Here are links for Chad's proposal. If you have constructive questions or comments about this proposal please chime in here.Proposal LinkGraph of Extra QualifiersPercent of Scoring Runners
Coach Marks - I greatly appreciate your ideas and concern over the current sectional assignments. I can also empathize because 10 years ago I was also concerned and frustrated with the sectional situation. Wisco is in the same D2 sectional with Port Washington and Shorewood and there was a stretch of several years that all 3 teams were ranked in the top 3-5 going into the Sectional Meet. For a few years, we finished 3rd at Sectionals with no chance to run for a State trophy. It just didn't make sense to me when the WIAA could have done a simple switch, such as move Port north to a different sectional. All 3 programs and coaches talked about this and we raised our concern to the XC advisory board and to the WIAA. Nothing was ever changed.
Sorry for my cynicism but I don't think sectional assignments are going to get changed and improved by the WIAA until a larger group of coaches is convinced that something needs to be changed. Outside of a few programs, like Verona currently, probably care very little to fight for a sectional assignment change. The traditionally strong programs that make it to State year after year won't be that vested in fighting for change. There are many many programs that never make it to State that probably won't fight that hard for change. Those programs in an easier sectional aren't going to want to see sectional assignments change.
My suggestion would be to figure out what programs and coaches would want to fight for this change and have them promote their idea to the WCCCA and the coaching community in their area. A few programs that come to mind would be Verona, Milwaukee King, Homestead, Port Washington, Menomonee Falls, and Marquette.
What other XC programs across all 3 divisions would be willing to fight for this sectional assignment change?
One last view on this 29% plan is that for sure no matter what your sectional those in the loaded sectionals will be at a much greater disadvantage in accomplishing the 29% with their 5 runners than someone in a weaker sectional so as in this years teams there were extra teams making it to state but they were not always the ones that should have. I would much rather put my fate in 4 unbiased coaches that have already qualified to pick as best they could 4 wildcards(not extra teams)
Randy - Keep in mind that there are numerous coaches that do not have access to track talk and can't use that as a site for discussion, result seeking, etc.
@Marty Bushland I agree that our result page now is not very good. I go to track talk, athletic.net, and pt timing to get most of my info.
Another big problem we have in our association was coined by a fellow coach that he heard said about us. I can't repeat or even give an acronym for it but it wasn't good. About the only good thing we have accomplished as an association to improve cross country is the 10 medals and going back to the indoor awards. We fought over the 5K move and waited until the WIAA shoved it down our throats and now we see that it improved the sport and gave us equity that we should have seen long ago. I can almost guarantee that if this association gets behind something totally that we can accomplish many more improvements in our sport. We, like the law makers in our country and state have factions that fight for their own sometimes selfish and petty ideas and never get anything positive done as a result. I know if I was 20 years younger I would run for president(of our association) and try hard to pull everyone together but my time is past to do that and must trust that younger coaches will see what is best for the kids in our sport. First and foremost get rid of the idea that prevails today of giving away rewards to those who don't earn them. Like being forced to give someone who hasn't earned it an A in a class. The association can accomplish a lot by working together if not we will remain the butt of jokes compared to the other associations.
Marty - I haven't been told no in the conversations I have been a part of since making this public two years ago. Jim Newman is willing to do what the WIAA and the association decides together should be contested at the state meet.
Did we ever hear back from the WIAA if they would allow MORE teams to advance to state as extra qualifiers? Again, in the past, I have been told we need to work with the 52 teams we currently get per gender, but could split them up in any format we agreed on...so even when four divisions was being discussed, we would still need to stay with the same number of total qualifying teams as we currently have even if we voted to go to four or five divisions.
Thanks for all the feedback everyone. Conversations are great to have!
I want to encourage everyone to be sure and look across all divisions and genders when voting for items when they are on the table. If coaches only focus on their division or the gender they coach, is that the healthiest point of view for the entire sport of cross country?
Randy - voting is open if you haven't voted yet. Bryon emailed all coaches several months ago. I do think there will be another push in the coming weeks to get people to vote. Whether people like something or dislike it, we need to vote. If we don't vote, our voices will never be heard at the top level of the WIAA. That I know for sure.
If you want to see this be implemented on a two-year trial, vote yes.
If you don't want to see this implemented in a two-year trial, vote no.
Either way....please vote!
I could almost guarantee that if the association got behind a workable plan with at least 80% of the membership supporting it we could get some positive changes made. I have seen over the years that complaining about inequities in the sectionals has produced results. Strange how suddenly this year Muskego girls were removed from that loaded sectional and sent south which was a good move. Why does it take phone calls or complaints to make things happen that should already be obvious to the people in charge of CC at the WIAA and they could make the changes to make the state meet the premier CC event of the Wisconsin High School CC season. For example in the move of Muskego girls to Kenosha now you have another top 10 team that won't get knocked out of the state meet needlessly in the other sectional and you remove a team that is nowhere near as good as Waukesha West or Arrowhead girls.
Chad just because I disagree with your proposal I applaud your passion and attempt at resolving this mess. It is just that your system would only work if each of the sectionals were reasonably balanced in the talent pool. Many are not so obviously it is much easier to achieve your 29% rule in a weak sectional than it would be in a loaded sectional. For example using your 29% rule the 24th place at Kenosha ran 17:46 whereas the 24 place at the Madison West invitational ran 17:16. We do know that different course have different difficulties but in this case have seen times from both courses during the season they are pretty similar. So the 29% set us up with the same problem if I take my team to Kenosha and run the same times from West we place our 5th man about 18th which easily falls within the 29% at Kenosha but not at West. The 29% just does not give a good indicator of a teams quality. I think KIT ran well enough to deserve a trip to state in some other sectionals as well but putting in the third place team here is definitely not correct even the second place team would not have made it out of any other sectional except maybe Manitowoc.
The fundamental flaw with CC Sectionals is the lack of balance between them in the number of complete teams, total runners, and depth of quality runners. D2 Girls had the largest disparity with the Wisco Sectional only having SEVEN complete teams and 57 finishers in comparison to FIVE other D2 sectionals that had 14 or 15 complete teams and 95-103 finishers on the girls side!?!? So,7 vs. 15, and 57 vs. 103...that simply should never be allowed to happen.
Even D1 had a sectional with only EIGHT complete teams and 61 finishers whereas 12/84 should be the norm...
Then you have some sectionals with five ranked teams and neighboring sectionals with one or less ranked teams. So...the luck or unluckiness of your sectional placement may be a greater factor on qualifying for state than the health, and quality of your team...
With the dumping of 40ish small former D2 teams in to D3 appears to have helped offset some of the big disparities that have existed in the past, but 11 vs. 17 and 92 vs. 123 still did occur! Looking at comparing divisions you have 7 vs 17 and two teams make it out of each, and then the next five best runners not on those teams would mean FIVE out a field of 43 vs. Five out of a field of 109...shocking that this has been allowed to continue to happen!
As Randy mentioned, with the use of some ranking data, AND factual data on the incomplete, weak, average, and good to highly ranked teams - we certainly should be able come up with much better balanced sectionals, and THEN a system like what Chad has worked on would have much more merit.
Can the D1 coaches explain why they are not pushing for combining sectionals? 8-12 teams seems like such a small meet, especially when you have 20 in the State Field. If Eight D3 schools were able to host sectionals with 20-22 starting boxes, I would think finding Five sectional sites for D1 that could handle 20-24 teams wouldn't be an issue.
Let's hope Chad's plan and the current unbalanced set up of sectionals sparks some positive discussion and workable solutions that can be sold to the powers that be at the WIAA!
I think by looking at the xtra qualifiers for D1 which is where we are we see an obvious monstrous flaw in this system. The system does not taken into consideration the major flaw of the sectional alignments -the imbalance of power in some of the sectionals. The most rather hilarious situation this year is that in probably the weakest sectional there is an extra qualifying team Badger just because they were in a sectional where only 1 runner broke 17 minutes and most ran times that would not have been in the top 25% of almost all the sectionals. Sun Praire the other possible extra qualifier was a solid team but lost to Madison Memorial and Verona in their conference meet.
Verona beat West Allis Hale by over 100 points at Wisco and beat Kenosha Indian trail by 60 and now your system allows a team that Kenosha IT beat to advance to state while Whitefish Bay, Verona, Madison Memorial, Marshfield and probably Kimberly as well could easily beat KIT, Hale, Westosha, and West Bend West which Verona beat by over 100 points at Lourdes. This system will get more teams to state but many times it's just more teams that shouldn't be there. I feel the WIAA will not allow more than 20 teams and I happen to agree with them on this as the course is overloaded right now. This system will NOT resolve the problems. - I would not vote to have this system. I was suspicious of it before and now I see it's potential of getting more to state without solving the embedded problem. I would rather see 8 sectionals qualifying 2 and then have a committee pick four wild cards. Using the rankings and head to heads any good playground director could pick those teams. Who would they be this year- Madison Memorial, Kimberly, Verona, and Whitefish Bay with Marshfield right in there as well. Those who disagree with me let me know what teams you would pick. All four of these teams were ranked in the top 15 in the state during this season and proved themselves. Everyone one of these teams were in sectionals with at least 3 highly ranked teams with Verona and Madison Memorial being in the sectional with 5 teams that were ranked or had been. #2, #5, #12, #15 and Sauk Prairie that had been ranked as high as 18th. We need to do a better job of seeding the sectionals while keeping a reasonable geographic representation or go back to 8 sectionals and pick 4 wildcards. Football coaches seed their own sectionals, tennis coaches seed their sectional. Our ranking now are pretty darn close and could now easily be used to pick wildcards. I am not in favor of this new plan. It is too complicated and it does not get enough of the best teams to state. You are for sure leaving at least 20-25% of the top 15 teams in the state at home this year and it's not because they weren't good enough it's because the system isn't good enough and is letting kids down that achieved a certain level of excellence. I am not sure the WIAA is trying to encourage that with this broken system.
I have updated the link that says "Proposal Link" with the 2019 sectional results. Feel free to click on it and see how things shook down this year based on the 29% of the field proposal.
As a reminder, it is based on team finishers, not total finishers. As it is a extra team qualifier proposal, it wouldn't make sense to include incomplete runners in the calculation.
See you at the Ridges!
Here's a good one Eric. The reduction of sectionals would save the WIAA money. Knock out 12 sectionals would save them quite a bit. D1 20 schools D2 16 D3
I think Eric's idea has quite a bit of merit as well and that would keep the total teams at a manageable 20. Go back to the 8 sectionals and after the 16 pick 4 wildcards. A system to pick the wildcards would be the rub. Rankings- the 29% rule?
Also by having the number of teams qualifying to state out of a sectional based on the number of ranked teams in the sectional would force the WIAA to spread the ranked teams around as best as they can and still keep the regional representation since one team from each sectional is guaranteed to qualify to state. How tough can that be? A good playground director or someone at the YMCA could do better than what we have now.
I would like to thank Chad for the massive effort he has put in on this and at least it has brought the problem to the WIAA's attention and it appears they are trying to make some improvements. I agree that anything is better than the thoughtless merely expedient system they have now. My one objection is that in a very weak sectional it will be much easier to get 5 runners in the top 29% and then you just have another even weaker team making it to state. Is there a limit on the extra qualifying teams. The WIAA will not want to many teams. My feeling is that if there is a sectional with no ranked teams then that sectional would be allowed only 1 qualifying team not two. If the sectional has 3 ranked teams then they get 3 qualifying teams which may or may not be the 3 ranked teams as they still have to earn those 3 spots. I personally think 20 teams is enough for that course. There is absolutely no reason to have 2 teams ranked in the top 5 in the same sectional. (Neenah-Spash boys 2018, Middleton-Madison West boys 2018) A third place in those sectionals could probably easily beat champions of at least 4 other sectionals. To qualify when you have the top two teams in the state in your sectional will still be much tougher to get your top 5 in the top 29% than if that same 3rd place team was down in Kenosha or South Milwaukee.
So here is an angle that I haven't heard discussed with this sectional proposal:
Would coaches be willing (especially in Div. 1) to see the automatic qualifying teams be reduced to 16 and then add extra qualifiers, based upon the plan?
I understand that it took some work to convince the WIAA to add teams to the State Meet but I know that there are some coaches that believe we "water-downed" the field by adding more teams. I don't remember all of the arguments that went into adding more teams to the State Meet, but I'm guessing it was based upon qualifying numbers in other sports.
But an argument could be made that an extra qualifying team in Chad's proposal may be a more competitive team at the State Meet.
I am not going to say anything you don't already know...
I think we need to look at this and any other proposal under the lens of does it make things better than they currently are. There are lots of ideas out there, many of which I have started. One of the real positives of this plan is that it doesn't change or take something away from anyone. It is designed to give teams who currently don't have a chance to qualify (3rd place teams) an opportunity. It is not perfect. Chad has acknowledged that from the beginning. Kent's data shows that, more times than not, 3rd place teams from "tougher" sectionals get a chance. That is the complaint we have often heard with our current system and the problem Chad has tried to address from the beginning.
This plan can definitely make things better.
This does not mean that other ideas cannot also make things better, but this is the one that has the most legs right now. My feeling is that we should continue to look at and propose lots of possible improvements. It gets tiresome watching other sports get ideas approved at the WIAA level while we struggle to even put things in front of them. I guess that is discussion for another forum...
Thanks for the questions Mark and Craig. This was created by Kent Miehe and was shared at the WISCTA clinic last Friday as part of our discussion. He created a way to find out (other than using state rankings) to see if there is a method to determine what is a "strong" sectional. Here is the information for people to take a look at: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1xgWKnlpLX0Dbyeda7wrBV7mboiwkKBBaISCi9obRtHI/edit?usp=sharing
I think that might help address some of your questions. If not, I'l be back to check for responses.