As confirmed by Northgate HS coach, Peter Brewer:
"I just confirmed with Hal Harkness that the NCS 4th state qualifier in track has been moved to the Southern Section. This will take effect for the 2013 State Meet. This was a recommendation of a the Advisory Committee in 2011, and was voted on by the CIF in 2012.

The rationales were two-fold: first, the NCS had one more qualifier than other sections of similar size. This was a holdover from the time when the current CCS was still part of the NCS. Research has shown that in the last 10 years, the 4th qualifier from the NCS has hardly ever made an impact at the State Meet, rarely making the finals in any event. The Southern section routinely has had non-qualifiers post times fast enough to make finals. Hence that move.
Second, the process of the having the at-large time standards ensures that truly qualified athletes move on regardless of place, so long as they post that mark at the section finals."