scoring as a team should be allowed since it would be such a rare event.
11/06/2015 6:54:46 AM
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@cawitt Well they are changing things again. I do think the new new realignment is a bit of an admission that they didn't do a good job with the new alignments. We all know cross country is an after thought, but I have always thought that running is running and there's really no need to separate the runners based on the enrollment of schools. Just let the best go out there and race and then since AD's are desperate to declare a team state champion, you can just score it as different races. The way we do it now we often don't get see our two fastest kids in the state even race one another in the state championships. They will never go back to the way things were, because the old system was stupid and needed some changes for the classic team sports--primarily in getting schools to quit playing ridiculously out of their class. The last football titles they had for instance had Briar Woods as the D4 champs and L.C. Bird as the D6 champs. Briar Woods had more students than L.C. Bird, but was playing two division lower.
@cawitt Well they are changing things again.

I do think the new new realignment is a bit of an admission that they didn't do a good job with the new alignments. We all know cross country is an after thought, but I have always thought that running is running and there's really no need to separate the runners based on the enrollment of schools. Just let the best go out there and race and then since AD's are desperate to declare a team state champion, you can just score it as different races. The way we do it now we often don't get see our two fastest kids in the state even race one another in the state championships.

They will never go back to the way things were, because the old system was stupid and needed some changes for the classic team sports--primarily in getting schools to quit playing ridiculously out of their class.

The last football titles they had for instance had Briar Woods as the D4 champs and L.C. Bird as the D6 champs. Briar Woods had more students than L.C. Bird, but was playing two division lower.
11/06/2015 6:56:08 AM
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@gilmorep There apparently were several. I did see this coming when I saw that conferences were going to advance 10 exclusive. I knew it would be nearly impossible if they advanced 15 INCLUSIVE. I really don't care how they do it, but look at North vs. South. 5A South had 146 boys racing. 5A North had 93 boys racing. South had 57% more kids make regionals. I think both regions should have done it like the North, but you can't blame kids in the North for looking at that and wondering why they were excluded from regionals. In the North the slowest girl to be top 5 for her team was 25:39. The slowest at large finisher was 23:51. In the South it was 29:43 and 29:31. Whatever they decide on, let's get a little uniformity, at least between the the regions in the same class.
@gilmorep There apparently were several. I did see this coming when I saw that conferences were going to advance 10 exclusive. I knew it would be nearly impossible if they advanced 15 INCLUSIVE.

I really don't care how they do it, but look at North vs. South.

5A South had 146 boys racing. 5A North had 93 boys racing. South had 57% more kids make regionals. I think both regions should have done it like the North, but you can't blame kids in the North for looking at that and wondering why they were excluded from regionals.

In the North the slowest girl to be top 5 for her team was 25:39. The slowest at large finisher was 23:51.

In the South it was 29:43 and 29:31.

Whatever they decide on, let's get a little uniformity, at least between the the regions in the same class.
11/06/2015 6:57:30 AM
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@gilmorep It was extremely slim if you only advance top 15 runners, not if you advance top 10 exclusive. Then it's close to certain, especially if you are taking 4 teams out of 6 or 4 out of 7 as teams.
@gilmorep

It was extremely slim if you only advance top 15 runners, not if you advance top 10 exclusive. Then it's close to certain, especially if you are taking 4 teams out of 6 or 4 out of 7 as teams.
11/06/2015 7:44:12 AM
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@mattymath In 5A South, Lee Davis qualified 5 individuals out of Conference 11 to Regionals and they would have been the 6th team and advanced to states if that was possible.
@mattymath

In 5A South, Lee Davis qualified 5 individuals out of Conference 11 to Regionals and they would have been the 6th team and advanced to states if that was possible.
11/06/2015 9:12:26 AM
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Once Lee Davis was taken out of the team results, Douglas Freeman Boys moved to 2nd place scoring 83 points to Hickory's 85. Sadly, this wasn't realized until the results were posted to Milestat and the DF Boys were not recognized during the awards presentation.
Once Lee Davis was taken out of the team results, Douglas Freeman Boys moved to 2nd place scoring 83 points to Hickory's 85. Sadly, this wasn't realized until the results were posted to Milestat and the DF Boys were not recognized during the awards presentation.
11/06/2015 10:45:26 AM
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So, a trophy went to the wrong school? Awful. At this point, it's time to take a step back and remind everyone this is all administrative stuff and has nothing to do with the sport. It's just you, your teammates, and the best effort you can bring to the race. Everything else is a distraction. Well done, Lee-Davis. Well done, Douglas Freeman. Well done, Hickory. Well done, Conference 11.
So, a trophy went to the wrong school?
Awful.

At this point, it's time to take a step back and remind everyone this is all administrative stuff and has nothing to do with the sport.

It's just you, your teammates, and the best effort you can bring to the race.
Everything else is a distraction.

Well done, Lee-Davis.
Well done, Douglas Freeman.
Well done, Hickory.
Well done, Conference 11.
11/06/2015 12:20:59 PM
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Yes, this isn't stuff any of the runners should have to worry about.
Yes, this isn't stuff any of the runners should have to worry about.
11/06/2015 12:33:58 PM
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So here's why the two meets looked so different. In 5A North the top three teams in each conference advanced and any runner that was in the top 15 overall. This landed around 3 at-large runners per conference or 10 at large girls and 13 boys.. In 5A south the top four teams in each conference advanced and then the top ten runners NOT ON AN ADVANCING TEAM. That meant 40 at large runners on top of more 4 more teams than the north had. It ended up not quite being 40 because at least one conference didn't even have 10 runners beyond the 4 teams (in other words every kid in the conference qualified for the region). That's why I suggest determining how many kids advance based on the number of teams and not a set number.
So here's why the two meets looked so different.

In 5A North the top three teams in each conference advanced and any runner that was in the top 15 overall. This landed around 3 at-large runners per conference or 10 at large girls and 13 boys..

In 5A south the top four teams in each conference advanced and then the top ten runners NOT ON AN ADVANCING TEAM. That meant 40 at large runners on top of more 4 more teams than the north had. It ended up not quite being 40 because at least one conference didn't even have 10 runners beyond the 4 teams (in other words every kid in the conference qualified for the region).

That's why I suggest determining how many kids advance based on the number of teams and not a set number.
11/07/2015 10:45:49 AM
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If VHSL goes to 4 regions per division, then here's my two cents on how the new XC region and state meets should work. Hold XC district/conference meets at the discretion of each district/conference for the sole purpose to determine district/conference champions, runner up, third place, etc.. All teams in a region compete in the region meet. My understudying is that each region will have about 16 teams. A 16 team regional meet is manegable; there is no need to have a qualifying meet to reduce the number of teams in a 16 team region meet. Each region should advance 4 teams and the top 15 individuals to the state meet. 4 teams should advance to state from regions because Great Meadows can accommodate 16 teams in a race and a 16 team race is a good size. Top 15 individuals should advance because the purpose of advancing individuals is allow the fastest individuals to compete for the individual state champion title and "All State" honors (top 15 in the State Meet race). The state meet does not provide awards to the top individuals not on a team and thus there is no purpose to advance the top 10 individuals not on a team. The fastest individuals that deserve to be in the state meet will be one of the first 15 individuals in the region meet.
If VHSL goes to 4 regions per division, then here's my two cents on how the new XC region and state meets should work.

Hold XC district/conference meets at the discretion of each district/conference for the sole purpose to determine district/conference champions, runner up, third place, etc..

All teams in a region compete in the region meet. My understudying is that each region will have about 16 teams. A 16 team regional meet is manegable; there is no need to have a qualifying meet to reduce the number of teams in a 16 team region meet.

Each region should advance 4 teams and the top 15 individuals to the state meet.

4 teams should advance to state from regions because Great Meadows can accommodate 16 teams in a race and a 16 team race is a good size.

Top 15 individuals should advance because the purpose of advancing individuals is allow the fastest individuals to compete for the individual state champion title and "All State" honors (top 15 in the State Meet race). The state meet does not provide awards to the top individuals not on a team and thus there is no purpose to advance the top 10 individuals not on a team. The fastest individuals that deserve to be in the state meet will be one of the first 15 individuals in the region meet.
11/08/2015 8:05:38 PM
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I would be fine with your plan. I might want to take a little more than top 15 runners, but the number advancing is just personal preference. No right or wrong on how to do it.
I would be fine with your plan. I might want to take a little more than top 15 runners, but the number advancing is just personal preference. No right or wrong on how to do it.
11/09/2015 7:24:38 PM
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What I was shocked to find out today, regarding post season play, is that 32 of the approx 50 division 3 football teams make the post season (probably is the same for all divisions). This is absolutely absurd! Our team is playing a first round game against a team that went 3-7! 3-7! I'm sorry, but VHSL just doesn't have a clue. Again I will say, the move to 6 divisions was such a bad move and so poorly thought out! Now, back to cross-country, I agree with taking only top 15 individuals to states, no more.
What I was shocked to find out today, regarding post season play, is that 32 of the approx 50 division 3 football teams make the post season (probably is the same for all divisions). This is absolutely absurd! Our team is playing a first round game against a team that went 3-7! 3-7! I'm sorry, but VHSL just doesn't have a clue. Again I will say, the move to 6 divisions was such a bad move and so poorly thought out! Now, back to cross-country, I agree with taking only top 15 individuals to states, no more.

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