Do you want lots of room on your starting line? Welcome to the realization of your dreams!
Back in the spring, the date was set for Small School Cross Country Nationals at November 20. The date hasn't changed, though almost everything around it has.
The best date for a small-school nationals meet was then, and still remains, the last Saturday before Thanksgiving. It falls after the overwhelming majority of state cross country meets without pushing any further than necessary into winter sports season-when many small schools would lose top runners to basketball, wrestling, hockey, and swimming.
Since this spring's commitment to hosting a small-school nationals meet, the course at Lubbock Christian University has repeatedly proven itself able to handle very large meets and very large groups on the starting line. It also affords the competitors 550 meters of wide-open terrain, with minimal funneling, to set up positions before entering the first turn.
Once out on the course, competitors will find they are running on Bermuda grass with zero hard surface, on a mostly flat course that promises some outstanding times, and on a course that is wide enough for competitors to maneuver through the full 5000 meters. A national championship meet should not be compromised by congestion. This one won't be.
Spectators will enjoy the fact that they can view almost the entire race from any of several vantage points around the perimeter of the course. For some parts of the race, binoculars might be a useful--though not wholly necessary--accessory.
It remains to be seen if one set of championship races or two will be required to satisfy the demand at the inaugural running of the Small School Cross Country Nationals in Lubbock, Texas. If two sets will be required, the field of teams will be split, roughly down the middle, by school size. Current levels of inquiries about the meet suggest it is likely there will be two divisions of championship races.
The meet is open to all schools--public, private, and charter--with enrollment of less than 1000 willing to sign up, make the trip, and show up on the starting line. Eighth graders will be allowed to participate if their state association allows them to participate, but a multiplier of 1.25 will be applied to those teams. Teams will participate under club names only but must be comprised solely of runners from the same school who were fully eligible to participate with their school teams the entire season. Small School XC Nationals endorses the intent of the transfer rules of the various state associations.
Registration is now open at the meet's page on MileSplit (LINK). Registration is $25 per athlete with a per-team maximum of $450. Although this is primarily a team event, individual registration is also available for athletes from schools meeting the enrollment limits. Expect registration to start making large moves and filling up rapidly as we approach the latter half of October and teams become a little more settled on which individuals they will be bringing to the meet.
There will also be open races (no divisions) for members of teams coming to the meet that exceed the standard varsity seven.
Teams that register under a school name will be contacted prior to the meet for the club name they wish to run under. Many programs already have a club name loosely associated with the school program and are encouraged to register under that club name.
A live stream of the meet will be available through MileSplit.
For more detail and ongoing updates about the meet plans, please consult the meet's home website (LINK).
It's a dedicated cross country course. The finish line is marked by a permanent structure.