XC Qualifying System Still Makes NO Sense

The NCAA took the logical step of making meets in September actually count, but the way any regular-season meet counts toward qualifying for the NCAA Division I cross country championship continues to be very dumb.

Quick reminder: The way that Division I cross country handles at-large qualifyication for championship is ridiculous. The first teams out at regional meets are selected based on regular-season wins over teams that have already qualified (here is an explainer I wrote on the "Kolas points" system two years ago). But a win only counts as a win if the team that lost ran at least four of what will end up being its top seven runners at regionals--i.e., the winning team only gets a point if the team it beat ran its "A team."

​Fake example: ​

Albion beats Gettysburg at the Messiah Invite in October, where Gettysburg ran exactly three of its eventual top seven; Gettysburg wins its region in November; if Gettysburg ran one more of its top seven at Messiah, Albion would have had one more point.​

​Real example​:

No. 4 Arkansas held out projected No. 1 runner Jack Bruce, No. 3 Andrew Ronoh, and No. 5 Austen Dalquist today at the Battle in Beantown (they're fine, and may have done a workout post-race). Unranked Dartmouth and Providence beat the Razorbacks as a result, and may end up with an extremely generous Kolas point in November now. Projected No. 2 Frankline Tonui and No. 4 Alex George lined up and George won. So if two more Arkansas men who started today make the regional lineup, then today's Arkansas team counts as an "A team." Arkansas will almost certainly automatically qualify out of its region; if today was an A team, and Arkansas automatically qualifies, then Dartmouth and Providence will get a point.

The Division I qualifying system is silly and bad. Don't blame Arkansas, Providence, or Dartmouth.

Five Burning Questions For The 2019 World Cross Country Championships


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

The 43rd edition of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships is this Saturday, March 30, in Aarhus, Denmark. A hilly and eclectic 10,000m course awaits the senior men and women, and below I’ve tried my best to answer five of the most pressing questions entering this weekend’s championship races.

Holloway Debuts, Kenny B's Back, Another ASU Star Thrower Emerges

It’s still the early days of the outdoor season, with athletes regrouping from the indoors and slowly trickling into the spring season. This weekend’s action was light, especially compared to next weekend’s trifecta of big meets at Stanford, Florida and Texas, but there were some notable results.

Talented ADP Squad Likes World XC Medal Chances On Tough Aarhus Course


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

When Shadrack Kipchirchir lines up for the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships on March 30 in Aarhus, Denmark, the 30-year-old American is hoping for the nastiest weather that the Danish city can provide.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Here's Why USATF Honoring World Rankings Would Be A Disaster

Earlier this week we published an opinion stating why it is a good thing for USATF to use time standards as the only means to guarantee a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. Our main reason was based on the fact that the new world rankings are unfair, but more importantly, the world rankings make the selection process even worse.

CAS Delays Semenya Decision Until Late April

The Court of Arbitration for Sport announced on Thursday that they will push back a ruling in the case involving Caster Semenya until late April. 

House Of Run: Everything To Be Excited About In The Outdoor Season

Jason and Kevin discuss the 42 most interesting storylines heading into the outdoor season. How healthy is Wayde Van Niekerk? Who will be the top women's 1500m runner? Can the Jamaican men win a sprint medal? What will Eliud Kipchoge do for an encore? Will this be the year of the 400m hurdles?

The Best Track And Field Athlete From Every NCAA Tournament School

The 2019 NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament begins this week, and in honor of March Madness we’ve selected the best track and field athlete— past or present— from each of the tournament’s 68 schools (minus Old Dominion, who does not have a track team; get a track team Old Dominion). Some of the names below are NCAA track and field legends from major programs. Others on this list never even qualified for the NCAA Championships. The 68 here ran the gamut, from Olympic heroes to mere school record holders.

Why LetsRun Is Wrong & USATF Is Right About Olympic Qualifying

Last week, the IAAF announced its new qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games, which included tougher entry standards and new computerized world rankings. The reaction was intense as some media outlets painted an apocalyptic worldview for U.S. athletics. In reality, it’s not that dramatic.

Cal Coach Tony Sandoval To Retire

Tony Sandoval, the director of track and field and cross country at Cal, will retire at the conclusion of the outdoor season. Sandoval spent 37 years at the university, beginning as the head women’s coach in 1982. 

Six Reasons We're Looking Forward To The NCAA Outdoor Track Season

As exciting as 200-meter ovals and banked curves are, we’re ready for the unpredictable weather, sprint relays and 10K races of spring track season. Here’s a few reasons to get excited for NCAA outdoor track and field.