high school track and field | Running is not as simple as it seems | Page 2
The Illinois State Cross Country Championship Continues To Impress Nov 5, 3A Boys Results Merge From Illinois XC State Meet!. The result is a sense of excitement and urgency to see what this group first cross country NCAA Championships appearance .. Was part of the 4xm state champion relay team in Finished runner-up at the . Majoring in kinesiology with plans to attend physical therapy school after graduating. We have had enough success as a team in track and cross country that we But a look at the 2A results and a quick calculation suggests that we could have . up the 3A cross country trophy at the IHSA championship meet. The assessment of our assistant coach and physical therapy student Ike.
The conclusion I reached then continues to hold. In conversations with my athletes, they have told me that they prefer to compete in the 3A large-school division of the IHSA against the best competition in the state. Inespecially, we showed that we are able to do so. At the state track meet in May, we scored 28 points to finish fourth in the 3A meet. Most of our points came from one athlete, our double state champion Jack Keelan, who won the and meter runs.
In 2A we might have scored points in eight additional individual events, and in two more relays. That kind of success would arguably have made us an even more storied team. Fourth place in the state meet did not give us a trophy. Second place in 2A would have given us one. The multiplier has recently been a topic on Dyestat. At a sectional seed meeting, according to Geiger, a 2A coach for a team with a multiplier waiver talked about keeping kids out of the meet to avoid scoring points that might earn the team a spot next year in the 3A series.
Under the complicated rules of the multiplier, if you finish in the top three spots at the sectional meet as a team for two years out of six, you lose the waiver—and you might bump up in class. We have won two sectionals, and I think we have finished in the top three of every sectional meet since I started as coach ten years ago.
After our sectional win this year, we are automatically multiplied for the next five years. Andrew Adelmann, track and cross country coach at Jones College Prep, recently wrote a blog post about the multiplier on the Dyestatil. The gist of his argument was that it is unfair to apply the same 1.
City magnet schools, after all, are not un-boundaried schools, he noted; they enroll students from the city of Chicago, and they do so under a set of admissions rules that are very strict. Jones is in a particularly problematic position with regard to the multiplier. They are a successful program—especially in cross country, where they were the 2A boys state champions in They were successful as a track program for a few years competing as a 2A school in sectional meets; they had two top-three team scores in the last three years, which means they are multiplied for three more years.
The Jones enrollment is aboutwhich multiplies to For cross country, they are a 2A school, with the cut-off above But for track, the 2A cut-off is just above ; Jones was 3A for track this year, and they will be 3A for next year, as well. I consider Adelmann a coaching friend. In his blog he has essentially accepted the basic argument in favor of the multiplier from the public schools around the state, which is that Catholic schools, in particular, have advantages in terms of recruiting athletes.
Adelmann posted his blog on a track and field web site—and, in addition to being professional friends, we are also the Catholic school that is his closest rival. He seemed to be talking about us. The common argument that Adelmann seems to accept so quickly—Catholic schools have recruiting advantages—actually seems to ignore some pretty basic real world issues for families and adolescents that come up when students consider whether to attend our school.
We have demanding admissions standards; only about half the 1, students who apply get an acceptance. We have strict rules about financial aid procedures, which are need-based; parents have to submit documented financial information in order to apply for aid. Contrary to popular belief, apparently, there are no athletic scholarships. This includes, among other things, going to church as a school several times a year, saying a school prayer daily, and taking four years of religion classes.
The students who attend Saint Ignatius choose to accept these things; many other adolescent students would not—and do not. Finally, there are issues with attending school at a distance from your home—including commuting and managing city and suburban transportation to Saint Ignatius by bus, train, and car.
Many of our students commute for an hour or more—each way. It is also not a small thing to leave friends behind at home, especially when those friends will go on to the hometown local high school together—and you will be going to another one in the city, perhaps on your own. Approximately a fifth of the students who get accepted to attend Saint Ignatius choose instead to attend another high school—usually a local public high school, or, in the city, one of the magnet schools like Jones College Prep.
I did not seek out these boys to invite or encourage them to attend Saint Ignatius because of athletic ability. They are boys who apparently had an interest in our school—and who then identified themselves to me because of their interest in running.
Because they wanted to attend our school and they had questions about our track and cross country programs, they wanted me to know about their special talents as runners.
Boys Cross Country
One boy I met once for a short conversation after he ran the elementary school race we host in conjunction with our Connelly-Polka Cross Country Invite; it is an event that we actually co-host with Fenwick. I think we also briefly met in the hallway passing period on his shadow day at Saint Ignatius; he was not even escorted that day by a runner from our team. The boy, his father, and I shared a few emails, providing information about our program.
Mid-May I got the surprising news that he would be attending one of the strong magnet high schools in the city next year. And apparently no one told him that he had to do so. In fact, the corrected results were never actually posted on the wall. But the scores were announced and the state finals parking passes and information had been distributed to the qualifying teams and individuals by 1: The Maine South boys were still sitting quietly along the wall at that point.
The first race of the 2A Nazareth sectional was about to get underway. I have not confirmed this, but it seems likely that Campbell and Drennan were working as the officials for this sectional, as well. Most of the people attached to the 3A sectional cleared out. It was a tough situation, it would seem, and everyone wanted it to be over. They could not protest the judgment call of an official; they did not have a clear misapplication of the rules.
They had not filed a written protest with the games committee. According to the IHSA, they had no protest, in other words. But over the next couple days a segment of what is apparently the official finish line video found its way to Youtube.
A link to the video appeared on the Tracktalk. Posters sympathetic to the Maine South team saw what Nordahl saw. But they also saw something else. There was a second disputable finish at the 29th and 30th positions. Beltran, who passed five runners in the last meters of the race, would catch Vaccaro at the the line. Photos of a portion of that remarkable finish were featured on another web site blog, CPSFan.
There was no photo of Beltran passing the last runner right at the finish line, Jon Vaccaro of Maine South. But, in fact, this was the close finish line decision which determined the outcome of the meet for these two teams on the bubble. The Youtube video suggested that the torso finish between Vaccaro and Beltran was much closer than the one-tenth of a second margin recorded by the timing system which placed Beltran ahead of Vaccaro using the chips on their feet.
It is also significant for what it does not record. With Omar still collapsed in the middle of the finish area on the chip timing mats, the video shows Vaccaro slow down right before the finish line. Perhaps he was preparing to avoid Omar. Perhaps he thought the digital time clock in front of the finish line was the finish. But as Vaccaro slows, Beltran charges, calculating a course to the finish, then correcting it, and then darting past Vaccaro and around Omar.
Vaccaro is upright; Beltran has a bit of a lean. Frame by frame, the video from the angle it has been shot is finally inconclusive about which runner finishes in 29th place with his torso crossing the line. Viewers of the video from Maine South, of course, give the nod to Vaccaro. Calling the finish between Beltran and Vaccaro a tie, however, would have sent both teams to Peoria.
If the video is inconclusive, why not call it a tie? I have emailed the IHSA to ask the simple question: Did he make a call?
I have not received any response.
Boys Cross Country | IHSA Sports & Activities
Did the IHSA officials ever review the video of the finish line? Whatever call Campbell did make at the finish line, the logistics of the chip-timed finish area would have depended upon his memory of doing so.
There does not appear to be any recorded evidence—on paper or on video—of what Campbell decided at that finish. He clearly remembered to correct the Omar finish. Perhaps we are asking the IHSA officials who work as finish judges in a chip-timed race to look at the feet and look at the torso simultaneously in order to make a judgment that the chip timed results will likely match the torso results.
Maybe this is what Campbell did as Vaccaro and Beltran finished, and he judged Beltran as the 29th finisher and evaluated the chip timing system would place him that way. But is this something that is really humanly possible, even by the most experienced official who has worked on such a finish line before? At Niles West there appears to have been no clear procedure, other than reliance on the memory of the official, for checking any judgment based upon the torso finish against the chip-timed results.
This is an unfair and untenable situation in which to place an official. Here is where, I think, we could begin a case for Maine South based upon a misapplication of the rule book. The first issue is whether there should have been a video review of the Niles West finish—for Omar, or for the Vaccaro-Beltran finish, or for all the finishes. For the state meet, the video review of the finish is an important part of determining the final results: At the state final meet, computer scoring will be used.
The RFID computer tags will be attached one onto each shoe by using twist ties. Essentially the chip is used as a timing device and the torso will be used for scoring NFHS Video review will be used to assist in scoring the meet. The video review guidelines for the regional and sectional meets are different: Video Replay and Television Monitoring Equipment: Use of video replay or television monitoring equipment other than the official equipment approved by the IHSA meet manager shall not be used to make decisions related to the meet.
Only IHSA state meet officials, including the games committee when called upon by the meet referee to do sowill have the authority to review official video results. Video review is not to be used as a primary method of determining the outcome of the race at the regional and sectional level of competition. Regional and Sectional Managers must provide some means of video review to use when the meet referee feels it is appropriate to review the results. Elaborate, multi-camera systems are not necessary.
A single, well positioned camera should be satisfactory. But it is my guess is that the specific wording about the video review of the torso finish at the state meet is based upon the anticipated use of a chip timing system; it specifically mentions a timing system that puts chips on both shoes and makes the point that scoring should be based on the torso finish, not the chip finish. Indeed various requirements at the state meet—wearing the number so high that it covers the team names on jerseys, for example—seem to have been implemented just to help with the video review of the torso finish.
There seems to be no such anticipation of chip timing at the regional or sectional levels. But at Niles West, the finish line was set up in the same way that the finish area is set up at the state meet—two chips on the shoes, an open finish area where runners simply cross the mats and then move out of the finish area, with no other recording of the finish other than the chip scoring.
The NFHS rule book description of finish line procedures and personnel under Rule 9, section 4, does not seem to have been written to cover this kind of chip timed finish recording system. The rule book allows chip timing to determine the order of finish, not the torso, when chips are worn on both feet Rule 9, Section 3, Article 3.
A finish line for a torso finish, it would seem to me, would therefore be required to follow the rule book guidelines for finish line procedures. The NFHS rules outline a finish chute with an array of workers—chute director, finish judges, chute umpires, caller, checkers, and timers. At the finish, it says, there should be multiple checkers noting the order of the runners.
Results are finally accepted when at least two checkers compare their recorded orders of finish and reach agreement, and if there is no agreement, the meet referee makes a final decision about which recorded order is more accurate.
It seems clear that the principle involved is that there should be multiple attempts to capture the order of the finish based upon the decision of finish judges as in more than one judgein part so that the meet officials can compare and check on the accuracy of the finish results.
At Niles West there was no finish chute that puts the runners in order after a finish judge makes a call at the finish line. But there was, of course, the video tape of the finish.
State Series Information & Results
The video, in other words, would be the check system—a second recorded finish order as seemingly mandated by the rule book. And so in the absence of any other check system, it should have been required that the meet officials check the video—just as it seems to be required at the state meet. In fact, as noted by another Tracktalk. To be fair, the reported time for the two girls was identical, but that is because the printed report only goes to two decimal places.
I think the computer actually registers more decimal places and uses those additional places to assign the places to the runners. When I do that job, I call out the order of the close finishes as I judge them on the line. Then I look for the next finishers. As the IHSA official watches the finish line at a chip timed race without a chute, as at the Niles West meet, no one is putting the runners in order; no one is recording the correct order of finishers as determined by the finish judge.
The finish judge, once again, is apparently supposed to remember the calls that he makes. In the case of the Omar finish, the IHSA finish judge and official Ron Campbell apparently remembered that particular finish and corrected the results.
But a system that depends upon the memory of an official seems problematic to me, especially when the rule book seems to require two recorders to keep track of those finish judgments. An official, of course, is only human.
And it seems possible, finally, that Campbell missed or forgot to remember the close finish at 29 and 30 involving Beltran and Vaccaro. Unless, once again, the back-up recorder was the video recording of the finish, which the officials apparently did not consult at Niles West.
And if the video is supposed to record finish judgments, the IHSA official at the finish line needs to be performing for that camera, so to speak, calling out those finishes. In retrospect, Maine South finally might have had a case for a misapplication of the rulebook because the open chip timing finish line at Niles West did not have a system for recording and checking on the torso finishes of the runners.
The video that was recorded was inadequate for that task. Moreover, there was no chute keeping the finishers in order, and no other recording of the finish order. As the IHSA cross country advisory board prepares to meet, the Maine South case at Niles West seems to raise a whole lot of problems that need to be addressed when it comes to using chip timing at the sectional and even the regional meets.