Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekly Rant - NXN-NW Race Divisions

So, I was taking another look at the NXN Northwest results today, and it reminded me of just how ridiculously overcrowded that Open Varsity race was (about 300 athletes signed up; 257 crossed the finish. Multiple kids that didn't sprint to the front at the start were telling me the race felt more like a fartlek workout than a race as they sprinted past runners whenever there was an opening, but there was always another wall they couldn't get passed, and they were completely recovered very shortly after finishing compared to being barely able to move after the race at state).

So, I got to thinking, what could be done to (hopefully) avoid such situations in the future?

1. Balance out the Championship and Open race so that approximately half of the teams are in one, and half of the teams are in the other. Last year, that would have been 18 teams in the Championship and 17 in the Varsity Open (and with 16 teams in the Championship race, that race would certainly NOT have been too crowded! It was fairly thin throughout parts of the field, which means you could certainly add another 14 runners to the field without any semblance of an issue)

2. Don't allow 'B' teams in the Open race. This would accomplish three things: further thin out the Varsity races so that neither field gets overcrowded; add significant competition to the JV race, making it more exciting and challenging; establish a JV Team scoring (a JV Championship!) that actually mattered (not Team X's 'B' team narrowly outscores Team Y's 'C' team")

3. If the races need to be spread out further, separate large schools from small schools in the Varsity/Open race and separate Frosh/Soph from Juniors/Seniors in the JV race.

Eventually, the fields might start to look something more like this:

Championship Race - 175-225 athletes, 17-23 teams
Open Race - 175-225 athletes, 17-23 teams
JV Race - 175-225 athletes, 17-23 teams
Frosh/Soph Race - 100-150 athletes (mostly JV, but maybe some varsity caliber frosh/soph would run this if they didn't have a team to run with in the Championship - or maybe even Open Varsity - race, and maybe more kids would sign up in the first place to see how they compare to other kids of their age)

FYI, if we (probably incorrectly) assumed that no difference would be made in order of finish/time if kids were in one race versus another, this would have been the scores for the races last year... not including any unattached runners that would have been moved to another race:

1. North Central WA 58
2. Kamiakin WA 116
3. Summit OR 160
4. Seattle Prep WA 169
5. Jesuit OR 179
6. Siuslaw OR 192
7. Nathan Hale WA 195
8. Central Valley WA 209
9. Gig Harbor WA 229
10. Eisenhower WA 244
11. Central Catholic OR 252
12. Hermiston OR 277
13. South Eugene OR 282
14. Bozeman MT 311 -- Open Race Champion, Montana 2A State Champion...
15. Rocky Mountain ID 325
16. Eastlake WA 405 -- Open Race third place; Washington 4A State Top-10
17. Lincoln OR 443
18. Star Valley WY 443

Open Race:
1. Redmond WA 70
2. Bainbridge WA 96
3. Westview OR 121
4. Lake City ID 168
5. Mountain View ID 193
6. Deer Park WA 207
7. Sequim WA 230
8. Jackson Hole WY 252
9. Skyline ID? 252
10. Bishop Kelly ID 257
11. Borah ID 264
12. Kingston WA 301
13. Victory Charter ID? 334
14. Centennial ID? 335
15. Vallivue ID 364
16. Kimberly ID 406
17. Baker OR 458

JV Race:
1. North Central WA 73 -- Open#6
2. Jesuit OR 74
3. Eisenhower WA 89 -- Open#9
4. Rocky Mountain ID 109 -- Open#8
5. Central Catholic OR 118 -- Open#10
6. Kamiakin WA 148
7. Eastlake WA 158
8. South Eugene OR 244
9. Middleton ID? 244
10. Mountain View ID 321
11. Boise ID 325
12. Capital ID 331
13. Bozeman MT 334
14. Hellgate MT 337
15. Lincoln OR 358
16. Star Valley WY 432
17. Evanston WY? 510