Allowing Apex individuals to score as a team
10/28/2018 10:39:59 AM
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I can't find anything that specifically addresses what to do about scoring if a school gets five (or more) individual qualifiers in cross country. (Admittedly I didn't put in a huge amount of searching.) But I would say a simple answer to the questions brought up in the article and on Twitter would be to follow the rules and procedure that are clearly spelled out in the NCHSAA cross country qualifying rules and the NFHS cross country rules: - the qualifiers from a region to the state meet are the top 25% (rounded to the nearest whole number) of full teams starting the meet, and the top seven individual finishers not on one of those teams. Based on this, the qualifiers from the 4A Boys Mideast region are the teams from Cary, Green Hope, Panther Creek, and Cardinal Gibbons, plus Tim Haughton of Apex Friendship and the first six individuals from Apex. There is nothing at all to suggest that qualifying five or more runners individually allows a school to bring additional individuals to complete a seven-man lineup; or that it transforms individual qualifiers into a team and thus allows additional individual qualifiers to be selected from that region. - In high school cross country, any team with athlete five athletes or more athletes finishing the race will have its athletes (up to seven) assigned scoring places and receive a team score. It would take a special ruling to have such a group not be included in the team scoring, and a special designation in the set-up of the entry database to keep the meet software from automatically including the school in the scoring. (The only way I know how to do it in Hy-Tek would be to designate all the athletes as "exhibition" competitors which is not a designation normally used for individual qualifiers.) There is no provision I'm aware of anywhere in the national or state rules that says that a school with five or more athletes should be excluded from the team scoring. You could make up such a rule for individual qualifiers if you really thought it was important to exclude a team in this exact situation. I would strongly oppose that since it seems arbitrary and has no purpose but to punish a successful group of runners, but it would be an easy to understand what the rule says. Given that this is an easily foreseeable result of allowing seven individual qualifiers per region (I mentioned it in e-mail discussions at the time of adoption, but thought it would happen in 1A, not in the strongest 4A region in history), and that no one ever proposed or enacted a rule stating that five qualifiers DON'T get a team score, the Apex runners should clearly count in the team scoring as long as at least five of them finish the state meet. You cannot put in a rule restricting a team's competition after they have already qualified. If anyone can show where such a rule was spelled out prior to the regional races, I'll withdraw my comment.
I can't find anything that specifically addresses what to do about scoring if a school gets five (or more) individual qualifiers in cross country. (Admittedly I didn't put in a huge amount of searching.) But I would say a simple answer to the questions brought up in the article and on Twitter would be to follow the rules and procedure that are clearly spelled out in the NCHSAA cross country qualifying rules and the NFHS cross country rules:
* the qualifiers from a region to the state meet are the top 25% (rounded to the nearest whole number) of full teams starting the meet, and the top seven individual finishers not on one of those teams. Based on this, the qualifiers from the 4A Boys Mideast region are the teams from Cary, Green Hope, Panther Creek, and Cardinal Gibbons, plus Tim Haughton of Apex Friendship and the first six individuals from Apex. There is nothing at all to suggest that qualifying five or more runners individually allows a school to bring additional individuals to complete a seven-man lineup; or that it transforms individual qualifiers into a team and thus allows additional individual qualifiers to be selected from that region.

* In high school cross country, any team with athlete five athletes or more athletes finishing the race will have its athletes (up to seven) assigned scoring places and receive a team score. It would take a special ruling to have such a group not be included in the team scoring, and a special designation in the set-up of the entry database to keep the meet software from automatically including the school in the scoring. (The only way I know how to do it in Hy-Tek would be to designate all the athletes as "exhibition" competitors which is not a designation normally used for individual qualifiers.)

There is no provision I'm aware of anywhere in the national or state rules that says that a school with five or more athletes should be excluded from the team scoring. You could make up such a rule for individual qualifiers if you really thought it was important to exclude a team in this exact situation. I would strongly oppose that since it seems arbitrary and has no purpose but to punish a successful group of runners, but it would be an easy to understand what the rule says.
Given that this is an easily foreseeable result of allowing seven individual qualifiers per region (I mentioned it in e-mail discussions at the time of adoption, but thought it would happen in 1A, not in the strongest 4A region in history), and that no one ever proposed or enacted a rule stating that five qualifiers DON'T get a team score, the Apex runners should clearly count in the team scoring as long as at least five of them finish the state meet. You cannot put in a rule restricting a team's competition after they have already qualified.
If anyone can show where such a rule was spelled out prior to the regional races, I'll withdraw my comment.
10/28/2018 3:04:09 PM
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The issue will be that the NCHSAA won't discuss it because they will think once again they are being attacked by coaches. It's almost comical that something like this is happening again to Apex. We all remember the 2014 Track State Championships (I sure do I was Roy's assistant at the time.) when the adaptive points came into play pushing Mt. Tabor over Apex in the team standings. Anytime a coach has tried to discuss anything with the NCHSAA it has been shut down quickly by the NCHSAA.
The issue will be that the NCHSAA won't discuss it because they will think once again they are being attacked by coaches. It's almost comical that something like this is happening again to Apex. We all remember the 2014 Track State Championships (I sure do I was Roy's assistant at the time.) when the adaptive points came into play pushing Mt. Tabor over Apex in the team standings.

Anytime a coach has tried to discuss anything with the NCHSAA it has been shut down quickly by the NCHSAA.
10/28/2018 4:10:11 PM
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@pwlockwood My position is that there is nothing to be discussed. If six runners cross the line for a team in a cross county race, they are scorers. Someone has to actively do something to keep them from being scorers - both literally, in setting up the meet database, and figuratively in making a ruling that would cause that to happen. What would be the basis for that ruling? A school is allowed to qualify six runners for the state meet via the individual qualifying process. There is nothing anywhere (that I know of) saying those athletes should be treated any differently than any other participants in the meet. No one has ever declared previous individuals at the state meet to be non-scorers - they were eligible runners who were non-scorers because their team did not have five finishers in the race. Pretty sure I recall an instance where a team qualified but did not have five finish at the state meet and it's finishers ended up being non-scorers. None of this required any action - you just had to follow the rules of the sport. This is not at all like the situation in outdoor track when the Apex had the most points in traditional events but Mt. Tabor won when points from the wheelchair events were added. The rules were very clear in how the wheelchair events would be scored, and that points from those events would count just like any others in the overall standings. In this case you would have to make up a rule to keep [s]Apex[/s] Mt. Tabor from scoring. Like you (I think) I'm NOT confident the NCHSAA will actually interpret it this way, if they are asked to make an interpretation. That's why I think the best course is not to ask if they will let Apex score, but to assume - correctly - that no one has to LET them do anything if you just follow the rules. Don't proceed as if there is any decision that needs to be made. This is not like playoff selection in other sports, or even in cross country prior to last year, where there is a set number of spots. Adding a team does not come at anyone else's expense, and the number per region already varies. One thing I should've noted in the original post - Apex qualified these six specific individuals. Unlike other teams at the state meet, they would not have the option of replacing any runners in the lineup.
@pwlockwood
My position is that there is nothing to be discussed. If six runners cross the line for a team in a cross county race, they are scorers. Someone has to actively do something to keep them from being scorers - both literally, in setting up the meet database, and figuratively in making a ruling that would cause that to happen. What would be the basis for that ruling? A school is allowed to qualify six runners for the state meet via the individual qualifying process. There is nothing anywhere (that I know of) saying those athletes should be treated any differently than any other participants in the meet.
No one has ever declared previous individuals at the state meet to be non-scorers - they were eligible runners who were non-scorers because their team did not have five finishers in the race. Pretty sure I recall an instance where a team qualified but did not have five finish at the state meet and it's finishers ended up being non-scorers. None of this required any action - you just had to follow the rules of the sport.

This is not at all like the situation in outdoor track when the Apex had the most points in traditional events but Mt. Tabor won when points from the wheelchair events were added. The rules were very clear in how the wheelchair events would be scored, and that points from those events would count just like any others in the overall standings. In this case you would have to make up a rule to keep Apex Mt. Tabor from scoring.

Like you (I think) I'm NOT confident the NCHSAA will actually interpret it this way, if they are asked to make an interpretation. That's why I think the best course is not to ask if they will let Apex score, but to assume - correctly - that no one has to LET them do anything if you just follow the rules. Don't proceed as if there is any decision that needs to be made.

This is not like playoff selection in other sports, or even in cross country prior to last year, where there is a set number of spots. Adding a team does not come at anyone else's expense, and the number per region already varies.

One thing I should've noted in the original post - Apex qualified these six specific individuals. Unlike other teams at the state meet, they would not have the option of replacing any runners in the lineup.
10/29/2018 7:22:17 AM
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They didn't qualify as a team, they qualified as individuals.
They didn't qualify as a team, they qualified as individuals.
10/29/2018 7:53:59 AM
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I don't think they should be allowed to add their 7th runner, but since they have 6 runners running in the race they should be allowed to score as a team. Assuming at least 5 cross the finish line of course. Unless this was specifically addressed with the NCHSL before the season started or the qualifier was run, I don't understand the controversy. I'm in SC so I have no stake in this one way or the other.
I don't think they should be allowed to add their 7th runner, but since they have 6 runners running in the race they should be allowed to score as a team. Assuming at least 5 cross the finish line of course. Unless this was specifically addressed with the NCHSL before the season started or the qualifier was run, I don't understand the controversy. I'm in SC so I have no stake in this one way or the other.
10/29/2018 8:07:10 AM
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They deserve to run as a team. If for no other reason, they did this with runners in their own school district.
They deserve to run as a team. If for no other reason, they did this with runners in their own school district.
10/29/2018 10:02:40 AM
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Unless they come in different uniforms and at least 5 of the Apex athletes finish the race, I believe they will score as a team.
Unless they come in different uniforms and at least 5 of the Apex athletes finish the race, I believe they will score as a team.
10/29/2018 10:34:17 AM
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[quote=BRANT1400]They didn't qualify as a team, they qualified as individuals. [/quote] Individuals do not compete unattached at NC state championships, they represent their school. Schools can't enter more than one team in playoff competition in any sport, so they are all on the same team. It would be logically consistent - but arbitrary and mean - if there was a rule in place that said that individual qualifiers are not allowed to be part of a team representing their school. But in the absence of such a rule being clearly stated in advance, it is unfair to treat them differently than the members of any other team. There is an analogy to track, and I believe it supports my position. It used to be the case that a single outstanding athlete could place highly in the team standings, possibly even winning. At some point the rules were changed to specify that a team must consist of more than one qualifying athlete, and individuals who were the sole qualifier for their school could not win a championship. This is a deviation from the normal scoring rules that is clearly stated in the state handbook, but prior to the change being approved by the NCHSAA board single member "teams" were treated just like everyone else. It has always been theoretically possible for a school to qualify enough athletes individually to score at the state meet, and it became much more feasible two years ago when the number of individual qualifiers was increased. If these athletes were intended to be ineligible to score, that rule variation could have been included in the handbook. The fact that it isn't should be clear guidance that they will be treated like all other contestants.
BRANT1400 wrote:
hey didn't qualify as a team, they qualified as individuals.

Individuals do not compete unattached at NC state championships, they represent their school. Schools can't enter more than one team in playoff competition in any sport, so they are all on the same team.
It would be logically consistent - but arbitrary and mean - if there was a rule in place that said that individual qualifiers are not allowed to be part of a team representing their school. But in the absence of such a rule being clearly stated in advance, it is unfair to treat them differently than the members of any other team.
There is an analogy to track, and I believe it supports my position. It used to be the case that a single outstanding athlete could place highly in the team standings, possibly even winning. At some point the rules were changed to specify that a team must consist of more than one qualifying athlete, and individuals who were the sole qualifier for their school could not win a championship. This is a deviation from the normal scoring rules that is clearly stated in the state handbook, but prior to the change being approved by the NCHSAA board single member "teams" were treated just like everyone else.
It has always been theoretically possible for a school to qualify enough athletes individually to score at the state meet, and it became much more feasible two years ago when the number of individual qualifiers was increased. If these athletes were intended to be ineligible to score, that rule variation could have been included in the handbook. The fact that it isn't should be clear guidance that they will be treated like all other contestants.
10/29/2018 11:44:05 PM
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Under RULES written and rules used all season, 6 runners from the same school crossing the finish line in the same race would score as a team. Wouldn't they?
Under RULES written and rules used all season, 6 runners from the same school crossing the finish line in the same race would score as a team. Wouldn't they?
10/30/2018 6:00:33 AM
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Not surprised the NCHSAA denied Apex the opportunity to run as a team. For anyone but the NCHSAA it would be an easy decision to have made the other way. But it would be easier for one to get milk out of a bull before the inflexible NCHSAA would ever be innovative in making such a precedent decision for a team that achieved an extraordinary accomplishment.
Not surprised the NCHSAA denied Apex the opportunity to run as a team. For anyone but the NCHSAA it would be an easy decision to have made the other way. But it would be easier for one to get milk out of a bull before the inflexible NCHSAA would ever be innovative in making such a precedent decision for a team that achieved an extraordinary accomplishment.
10/30/2018 7:43:52 PM
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I agree that six runners, and even five runners, do score as a team under the rules used during the season. However,in my opinion, for the State meet the NCHSAA has clearly stated that only the top 4 TEAMS from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams and be scored as teams. Everyone else qualifying would be seen as individuals. In my opinion the rules used during the season are being applied because those teams that QUALIFIED AS TEAMS are having their top 6 scored. Apex did not qualify as a team at the regional meet amd therefore they are not allowed to run as a team or be scored as a team. Their six individuals will be accounted for as individuals. I agree that if they had met the criteria to qualify as a team then they should be scored as a team. But unfortunately that did not happen here and in my opinion it was/is clear before the regionals what teams would be allowed to compete as teams at the State meet (in this case the top 4 from the region). Everyone else would be individuals.
I agree that six runners, and even five runners, do score as a team under the rules used during the season. However,in my opinion, for the State meet the NCHSAA has clearly stated that only the top 4 TEAMS from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams and be scored as teams. Everyone else qualifying would be seen as individuals. In my opinion the rules used during the season are being applied because those teams that QUALIFIED AS TEAMS are having their top 6 scored. Apex did not qualify as a team at the regional meet amd therefore they are not allowed to run as a team or be scored as a team. Their six individuals will be accounted for as individuals. I agree that if they had met the criteria to qualify as a team then they should be scored as a team. But unfortunately that did not happen here and in my opinion it was/is clear before the regionals what teams would be allowed to compete as teams at the State meet (in this case the top 4 from the region). Everyone else would be individuals.
10/31/2018 8:19:44 AM
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My first thought on this was that the individual qualifiers from Apex could not score as a team. But, the only difference between teams qualifying and individuals qualifying is that you cannot substitute for individuals and you can substitute athletes on a qualifying team. If 5 or more of the individual qualifiers from Apex finish the race, they would score as a team. The fact that this possibility was not addressed before regionals should not change basic Cross Country rules. I do understand the position of the NCHSAA. But, the rules for Cross Country should be followed.
My first thought on this was that the individual qualifiers from Apex could not score as a team. But, the only difference between teams qualifying and individuals qualifying is that you cannot substitute for individuals and you can substitute athletes on a qualifying team. If 5 or more of the individual qualifiers from Apex finish the race, they would score as a team. The fact that this possibility was not addressed before regionals should not change basic Cross Country rules. I do understand the position of the NCHSAA. But, the rules for Cross Country should be followed.
10/31/2018 1:06:38 PM
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[quote=cswisher]I agree that six runners, and even five runners, do score as a team under the rules used during the season. However,in my opinion, for the State meet the NCHSAA has clearly stated that only the top 4 TEAMS from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams and be scored as teams. Everyone else qualifying would be seen as individuals. In my opinion the rules used during the season are being applied because those teams that QUALIFIED AS TEAMS are having their top 6 scored. ... if they had met the criteria to qualify as a team then they should be scored as a team. But unfortunately that did not happen here and in my opinion it was/is clear before the regionals what teams would be allowed to compete as teams at the State meet (in this case the top 4 from the region).[/quote] Sorry but there is nowhere that says "only the top 4 teams from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams. (etc)" The rules say the top 25% of participating teams qualify, so no mention of the number "4" (relevant not so much because some regions got more than 4 as because there is not a fixed number of scoring teams in the state meet, so you can't argue it is unfair to other teams that athletes qualified to the meet get a score). The significant error though is that you made up the word "only" - no such restriction has appeared anywhere. To say "the NCHSAA has clearly stated" is, to reuse a phrase, clearly ridiculous. They never stated any exceptions to the cross country scoring rules at all. To suggest that the exception should still be obvious is contradicted by all the highly experienced people in this discussion who feel opposite interpretation is the plainly correct one. There is nothing clear or obvious about the position that five or more individual qualifiers from a school do not make a team. There has never been a rule saying that "teams that qualified as teams" will score. There has been, and continues to be, a rule that says that teams with less than five finishers won't score, which will presumably continue to apply to virtually every individual qualifier in the future. Any additional restrictions beyond that would have to be spelled out, and exceptions to the general rules should be clearly spelled out before the event where they would apply. I would say ambiguity should be interpreted in the way that is inclusive to the most athletes, but there is no ambiguity here - there's no rule suggesting any exception to "five or more runners score." The burden is on anyone wanting something different to put that in writing prior to the season where it will take effect. I don't think there is anyone who fails to grasp that you COULD make a distinction between a group that qualified individually and a qualifying team. The fact that virtually everyone who thinks the rules call for treating the two groups the same nonetheless thought the NCHSAA would very likely not do so means we understand the distinction. The position, which I don't think has been refuted, is that the rulebook makes no such distinction and no prior policy or procedure has spelled out any exception to the rulebook. Coach Knox in the immediately above post makes this point very succinctly.
cswisher wrote:
I agree that six runners, and even five runners, do score as a team under the rules used during the season. However,in my opinion, for the State meet the NCHSAA has clearly stated that only the top 4 TEAMS from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams and be scored as teams. Everyone else qualifying would be seen as individuals. In my opinion the rules used during the season are being applied because those teams that QUALIFIED AS TEAMS are having their top 6 scored. ... if they had met the criteria to qualify as a team then they should be scored as a team. But unfortunately that did not happen here and in my opinion it was/is clear before the regionals what teams would be allowed to compete as teams at the State meet (in this case the top 4 from the region).


Sorry but there is nowhere that says "only the top 4 teams from the Mideast region would advance to the state meet as teams. (etc)" The rules say the top 25% of participating teams qualify, so no mention of the number "4" (relevant not so much because some regions got more than 4 as because there is not a fixed number of scoring teams in the state meet, so you can't argue it is unfair to other teams that athletes qualified to the meet get a score). The significant error though is that you made up the word "only" - no such restriction has appeared anywhere. To say "the NCHSAA has clearly stated" is, to reuse a phrase, clearly ridiculous. They never stated any exceptions to the cross country scoring rules at all. To suggest that the exception should still be obvious is contradicted by all the highly experienced people in this discussion who feel opposite interpretation is the plainly correct one. There is nothing clear or obvious about the position that five or more individual qualifiers from a school do not make a team.
There has never been a rule saying that "teams that qualified as teams" will score. There has been, and continues to be, a rule that says that teams with less than five finishers won't score, which will presumably continue to apply to virtually every individual qualifier in the future. Any additional restrictions beyond that would have to be spelled out, and exceptions to the general rules should be clearly spelled out before the event where they would apply. I would say ambiguity should be interpreted in the way that is inclusive to the most athletes, but there is no ambiguity here - there's no rule suggesting any exception to "five or more runners score." The burden is on anyone wanting something different to put that in writing prior to the season where it will take effect.

I don't think there is anyone who fails to grasp that you COULD make a distinction between a group that qualified individually and a qualifying team. The fact that virtually everyone who thinks the rules call for treating the two groups the same nonetheless thought the NCHSAA would very likely not do so means we understand the distinction. The position, which I don't think has been refuted, is that the rulebook makes no such distinction and no prior policy or procedure has spelled out any exception to the rulebook. Coach Knox in the immediately above post makes this point very succinctly.
10/31/2018 1:49:27 PM
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I've been clear that I think the rulebook, and lack of any prior statement of deviation from the rules from the NCHSAA, means Apex should receive a score in the cross country state meet. But whether they, or similar teams in the future, SHOULD be included in the scoring is a separate question. The meet will happen Saturday, Apex either will or (more likely) will not get a score, and the same qualifying system that made this situation possible will still exist in the future. Since the NCHSAA has somehow determined that "follow the rulebook" is ambiguous, there should be clarifying language. I assume that at least some of the people arguing that runners qualifying as individuals CANNOT be part of a team are doing so because they believe these runners SHOULD NOT be part of a team. (I assume this mainly because I can't see how someone can be so invested in a "rule" that is not written anywhere.) So what's the rationale for that, and what are counter-arguments in favor of scoring a school with 5+ individual qualifiers? In favor, the biggest argument is simply that the rulebook has no exceptions to five athletes from one school scoring as a team. If you want to make exceptions to the rulebook, there ought to be a really good reason, and absent that, following the rules should be the default. In addition, the athletes involved almost certainly want to receive a team score, and we ought to encourage people to think of themselves as a team whenever possible. In thinking about reasons to not score a team that qualified individually, it's important to remember that ALL OF THE ATHLETES WILL BE IN THE RACE ANYWAY. This is not expanding the size of the race, so no argument about crowding at any point in the race is valid. If the impact on the team in question is unambiguously positive, then the negative impacts on other athletes or teams would need to significantly negative to justify modifying the rules governing the sport. There really can't be any individual athlete impacts, since individual results will not be affected. So the only thing left to consider is the impact on other teams. First, teams that would finish in front of the team in question if it were in the scoring. Adding the scorers of an additional team will have a minor effect on the scoring, and the impact will be roughly the same on teams that are placed near each other in the standings. To the extent that the scoring impact is not identical, the differences will be small and random. It usually will not cause any changes in places, and if it did it would only be between teams very near each other in the scoring and obviously for any team that falls in the standings another team would move up. I can't see anything here that justifies keeping another school with five finishers from receiving a team score. The other potentially impacted group is teams that would finish behind the group that advanced as individual qualifiers. Clearly these teams would receive a lower state meet place if the individually qualified runners are allowed to score. (There could be the same random fluctuations previously scored, so there's a slight possibility a team could drop by more than one spot.) Does this count as a negative? Remember, we are talking about a team that is getting beat head-to-head on the course anyway - the only question is whether the official results document that in that same way that everyone looking at the times can do for themselves. I would give a very strong "No!" to the idea that "harm" to teams that would be beaten by a group of 5+ individually qualifying athletes is something to be concerned about. If a team is losing to another team at the state meet that did not finish in the top 25% of it's regional, it is likely that the losing team qualified out of a weaker regional. Arguing they shouldn't be subject to competition with the qualified individual athletes is essentially saying "Not only should we get to qualify against less competition, but we should also be exempt from the possibility of a team from a strong region getting credit beating us if they somehow get five runners through individually." I actually don't know any coaches who would make that argument, but it's what the case for not acknowledging the real results that happen on the course amounts to. This is nothing like any of the arguments, in cross country but more frequently in track, that qualifying to state should in some way take into account the differing competitive environment between regions. Those proposals necessarily involve either expanding the state meet field or taking qualifying positions away from one person/team to give them to another. This is just about whether the score accurately reflects the race that is going to happen anyway. It might be 10 years before this happens again, but since somehow the NCHSAA thinks the rulebook is optional here, we should put in writing that any group of five or more qualified athletes from a school finishing the cross country state meet will receive a score.
I've been clear that I think the rulebook, and lack of any prior statement of deviation from the rules from the NCHSAA, means Apex should receive a score in the cross country state meet. But whether they, or similar teams in the future, SHOULD be included in the scoring is a separate question. The meet will happen Saturday, Apex either will or (more likely) will not get a score, and the same qualifying system that made this situation possible will still exist in the future. Since the NCHSAA has somehow determined that "follow the rulebook" is ambiguous, there should be clarifying language.
I assume that at least some of the people arguing that runners qualifying as individuals CANNOT be part of a team are doing so because they believe these runners SHOULD NOT be part of a team. (I assume this mainly because I can't see how someone can be so invested in a "rule" that is not written anywhere.) So what's the rationale for that, and what are counter-arguments in favor of scoring a school with 5+ individual qualifiers?
In favor, the biggest argument is simply that the rulebook has no exceptions to five athletes from one school scoring as a team. If you want to make exceptions to the rulebook, there ought to be a really good reason, and absent that, following the rules should be the default. In addition, the athletes involved almost certainly want to receive a team score, and we ought to encourage people to think of themselves as a team whenever possible.
In thinking about reasons to not score a team that qualified individually, it's important to remember that ALL OF THE ATHLETES WILL BE IN THE RACE ANYWAY. This is not expanding the size of the race, so no argument about crowding at any point in the race is valid.
If the impact on the team in question is unambiguously positive, then the negative impacts on other athletes or teams would need to significantly negative to justify modifying the rules governing the sport. There really can't be any individual athlete impacts, since individual results will not be affected. So the only thing left to consider is the impact on other teams.
First, teams that would finish in front of the team in question if it were in the scoring. Adding the scorers of an additional team will have a minor effect on the scoring, and the impact will be roughly the same on teams that are placed near each other in the standings. To the extent that the scoring impact is not identical, the differences will be small and random. It usually will not cause any changes in places, and if it did it would only be between teams very near each other in the scoring and obviously for any team that falls in the standings another team would move up. I can't see anything here that justifies keeping another school with five finishers from receiving a team score.
The other potentially impacted group is teams that would finish behind the group that advanced as individual qualifiers. Clearly these teams would receive a lower state meet place if the individually qualified runners are allowed to score. (There could be the same random fluctuations previously scored, so there's a slight possibility a team could drop by more than one spot.) Does this count as a negative? Remember, we are talking about a team that is getting beat head-to-head on the course anyway - the only question is whether the official results document that in that same way that everyone looking at the times can do for themselves.
I would give a very strong "No!" to the idea that "harm" to teams that would be beaten by a group of 5+ individually qualifying athletes is something to be concerned about. If a team is losing to another team at the state meet that did not finish in the top 25% of it's regional, it is likely that the losing team qualified out of a weaker regional. Arguing they shouldn't be subject to competition with the qualified individual athletes is essentially saying "Not only should we get to qualify against less competition, but we should also be exempt from the possibility of a team from a strong region getting credit beating us if they somehow get five runners through individually." I actually don't know any coaches who would make that argument, but it's what the case for not acknowledging the real results that happen on the course amounts to.
This is nothing like any of the arguments, in cross country but more frequently in track, that qualifying to state should in some way take into account the differing competitive environment between regions. Those proposals necessarily involve either expanding the state meet field or taking qualifying positions away from one person/team to give them to another. This is just about whether the score accurately reflects the race that is going to happen anyway.
It might be 10 years before this happens again, but since somehow the NCHSAA thinks the rulebook is optional here, we should put in writing that any group of five or more qualified athletes from a school finishing the cross country state meet will receive a score.
10/31/2018 7:22:02 PM
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@RocketRunning From the NCHSAA rulebook. 4.4.2 (i)- Qualifiers to State: The top 25% of teams, or top FOUR, whichever is greater, in each classification from each Regional will qualify for the State meet. (3)- In addition, the top 7 individuals not on a qualifying team will advance from each region. It is clear to me that the number 4 is mentioned and relevant because it assures that there will be at least 4 teams from each region. I agree that it was not stated that "only" 4 teams from the mideast would qualify. However, there was a list on the NCHSAA'S website that indicated the number of full teams participating at each regional. This was posted by Tuesday I know. From this list it was fairly easy to determine that ONLY 4 teams would advance from the mideast region. So for someone to try and say that it is not clear how many teams would qualify is ridiculous. All of the information to determine this was made available ahead of time. The rule further states the top 7 individuals not on a QUALIFYING TEAM will advance. To me that means that these 7 individuals are not part of a team and thus will not be scored as such because they are individuals. This is just my opinion and obviously not shaeed by everyone. But in my opinion it could be determined before the race how many teams would advance to the states as a team. I knew before Saturday how many would be advancing from the region I am in and it wasnt hard to determine.
@RocketRunning
From the NCHSAA rulebook.

4.4.2 (i)- Qualifiers to State: The top 25% of teams, or top FOUR, whichever is greater, in each classification from each Regional will qualify for the State meet.
(3)- In addition, the top 7 individuals not on a qualifying team will advance from each region.

It is clear to me that the number 4 is mentioned and relevant because it assures that there will be at least 4 teams from each region. I agree that it was not stated that "only" 4 teams from the mideast would qualify. However, there was a list on the NCHSAA'S website that indicated the number of full teams participating at each regional. This was posted by Tuesday I know. From this list it was fairly easy to determine that ONLY 4 teams would advance from the mideast region. So for someone to try and say that it is not clear how many teams would qualify is ridiculous. All of the information to determine this was made available ahead of time.

The rule further states the top 7 individuals not on a QUALIFYING TEAM will advance. To me that means that these 7 individuals are not part of a team and thus will not be scored as such because they are individuals.

This is just my opinion and obviously not shaeed by everyone. But in my opinion it could be determined before the race how many teams would advance to the states as a team. I knew before Saturday how many would be advancing from the region I am in and it wasnt hard to determine.
10/31/2018 8:21:25 PM
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@cswisher No one has disputed that the 4A Mideast would only get four qualifying teams. This entire discussion has been about whether a school with five or more legally qualified runners finishing the state meet should receive a score. There is nothing in the handbook saying they won't. It does not say "any school finishing outside the top 25% as described herein is ineligible to receive a team score at the state meet." That is a substantially stronger statement than saying you can advance as a team by placing in the top 25%.
@cswisher
No one has disputed that the 4A Mideast would only get four qualifying teams. This entire discussion has been about whether a school with five or more legally qualified runners finishing the state meet should receive a score. There is nothing in the handbook saying they won't. It does not say "any school finishing outside the top 25% as described herein is ineligible to receive a team score at the state meet." That is a substantially stronger statement than saying you can advance as a team by placing in the top 25%.
10/31/2018 10:27:38 PM
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RocketRunning said:"In addition, the athletes involved almost certainly want to receive a team score, and we ought to encourage people to think of themselves as a team whenever possible." THIS seems to be an important factor to consider in this matter, and a strong point going forward for writing future policy. I imagine that these 6 guys see themselves as a team. Their narrow spread is a very significant factor in how they qualified; a statistic that speaks, at least implicitly, to their friendship and team work. I know from experience that as few as 2 individuals from the same school see themselves as teammates at the state meet. The difference here is that there are enough individuals to score as a team. This was a foreseeable event. It seems that assumptions were made in two different ways as to whether 5, 6, or 7 advancing individuals from the same school would score as a team at the state meet. Based on my understanding of the rules, I had assumed they would score. I do not recall reading anything that would have led me to think otherwise. Such a rule should be explicit. Further, the expansion of the number of individuals and the number of teams was introduced to make the state championship more inclusive and to add some "fairness" to advancing stronger teams out of strong regions. It would seem logical to me that a group of individuals from the same school who managed to advance to the state meet in the way this happened would, in the spirit of this change, be scored as a team. Cswisher said that: "The rule further states the top 7 individuals not on a QUALIFYING TEAM will advance. To me that means that these 7 individuals are not part of a team and thus will not be scored as such because they are individuals." THIS is the other way of looking at it. But my feelings on this is that once two or three individuals from the same school advance to the state meet, they become a team and they go as a team (I would hope). Once the number from the same school gets to 5, they are allowed to score as a team. There is nothing written (that I have seen) that explicitly states advancing individuals from the same school are not on the same team. I do not even see anything that implies that. Importantly, though not likely to happen, but if these guys go 1-2-3-4-5-6 at the State Championship ("So you're telling me there's a chance. Yeah!") Well, not scoring them as a team would seem inappropriate, wouldn't it... I dont think that would be short of a huge blemish on the event. If they all finish, they will go a1-a2-a3-a4-a5-a6 which will be a score whether it is officially acknowledged or not. Why would this not be a blemish? I hope that going forward, advancing individuals from the same school will be considered a team and if 5 or more advance, they will be scored. With all respect to every qualifying team at the state meet, Apex guys will be scored by me and many others.
RocketRunning said:"In addition, the athletes involved almost certainly want to receive a team score, and we ought to encourage people to think of themselves as a team whenever possible."

THIS seems to be an important factor to consider in this matter, and a strong point going forward for writing future policy. I imagine that these 6 guys see themselves as a team. Their narrow spread is a very significant factor in how they qualified; a statistic that speaks, at least implicitly, to their friendship and team work. I know from experience that as few as 2 individuals from the same school see themselves as teammates at the state meet. The difference here is that there are enough individuals to score as a team.
This was a foreseeable event. It seems that assumptions were made in two different ways as to whether 5, 6, or 7 advancing individuals from the same school would score as a team at the state meet. Based on my understanding of the rules, I had assumed they would score. I do not recall reading anything that would have led me to think otherwise. Such a rule should be explicit.

Further, the expansion of the number of individuals and the number of teams was introduced to make the state championship more inclusive and to add some "fairness" to advancing stronger teams out of strong regions. It would seem logical to me that a group of individuals from the same school who managed to advance to the state meet in the way this happened would, in the spirit of this change, be scored as a team.

Cswisher said that: "The rule further states the top 7 individuals not on a QUALIFYING TEAM will advance. To me that means that these 7 individuals are not part of a team and thus will not be scored as such because they are individuals."

THIS is the other way of looking at it. But my feelings on this is that once two or three individuals from the same school advance to the state meet, they become a team and they go as a team (I would hope). Once the number from the same school gets to 5, they are allowed to score as a team.
There is nothing written (that I have seen) that explicitly states advancing individuals from the same school are not on the same team. I do not even see anything that implies that.

Importantly, though not likely to happen, but if these guys go 1-2-3-4-5-6 at the State Championship ("So you're telling me there's a chance. Yeah!")
Well, not scoring them as a team would seem inappropriate, wouldn't it... I dont think that would be short of a huge blemish on the event.
If they all finish, they will go a1-a2-a3-a4-a5-a6 which will be a score whether it is officially acknowledged or not. Why would this not be a blemish?

I hope that going forward, advancing individuals from the same school will be considered a team and if 5 or more advance, they will be scored.
With all respect to every qualifying team at the state meet, Apex guys will be scored by me and many others.
11/01/2018 12:11:39 AM
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@RocketRunning It looked to me like you were disputing it when you said the number four was never mentioned anywhere and was not relevant. But maybe you weren't. Just appeared to me that way. It's apparent to me that we aren't going to agree on the issue. You see it that the rulebook does not say that any team finishing outside the top 25% as being ineligible to receive a team score at the state meet. I see it from the standpoint that if you aren't in the top 25% (or top 4) then you don't advance as a team, at least not as a scoring team. The rulebook states that the top 25% of the teams, or 4, whichever is greater advances to the state meet. So if you are outside the top 25% (or 4) you aren't going as a team. And if you aren't there as a team you are ineligible to receive a team score. That's how I interpret it and you interpret it another way. I do agree with the fact that 2 or more individuals from the same team ruuning in the race will view themselves as a team. I don't disagree with this or with calling them a team, I just think that they shouldn't be scored as a team, even if they have 5 orn6 runners, because they advanced from the individual side and not the team side. I also agree that the NCHSAA needs to clarify the rule before next season. I expect that this will happen. I have enjoyed the debate and discussion. It's nice to see folks that care so much about the sport, the kids and the rules. That isn't always the case for sure. I look forward to seeing all of you on Friday or Saturday. I will be there getting the course ready and trying to keep it in as good a condition as possible so all can have a good race. They are predicting 1-1.5 inches of rain so who knows. It will be fun either way!
@RocketRunning
It looked to me like you were disputing it when you said the number four was never mentioned anywhere and was not relevant. But maybe you weren't. Just appeared to me that way.

It's apparent to me that we aren't going to agree on the issue. You see it that the rulebook does not say that any team finishing outside the top 25% as being ineligible to receive a team score at the state meet. I see it from the standpoint that if you aren't in the top 25% (or top 4) then you don't advance as a team, at least not as a scoring team. The rulebook states that the top 25% of the teams, or 4, whichever is greater advances to the state meet. So if you are outside the top 25% (or 4) you aren't going as a team. And if you aren't there as a team you are ineligible to receive a team score. That's how I interpret it and you interpret it another way.

I do agree with the fact that 2 or more individuals from the same team ruuning in the race will view themselves as a team. I don't disagree with this or with calling them a team, I just think that they shouldn't be scored as a team, even if they have 5 orn6 runners, because they advanced from the individual side and not the team side.

I also agree that the NCHSAA needs to clarify the rule before next season. I expect that this will happen.

I have enjoyed the debate and discussion. It's nice to see folks that care so much about the sport, the kids and the rules. That isn't always the case for sure.

I look forward to seeing all of you on Friday or Saturday. I will be there getting the course ready and trying to keep it in as good a condition as possible so all can have a good race. They are predicting 1-1.5 inches of rain so who knows. It will be fun either way!
11/02/2018 8:15:53 AM
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@cswisher Thanks for your work. Definitely hoping you don't have too much of it.
@cswisher
Thanks for your work. Definitely hoping you don't have too much of it.
11/03/2018 3:41:03 PM
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I wonder what uniforms the Apex runners wore today. I’m assuming that since they all qualified as individuals they each could wear a different uniform? And, not to stir the pot too much, but looks like they would have finished 6th today had they been allowed to score. Seems to me that the qualification system is a little unbalanced.
I wonder what uniforms the Apex runners wore today. I'm assuming that since they all qualified as individuals they each could wear a different uniform?

And, not to stir the pot too much, but looks like they would have finished 6th today had they been allowed to score. Seems to me that the qualification system is a little unbalanced.

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