How to Improve Virginia HS Track
07/19/2016 10:20:56 AM
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How can we possibly improve Virginia High School Track? How can it possibly get any better? Here's a few ideas: 1.) Sprint Medley and Distance Medley official events at VHSL meets. Tidewater schools will develop middle distance runners. Northern Virginia schools will develop more sprinters. As a matter of fact, this would be good for the sport everywhere. East African nations forced to develop sprinters. West African and Caribbean nations forced to develop distance runners. Everyone improves. 2.) Fully Automatic Timing (FAT) at all Wednesday night meets Not every school can afford a FAT system, but every Conference can. Give coaches and athletes a FAT system enabling a state qualifier on a Wednesday meet and you'll give everyone a reason to show up with talent on Wednesdays. (or whatever weekday you hold your intra conference meets.) 3. Bring back the Junior Varsity. What ever happened to Junior Varsity? We need a formal competitive forum for developing young talent. How many 9th graders stop showing up after a season of frustration? Give them a developmental program and a Junior Varsity Championship and keep them in the game. 4. More regional championships (e.g. County Championships or Tidewater Championships) A cross town rivalry is a catalyst to greatness. In VHSL, many of our natural rivalries are divided among various classes. Find room in the schedule for a County or Regional championship to bring the local rivalries together. Not only will the talent show up, but so will the crowd and local media. 5. More football players on the track and in the ring The emergence of the year round "focus" on a single sport is a huge step backward. Many in the football world agree: Urban Meyer of Ohio State says he will never recruit a single sport athlete. See that wide receiver from Oregon win the Olympic trails hurdles? Every wide receiver should be a sprinter/hurdler. Every offensive lineman should throw shot/discus. Your 4 X 100 team should include some combination of wide receivers, deep safeties, and tailbacks. Keep the competitive edge and full body fitness with variety and diverse accomplishments fostered by different competitive activities. While we're discussing it, let's see more distance runners in the pool. Get that cardio vascular development without the trauma to the joints. Just a few thoughts on improving what is already a great thing.
How can we possibly improve Virginia High School Track?
How can it possibly get any better?

Here's a few ideas:

1.) Sprint Medley and Distance Medley official events at VHSL meets.

Tidewater schools will develop middle distance runners.
Northern Virginia schools will develop more sprinters.
As a matter of fact, this would be good for the sport everywhere. East African nations forced to develop sprinters. West African and Caribbean nations forced to develop distance runners. Everyone improves.

2.) Fully Automatic Timing (FAT) at all Wednesday night meets

Not every school can afford a FAT system, but every Conference can. Give coaches and athletes a FAT system enabling a state qualifier on a Wednesday meet and you'll give everyone a reason to show up with talent on Wednesdays. (or whatever weekday you hold your intra conference meets.)

3. Bring back the Junior Varsity.

What ever happened to Junior Varsity? We need a formal competitive forum for developing young talent. How many 9th graders stop showing up after a season of frustration? Give them a developmental program and a Junior Varsity Championship and keep them in the game.

4. More regional championships (e.g. County Championships or Tidewater Championships)

A cross town rivalry is a catalyst to greatness. In VHSL, many of our natural rivalries are divided among various classes. Find room in the schedule for a County or Regional championship to bring the local rivalries together. Not only will the talent show up, but so will the crowd and local media.

5. More football players on the track and in the ring

The emergence of the year round "focus" on a single sport is a huge step backward. Many in the football world agree: Urban Meyer of Ohio State says he will never recruit a single sport athlete.

See that wide receiver from Oregon win the Olympic trails hurdles?
Every wide receiver should be a sprinter/hurdler.
Every offensive lineman should throw shot/discus.
Your 4 X 100 team should include some combination of wide receivers, deep safeties, and tailbacks.

Keep the competitive edge and full body fitness with variety and diverse accomplishments fostered by different competitive activities.

While we're discussing it, let's see more distance runners in the pool. Get that cardio vascular development without the trauma to the joints.

Just a few thoughts on improving what is already a great thing.
07/21/2016 7:22:52 AM
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Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 80
Like the thought of looking at what we have and making changes for the betterment of the sport. 1. DMR/SMR Love the relays as they are team events. Not sure we need another sprint event added as the events are unbalanced as it is. (1,2,4,100h, 300ih and 2 relays vs 8,16,32 and 1 relay) field events also tend to be the domain of the speed merchants. I like what a few states do with the relays - SCORE THEM DOUBLE. You are using 4 athletes to get same points in the current system. 2 & 3. Wednesday night meets- in my area are already long on a school night. FAT will make that longer. Lets not worry about the state qualifiers on these evenings - let's make it a JV team scored event. 4. Biggest and best change we could make in my opinion is to change our participation rule to something that makes more sense. Unlimited field and 3 running allows for a single athlete to dominate the scoring. Doesn't promote team. Most states and the national federation cap events at 3 or 4. This forces you to have a full team rather than a single stud. Biggest argument I hear is that small school will have a tough time fielding a team. Maggie Walker is pretty small school size and I am pretty sure they have a full team. 5. Outside the box thought. If you want to truly make it a team event- only allow the top 2 team from each conference to advance to the region meets as scoring teams. All other qualifiers are individuals like cross country. In our current set up (which will change after this year) you would then take the top 4 teams from region to states. Each meet would be close to 8 teams. You could build some rivalries and maybe interest some people from outside the sport. Think about how hard it is to get the local press interested in the state track meet when they can't figure out why the team that scored 50 points (by one athlete) at their conference meet and finished 5th and then 50 points again at the region (same athlete) and came in 6th or so is the favorite for a state TEAM title. My 2 cents
Like the thought of looking at what we have and making changes for the betterment of the sport.
1. DMR/SMR Love the relays as they are team events. Not sure we need another sprint event added as the events are unbalanced as it is. (1,2,4,100h, 300ih and 2 relays vs 8,16,32 and 1 relay) field events also tend to be the domain of the speed merchants. I like what a few states do with the relays - SCORE THEM DOUBLE. You are using 4 athletes to get same points in the current system.

2 & 3. Wednesday night meets- in my area are already long on a school night. FAT will make that longer. Lets not worry about the state qualifiers on these evenings - let's make it a JV team scored event.

4. Biggest and best change we could make in my opinion is to change our participation rule to something that makes more sense. Unlimited field and 3 running allows for a single athlete to dominate the scoring. Doesn't promote team. Most states and the national federation cap events at 3 or 4. This forces you to have a full team rather than a single stud. Biggest argument I hear is that small school will have a tough time fielding a team. Maggie Walker is pretty small school size and I am pretty sure they have a full team.

5. Outside the box thought. If you want to truly make it a team event- only allow the top 2 team from each conference to advance to the region meets as scoring teams. All other qualifiers are individuals like cross country. In our current set up (which will change after this year) you would then take the top 4 teams from region to states. Each meet would be close to 8 teams. You could build some rivalries and maybe interest some people from outside the sport. Think about how hard it is to get the local press interested in the state track meet when they can't figure out why the team that scored 50 points (by one athlete) at their conference meet and finished 5th and then 50 points again at the region (same athlete) and came in 6th or so is the favorite for a state TEAM title.

My 2 cents
07/21/2016 9:19:23 PM
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I'm not necessarily averse to the doubling of relays....might make it worth it as a strategy to load relays, if you are in it for the team title. I'll say one thing I would love, but is difficult....I would love to see a high quality relay only meet (similar to the Legard Relays, or the older District Relay formats), but run later in the season, when teams are actually in shape, and might be used for either qualifiers, or record attempts with loaded teams. There are few opportunities to run events like SMR/DMR, or shuttle relays, etc other than early in the season, or at Nationals. I realize that come late in the regular season, your emphasis is on getting your last qualifiers for the post-season, but I know that it is always fun to run some of these different events, or load up certain relays when your athletes are really ready to fly, but you (or your competitors) are otherwise pulled away by needing to do other individual events. Your idea regarding state qualifying is interesting....I'm assuming that individuals could still qualify for states, but in your model, only 8 teams can vie for the championship? (like in cross country??)
I'm not necessarily averse to the doubling of relays....might make it worth it as a strategy to load relays, if you are in it for the team title.

I'll say one thing I would love, but is difficult....I would love to see a high quality relay only meet (similar to the Legard Relays, or the older District Relay formats), but run later in the season, when teams are actually in shape, and might be used for either qualifiers, or record attempts with loaded teams. There are few opportunities to run events like SMR/DMR, or shuttle relays, etc other than early in the season, or at Nationals.

I realize that come late in the regular season, your emphasis is on getting your last qualifiers for the post-season, but I know that it is always fun to run some of these different events, or load up certain relays when your athletes are really ready to fly, but you (or your competitors) are otherwise pulled away by needing to do other individual events.

Your idea regarding state qualifying is interesting....I'm assuming that individuals could still qualify for states, but in your model, only 8 teams can vie for the championship? (like in cross country??)
07/22/2016 7:03:36 AM
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Joined: Mar 2005
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Yes - individuals still qualify for state either by place or time. Like in cross country though, they do not score team points or displace other competitors. With the shift to 4 regions per division after this year, it would lead to an 8 team state meet. Each school that advances gets 2 or 3 entries in every event unless they have extra qualfiers. Adds approximately 2 sections to lane events and 1 section to distance events compared to how the meet runs now.
Yes - individuals still qualify for state either by place or time. Like in cross country though, they do not score team points or displace other competitors. With the shift to 4 regions per division after this year, it would lead to an 8 team state meet. Each school that advances gets 2 or 3 entries in every event unless they have extra qualfiers. Adds approximately 2 sections to lane events and 1 section to distance events compared to how the meet runs now.
07/23/2016 2:55:50 PM
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Joined: Feb 2009
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I like the team post-season scoring idea, but adding extra sections to an already long state meet would be rough....unless they would use 6 different venues for the 6 classifications, which would be a perfect solution.
I like the team post-season scoring idea, but adding extra sections to an already long state meet would be rough....unless they would use 6 different venues for the 6 classifications, which would be a perfect solution.
07/25/2016 8:45:16 AM
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Of all the good ideas mentioned so far, the most logical and easiest to execute is the doubling of points for relays. That's the way I grew up. Why should 4 runners' efforts be valued the same as a single runner? Best of all: Costs $0 to implement the change.
Of all the good ideas mentioned so far, the most logical and easiest to execute is the doubling of points for relays.

That's the way I grew up. Why should 4 runners' efforts be valued the same as a single runner?

Best of all: Costs $0 to implement the change.
07/27/2016 12:29:55 PM
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The VTCA is the forum for these ideas to come to fruition. As the organization that represents coaches of the sport; if and when recommendations are presented to the VHSL the opportunity for them to become a reality is increased exponentially as our partnership grows.
The VTCA is the forum for these ideas to come to fruition. As the organization that represents coaches of the sport; if and when recommendations are presented to the VHSL the opportunity for them to become a reality is increased exponentially as our partnership grows.
07/31/2016 10:01:24 PM
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Joined: Jul 2016
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The questions were How can we possibly improve Virginia High School Track? How can it possibly get any better? These questions are not unique to Virginia High School Track. Vin Lananna just hosted the TrackTown Summer Series meet where they tried to add a team component to a pro meet (Team NY, Team San Fran, Team Philly, Team Portland). I admire the effort and agree with trying to build the team competition into the meet. I hope his long term goal is to have cities to have track teams similar to how cities have football and baseball teams. I watched the TrackTown Summer Series meet and hope Vin Lananna takes away some lessons learned from the meet. The biggest lesson I hope he takes away is the meet needs more relays. Nothing speaks of team competition in track as racing relays. What is the biggest regular season track meet in the US? Penn Relays. What does that meet emphasize? I personally think that if the TrackTown Summer Series wants to survive and thrive it should schedule more relay events, maybe even use a format similar to the Legard Relays format. It is a lot easier for a community to get behind a team, than individuals. I will post later on how I think we can improve Virginia High School Track.
The questions were

How can we possibly improve Virginia High School Track?
How can it possibly get any better?

These questions are not unique to Virginia High School Track. Vin Lananna just hosted the TrackTown Summer Series meet where they tried to add a team component to a pro meet (Team NY, Team San Fran, Team Philly, Team Portland). I admire the effort and agree with trying to build the team competition into the meet. I hope his long term goal is to have cities to have track teams similar to how cities have football and baseball teams. I watched the TrackTown Summer Series meet and hope Vin Lananna takes away some lessons learned from the meet. The biggest lesson I hope he takes away is the meet needs more relays. Nothing speaks of team competition in track as racing relays. What is the biggest regular season track meet in the US? Penn Relays. What does that meet emphasize? I personally think that if the TrackTown Summer Series wants to survive and thrive it should schedule more relay events, maybe even use a format similar to the Legard Relays format.

It is a lot easier for a community to get behind a team, than individuals.

I will post later on how I think we can improve Virginia High School Track.
09/19/2016 9:00:10 PM
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Joined: Sep 2010
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Back when I was in high school, the conference had two track championship meets -- in addition to the traditional championship -- there was a relay championship awarded where each athlete could only compete in ONE event. Made depth important.
Back when I was in high school, the conference had two track championship meets -- in addition to the traditional championship -- there was a relay championship awarded where each athlete could only compete in ONE event. Made depth important.
10/18/2016 11:31:29 AM
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My concern would be that they don't mess things up with the new alignment starting in 2017-2018. Most of what I hear is that Regions will be all in and each school gets 2 entries in each individual event (not counting athletes that have met standards). That is really going to hurt small schools and participation. I could actually see it hurting large schools as well. I don't see how districts could really be used for anything postseason except team sports with multilevel districts
My concern would be that they don't mess things up with the new alignment starting in 2017-2018. Most of what I hear is that Regions will be all in and each school gets 2 entries in each individual event (not counting athletes that have met standards). That is really going to hurt small schools and participation. I could actually see it hurting large schools as well. I don't see how districts could really be used for anything postseason except team sports with multilevel districts

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