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Thread: No California At-Large teams at NXN

  1. #1
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    No California At-Large teams at NXN

    I believe this was the first year in NXN history that no California teams qualified made it to NXN as an at-large addition. Based on the strength of the four automatic qualifiers and how well they ran at NXN, it seems like at least 1 team per gender should have made it from California as well. Looking at the results, the at-large teams that made it from other states finished in 2nd, 9th, 11th and 14th on the boys side and 8th, 10th, 14th and 20th on the girls side.

    The question is did California teams deserve more teams at NXN? How are the at-large teams selected? Would an open division at the state meet help select the NXN teams in a similar manner as the other regionals?
    Albert Caruana
    Crystal Springs Uplands School

  2. #2
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    Hi Albert, I will respond with my quick thoughts/opinions but, none of it matters anyway since I am no longer coaching.

    If you look at the combined results from our state meet, we had 2 clearly deserving team in each gender, Great Oak and Davis girls and Great Oak and Dana Hills boys. The gap back to the 3rd best teams was huge. I would find it hard pressed to say that those 3rd place teams were on the same level as the teams that were selected. Jesuit was 160 points behind Dana Hills on the boys side, 151-311. That is more than double the score that Dana Hills had. On the girls side there was an even larger gap. Arcadia was 277 points behind Davis. That is a staggering separation between the top teams and the next best on both sides.

    I am against having an open division for the current California State XC Championships because I think that we need to establish divisional champions. XC is too dependent on school size. Having one race with most of the top teams in it would give "false" championships to those teams that won if another school, or 10, were in the "open" race. This year in California was a relatively weak year for elite teams. After having several years with large numbers of record breaking or near-record breaking teams, California finally returned to "normal." I do not want to take anything away from the teams this year, only pointing out that the past several years have been remarkable in the number of talented teams.

    Just because our top 2 teams performed phenomenally does not mean that the next best teams would have been nationally elite. The separation in the merged scores tends to show that would not be the case. This year, having an open race would not have been beneficial in getting another team to NXN, in my opinion. Last year, however, such a race may have allowed for more of the top teams in the state to have an opportunity to shine.

    I believe that there was thread last year about this topic and the potential to move the state meet to a week earlier. Reasons were given for the inability to move the meet. Some agreed, some did not. My feeling is that there should be a meet to determine the State Champions in each division and the a single championship/open race in which the top "X" number of teams would compete to determine the Open Champion. This is similar to how several other states do it. I think that the California XC season is too long and we could easily cut out 2 weeks to put the State Divisional meet a week earlier and then have an open championship the following weekend. I also know that people will completely disagree with me and give lots of valid reasons why this is stupid and can't happen.

    It's only my opinion and should be taken with the full respect afforded to a coach who has never won anything more than a league championship and who is no longer even coaching. (Wow, this is way longer than I intended. Sorry Albert)
    Keith Chann
    Chemistry teacher
    XC Fan
    Rubidoux High School

  3. #3
    Keith,

    Based on the scores you are referencing, you are talking about scoring with 116 teams merged together. That is 804 boys being scored in that merge. NXN had 22 teams and 150 boys being scored. If you do a merge with the top 22 teams I have to assume the difference to Jesuit on the boys' side and Arcadia on the girls' side is much less.

    Anybody have the merge with only the top 22 teams?

  4. #4
    Didn't feel like waiting around. I think I did this right.

    Great Oak 65
    Dana Hills 110
    Jesuit 210
    Loyola 226
    Madera South 239
    Canyon/Anaheim 239
    West Torrance 251
    Brea Olinda 259
    Baldwin Park 287
    Ventura 292
    Claremont 310
    Paso Robles 326
    Davis 332
    Bellarmine 336
    Mira Costa 344
    Monte Vista 351
    Flintridge Prep 351
    La Costa Canyon 354
    California 362
    Agoura 364
    Palos Verdes 414
    Campolindo 424

    Great Oak and Dana Hills each scored about 70% more points than the above at NXN. If Jesuit did the same that would give them about 350 points, putting them around 17th place at NXN.

  5. #5
    The notion that the strength of one region's automatic qualifiers should determine which regions get at-large qualifier spots misses the point; at-large berths are meant to be awarded to the at-large candidates that have shown the best at the end of the season (not which auto qualifiers in their region have shown the best).

    Typically, the teams that are awarded at-large berths each year tend to project to place somewhere among the top 16 or so teams at Nike Cross Nationals (ahead of the second automatic qualifier in some of the weaker regions). As you can see, 7 of the 8 at-large teams this year did that; the lone exception was Davis of Utah's girls, which placed 20th but had their #2 girl at their regional meet not finish the race at nationals. If she runs similar to what she did at regionals, the team finishes about 12th.

    On the girls side, both Arcadia (SS) and Saugus (SS) were deep into the discussion for the final at-large spots, as was Jesuit (SJ) for the boys.

    It was a pretty good year for the strength of the at-large candidates nationally and a few very good teams (including at least three on the girls side, in my opinion) were left home as only four slots were available.

    In echoing Keith's comment about the "strength" of the California region this year, it did seem pretty clear on paper at the end of summer that California had two Top 5 nationally-type boys teams and one such girls team, then seemingly somewhat notable gaps to the rest. Those three aforementioned teams showed as well as expected. Davis, which improved considerably during the course of the year at the #4 and #5 scoring positions (awesome to see), pushed its way into the national super-elite in the process.
    "Cross-country is an individual sport. Succeeding in cross-country is a team sport!"

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