Individual State Qualifiers
11/16/2009 1:34:30 PM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 14
Once upon a time, a region's top 7 Individuals not on a qualifying team would advance to the state meet. This rule changed in the fall of 2001 to only individuals in the top 15 of the region, regardless of the region's strength. 5 years ago, I coached a boy who finished 15th in the regional in a respectable 17:49. He advanced to the state meet. This year, in a significantly tougher region, 17:49 would have garnered 41st place. Our region advanced only 2 individuals not on qualifying teams (Durango's Rogan Brown - 16:06 - and Fountain Fort-Carson's Jimmy Snare - 17:01) yet denied four more individuals who ran under 17:30. Recognizing RBG's contention that we don't want to "dilute the quality" of the state meet, what's wrong with going back to the old system? Is there any way to get back to recognizing the individual accomplishments of athletes rather than just those fortunate enough to have 4 teammates who also get out and pound the trail all summer?
Once upon a time, a region's top 7 Individuals not on a qualifying team would advance to the state meet. This rule changed in the fall of 2001 to only individuals in the top 15 of the region, regardless of the region's strength.

5 years ago, I coached a boy who finished 15th in the regional in a respectable 17:49. He advanced to the state meet. This year, in a significantly tougher region, 17:49 would have garnered 41st place.

Our region advanced only 2 individuals not on qualifying teams (Durango's Rogan Brown - 16:06 - and Fountain Fort-Carson's Jimmy Snare - 17:01) yet denied four more individuals who ran under 17:30.

Recognizing RBG's contention that we don't want to "dilute the quality" of the state meet, what's wrong with going back to the old system? Is there any way to get back to recognizing the individual accomplishments of athletes rather than just those fortunate enough to have 4 teammates who also get out and pound the trail all summer?
11/18/2009 10:10:02 AM
Coach
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 13
I agree completelty. In region 2 at chatfield which isnt the fast of a course in the mud so it was extra slow on the region day 15th was a 17:00 and in that region the top 5 teams went top 11 at state with the top 2 teams in the state. To be an idvidual to get out of this region it took a big effort and alot of work. It should be the next 5 indivuduals that arent on a state team or something along those lines
I agree completelty. In region 2 at chatfield which isnt the fast of a course in the mud so it was extra slow on the region day 15th was a 17:00 and in that region the top 5 teams went top 11 at state with the top 2 teams in the state. To be an idvidual to get out of this region it took a big effort and alot of work. It should be the next 5 indivuduals that arent on a state team or something along those lines
11/18/2009 5:03:08 PM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 114
Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect solution. Every year it seems there is a region, or two, that is/are more difficult than others. I've been coaching for a long time (16 years) and our teams have experienced both situations, i.e. difficult and easy regions. I suppose it evens out over time. Then again, it's easier for me to be patient, having coached for some time, as compared to an athlete who may only have one or two chances during their high school career.
Unfortunately, there isn't a perfect solution. Every year it seems there is a region, or two, that is/are more difficult than others. I've been coaching for a long time (16 years) and our teams have experienced both situations, i.e. difficult and easy regions.

I suppose it evens out over time. Then again, it's easier for me to be patient, having coached for some time, as compared to an athlete who may only have one or two chances during their high school career.
11/19/2009 10:02:05 AM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 14
I think that because this is a common, annual situation, that a more open system that rewards individual athletes is a better option. Better to let in a few kids who run pretty good times in weak regions each year than to exclude kids with really good times from hard regions.
I think that because this is a common, annual situation, that a more open system that rewards individual athletes is a better option. Better to let in a few kids who run pretty good times in weak regions each year than to exclude kids with really good times from hard regions.
11/19/2009 12:18:27 PM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 114
I hear you guys, but my point is that one cannot predict, on a year to year basis (and especially not at the time that the Regional cycle is set by CHSAA), which Regions are going to be more difficult than others. Now of course there are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but even then it is not an exact science.
I hear you guys, but my point is that one cannot predict, on a year to year basis (and especially not at the time that the Regional cycle is set by CHSAA), which Regions are going to be more difficult than others. Now of course there are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but even then it is not an exact science.
11/19/2009 1:33:22 PM
User
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 15
The rationale for the rule change as I remember it was that they didn't feel it necessary to "let" a kid in to the State Meet who was "at best" probably going to place no better than 50th anyway. I am using quotation marks to emphasize that they were NOT my words. I remember saying at the State Clinic that I felt I built my team (my first year we had 20 kids) by first getting a State qualifier or two, then use that as something to build upon. It raised my athletes' self-efficacy to see it was possible to get there. It was made clear to me that the State Meet wasn't designed for that. I never really liked the regional system, because there was no opportunity to earn points to get to State if you didn't auto qualify (if you are in a tough region, etc.). I was told that the State Meet was supposed to mimic the NCAA Meet, but it seemed to me that only certain things were chosen to mimic it, and other things that helped kids were thrown out (point system). We had 4 individual qualifiers one year, meaning we were pretty good (5 or 6 guys around 16:50-17:05), and couldn't get that team to State. I remember seeing a team we had beaten easily on multiple occasions get 6th or 7th at the State Meet that year. A point system should be in place, and if coaches choose to sit athletes at a certain meet, other teams that beat them shouldn't be penalized. This isn't designed as a complaint--it should be difficult to get to the State Meet. But if they are advertising the State Meet as being built on the NCAA template, then I feel that they should do that as closely as possible. Just my thoughts...
The rationale for the rule change as I remember it was that they didn't feel it necessary to "let" a kid in to the State Meet who was "at best" probably going to place no better than 50th anyway. I am using quotation marks to emphasize that they were NOT my words. I remember saying at the State Clinic that I felt I built my team (my first year we had 20 kids) by first getting a State qualifier or two, then use that as something to build upon. It raised my athletes' self-efficacy to see it was possible to get there. It was made clear to me that the State Meet wasn't designed for that. I never really liked the regional system, because there was no opportunity to earn points to get to State if you didn't auto qualify (if you are in a tough region, etc.). I was told that the State Meet was supposed to mimic the NCAA Meet, but it seemed to me that only certain things were chosen to mimic it, and other things that helped kids were thrown out (point system). We had 4 individual qualifiers one year, meaning we were pretty good (5 or 6 guys around 16:50-17:05), and couldn't get that team to State. I remember seeing a team we had beaten easily on multiple occasions get 6th or 7th at the State Meet that year. A point system should be in place, and if coaches choose to sit athletes at a certain meet, other teams that beat them shouldn't be penalized. This isn't designed as a complaint--it should be difficult to get to the State Meet. But if they are advertising the State Meet as being built on the NCAA template, then I feel that they should do that as closely as possible. Just my thoughts...
11/19/2009 3:09:34 PM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 130
It is an excellent point that to build a quality program, you have to start somewhere, and taking a kid or two to state is a great start. I know that's how our team got going. I would make a guess here, but I bet in most regions, the 7th place runner not on a team going to state, performed better than the 4th or 5th runner on a couple of teams that made it, and don't forget that the 6th and 7th place kids on those teams get to run. What I think is, we should put what is good for our kids first, last and always, and I am not sure that this is the motivation for a few of the things we do in the name of quality competition. If Michael's proposal is a good idea, it will still probably die on the vine for lack of exposure at the level that can make changes happen. I know when I brought up the fact that we are just about the only ones in the world who score our meets the way we do, it was quickly pushed aside. (Not on this forum but at a meeting with the person who could really influence decisions) It is also a good point that if we want to mimic NCAA, then we should and not pick and choose. For example, Division 1 has gone back to regional qualifications for the Nationals, almost exactly what we had 2 years ago. Anyway, any ideas on how to at least get this issue heard at a level that can make a decsion?
It is an excellent point that to build a quality program, you have to start somewhere, and taking a kid or two to state is a great start. I know that's how our team got going. I would make a guess here, but I bet in most regions, the 7th place runner not on a team going to state, performed better than the 4th or 5th runner on a couple of teams that made it, and don't forget that the 6th and 7th place kids on those teams get to run. What I think is, we should put what is good for our kids first, last and always, and I am not sure that this is the motivation for a few of the things we do in the name of quality competition. If Michael's proposal is a good idea, it will still probably die on the vine for lack of exposure at the level that can make changes happen. I know when I brought up the fact that we are just about the only ones in the world who score our meets the way we do, it was quickly pushed aside. (Not on this forum but at a meeting with the person who could really influence decisions) It is also a good point that if we want to mimic NCAA, then we should and not pick and choose. For example, Division 1 has gone back to regional qualifications for the Nationals, almost exactly what we had 2 years ago. Anyway, any ideas on how to at least get this issue heard at a level that can make a decsion?
11/19/2009 7:05:15 PM
Admin
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3131
[quote=snowshoe]I hear you guys, but my point is that one cannot predict, on a year to year basis (and especially not at the time that the Regional cycle is set by CHSAA), which Regions are going to be more difficult than others. Now of course there are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but even then it is not an exact science.[/quote] Sitting here in the airport--bored--waiting for a flight, so I thought I'd chime in on this issue... There are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but it is not an exact science. Cherokee Trail this year is a good case in point. A very good team, senior laden, no long-stading history. Will they be a power again next year? My hunch is they'll be very good but maybe not as good as this year (no offense intended to any team members who have their hearts and wills set to the contrary). And, even if Cherokee Trail had a long history, how much of the history hinges on a coach who has no obligation to stay from year to year? If you stick with the current set of five regions for 4A and 5A and four regions for 2A and 3A, it's really difficult to maintain any sort of geographical integrity [i]and[/i] keep all the traditional powers, not to mention the ones that will arise in the next two year, evenly distributed. There are, as yet, no traditional powers in 2A. In 3A, this year's region 2 pitted the top two boys teams and three of the top five girls teams. Maybe you could argue to place Salida in a western slope region, but who saw this coming two years ago? And what if Salida really would rather be in the region with the Colorado Springs teams? Similarly with the 4A region that has all the "traditional" girls powers from this decade--Greeley West, Greeley Central, Thompson Valley, and so on. There is no geographically sound means of splitting up this region. All that to say, I don't think you can accomplish the desired goal by regional alignment alone. I think any reasonable solution requires something like what Greg was suggesting--a point system. Almost like football has wild card points. The danger there, though, is that lots of teams run partial varsity or sub-varsity lineups every other week or so. Or, if they're running varsity, they may be running a threshold or "training through." How do you distinguish those from what's simply a bad race? It would take a pretty smart guy (or gal!) to sort all that out. In short, whereas every football game played has playoff implications, I doubt any of us want every cross country meet to have state meet implications. I can promise that I'd schedule a whole lot less meets if that were the case and the losers in that scenario would be the sub-varsity runners on our squad who wouldn't get any varsity meet experience (and probably less sub-varsity experience as well). Although the current system has its faults, I'm still inclined to stick with it until I see some more practical alternatives. But, I confess, the discussion intrigues me. What high school cross country coach hasn't given thought to make the state selection process a more discriminating process?
snowshoe wrote:
I hear you guys, but my point is that one cannot predict, on a year to year basis (and especially not at the time that the Regional cycle is set by CHSAA), which Regions are going to be more difficult than others. Now of course there are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but even then it is not an exact science.


Sitting here in the airport--bored--waiting for a flight, so I thought I'd chime in on this issue...

There are teams that have traditionally strong programs, but it is not an exact science.

Cherokee Trail this year is a good case in point. A very good team, senior laden, no long-stading history. Will they be a power again next year? My hunch is they'll be very good but maybe not as good as this year (no offense intended to any team members who have their hearts and wills set to the contrary). And, even if Cherokee Trail had a long history, how much of the history hinges on a coach who has no obligation to stay from year to year?

If you stick with the current set of five regions for 4A and 5A and four regions for 2A and 3A, it's really difficult to maintain any sort of geographical integrity and keep all the traditional powers, not to mention the ones that will arise in the next two year, evenly distributed.

There are, as yet, no traditional powers in 2A. In 3A, this year's region 2 pitted the top two boys teams and three of the top five girls teams. Maybe you could argue to place Salida in a western slope region, but who saw this coming two years ago? And what if Salida really would rather be in the region with the Colorado Springs teams?

Similarly with the 4A region that has all the "traditional" girls powers from this decade--Greeley West, Greeley Central, Thompson Valley, and so on. There is no geographically sound means of splitting up this region.

All that to say, I don't think you can accomplish the desired goal by regional alignment alone. I think any reasonable solution requires something like what Greg was suggesting--a point system. Almost like football has wild card points.

The danger there, though, is that lots of teams run partial varsity or sub-varsity lineups every other week or so. Or, if they're running varsity, they may be running a threshold or "training through." How do you distinguish those from what's simply a bad race? It would take a pretty smart guy (or gal!) to sort all that out. In short, whereas every football game played has playoff implications, I doubt any of us want every cross country meet to have state meet implications. I can promise that I'd schedule a whole lot less meets if that were the case and the losers in that scenario would be the sub-varsity runners on our squad who wouldn't get any varsity meet experience (and probably less sub-varsity experience as well).

Although the current system has its faults, I'm still inclined to stick with it until I see some more practical alternatives. But, I confess, the discussion intrigues me. What high school cross country coach hasn't given thought to make the state selection process a more discriminating process?
11/20/2009 9:53:07 AM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 130
The State of Georgia had a similar issue about 15 years ago. There, only the top 2 teams in each region advance to State, and there were regions that often had more than 2 deserving teams. Our solution worked very nicely there and perhaps we could at least look at it for Colorado. What we did was designate certain meets, based on their application, as qualifying meets. Then established a total team time for that race course that if a team was lower than that, they qualified. For example, "The Great Race" in New Albany CO is a qualifying meet. The State Cross Country Committee established a total team time for girls on that race course at 1:38:15. Any girls team that had a total team time less than that automatically qualified for the state meet. (The above meet is totally fictitious). Did this increase the field at the State Meet? Yes, but only by a couple of teams per class. What it did do, and we had not anticipated this, was make the State Meet a MUCH better meet. A quality team that made the field in the middle of the season, did not have to worry about placing in the top 2 at region and could concentrate and peak for State. Normally, even not placing a great emphasis on region, the quality teams still finished in the top 2 at region championships. For individuals, I still think the top 5 or 7 or whatever at Region that are not on a qualifying team should be advanced to the state meet.
The State of Georgia had a similar issue about 15 years ago. There, only the top 2 teams in each region advance to State, and there were regions that often had more than 2 deserving teams. Our solution worked very nicely there and perhaps we could at least look at it for Colorado. What we did was designate certain meets, based on their application, as qualifying meets. Then established a total team time for that race course that if a team was lower than that, they qualified. For example, "The Great Race" in New Albany CO is a qualifying meet. The State Cross Country Committee established a total team time for girls on that race course at 1:38:15. Any girls team that had a total team time less than that automatically qualified for the state meet. (The above meet is totally fictitious). Did this increase the field at the State Meet? Yes, but only by a couple of teams per class. What it did do, and we had not anticipated this, was make the State Meet a MUCH better meet. A quality team that made the field in the middle of the season, did not have to worry about placing in the top 2 at region and could concentrate and peak for State. Normally, even not placing a great emphasis on region, the quality teams still finished in the top 2 at region championships. For individuals, I still think the top 5 or 7 or whatever at Region that are not on a qualifying team should be advanced to the state meet.
11/20/2009 2:34:12 PM
User
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 15
If CHSAA is so concerned about "dilution of field", why do we have 4 classifications in Colorado now? Especially with our overall population? Not trying to offend small schools coaches, but adding a 2A division automatically diluted the field.
If CHSAA is so concerned about "dilution of field", why do we have 4 classifications in Colorado now? Especially with our overall population? Not trying to offend small schools coaches, but adding a 2A division automatically diluted the field.
11/20/2009 3:23:20 PM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 175
I'm not a cross country coach (for hs anyway) so I may not be in a position to respond but wouldn't it be possible to have a qualifying procedure similar to NCAA. Couldn't you have a certain number of teams qualify out of regionals (3 for example) and then have the cross country committee choose a certain number of "at large" teams based upon their subjective decision. Although it is subjective, I believe that the cc committee is knowledgable enough to pick the teams that should be in the state meet. Obviously they would use performances from the season to determine qualifiers.
I'm not a cross country coach (for hs anyway) so I may not be in a position to respond but wouldn't it be possible to have a qualifying procedure similar to NCAA. Couldn't you have a certain number of teams qualify out of regionals (3 for example) and then have the cross country committee choose a certain number of "at large" teams based upon their subjective decision. Although it is subjective, I believe that the cc committee is knowledgable enough to pick the teams that should be in the state meet. Obviously they would use performances from the season to determine qualifiers.
11/20/2009 3:27:18 PM
Admin
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3131
I agree with Greg about four classifications, but the way CHSAA breaks classifications for all sports except football doesn't work so well for cross country. In my "perfect world," there would be three cross country classifications in Colorado. One class (run 6, score 4) cover up to about 300 students. From about 300 to about 1000, we'd run 7 and score 5, and over 1000, we'd do the same thing. I like it that the small schools have a classification in Colorado, but I'm not at all a big fan of run 5, score 3. That produces some strange effects, particularly when the overall field is small--as it currently is in 2A. With the 2A breakpoint going up to 255 next year, I think we'll see a much stronger, and a little larger, 2A field.
I agree with Greg about four classifications, but the way CHSAA breaks classifications for all sports except football doesn't work so well for cross country. In my "perfect world," there would be three cross country classifications in Colorado. One class (run 6, score 4) cover up to about 300 students. From about 300 to about 1000, we'd run 7 and score 5, and over 1000, we'd do the same thing.

I like it that the small schools have a classification in Colorado, but I'm not at all a big fan of run 5, score 3. That produces some strange effects, particularly when the overall field is small--as it currently is in 2A. With the 2A breakpoint going up to 255 next year, I think we'll see a much stronger, and a little larger, 2A field.
11/20/2009 3:48:54 PM
Coach
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 14
I must disagree with Alan regarding his proposed split of the field into only 3 divisions, with all of the medium schools (1000-1500) lumped together with the large schools (over 2500). I already think that we need another larger classification. I know no system will ever be perfect, but my original point is that adding more individuals to a meet does not dilute the state meet, but weakens it. How can we do that?
I must disagree with Alan regarding his proposed split of the field into only 3 divisions, with all of the medium schools (1000-1500) lumped together with the large schools (over 2500). I already think that we need another larger classification.

I know no system will ever be perfect, but my original point is that adding more individuals to a meet does not dilute the state meet, but weakens it. How can we do that?
11/20/2009 7:52:29 PM
Admin
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3131
Mike, Not a proposal--just an opinion :-]. And, it will never happen. Alan
Mike,

Not a proposal--just an opinion . And, it will never happen.

Alan

You must be logged in to comment.

Click Here to Log In.