The Competitive Season - Cross Country 2017

We compete in the following types of meets:
What do we mean by the "competitive season?"  After all, in the middle school and developmental meets we compete against other teams and athletes.

We refer to the series of USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympic meets as the competitive season.  There are prerequisites and qualifying standards (described below.)

In the competitive season the "pressure" increases a bit, but not too much.

Remember that athletes are not required to compete, though we encourage them to do so!

  • The USA Track and Field (USATF) Junior Olympic series has prerequisites and qualifying standards.
    • Our Development and Middle School Meets are separate from the USATF meets; there is no relationship between Developmental, Middle School and USATF.
  • Unless otherwise noted, the Alpha Crush team registration fee covers the cost of membership fees and meet entry fees (but not travel expenses, massages or snacks.)
  • Alpha Crush does all the administrative work regarding USATF memberships and meet entries.
  • Parents are responsible for:
  • The dates, locations and information about each meet can be found on each meet's information page on this web site.
Commitment to participate
  • This applies to the USATF Developmental, Association, Region and National meets.
  • Since cross country is a team sport and is scored as such, it is important for Alpha Crush to field as many teams in each age division as possible. Per USATF Rule 304.5, a team can be composed of from 5 to a maximum of 8 members. We can have up to 8 athletes on a team with an unlimited number of teams (Team A, Team B, etc); but, we need a minimum of 5 to form a team in an age division. Teams A/B/C/etc are defined at meet *entry* time, not by the order of finish in the event. If you are declared at meet entry time as a Team C member and you finish before all Team A and Team B members, you still score for Team C. We form teams in each age division based on performance in prior meets, time trials and observation at practice. We put the faster athletes on team A, the next fastest on team B, etc.
  • If you say "yes" on our meet entry form, we expect you to compete. If you're the 5th athlete on a 5-person team and you do not show up, you eliminate the entire team from team competition.
    • Of course, we understand if unforeseen circumstances prevent you from competing.
  • If we do not have enough athletes (5) to form a team within an age division, each athlete still runs, they just do not score team points. They are still eligible for individual award medals.
What is the "Declaration Roster"
  • Athletes from a club entered into the Association Championships into comprise the roster of athletes eligible to compete on the club's team (minimum of 5, maximum of 8) in the Association championships as well as the Region and National Championships.  This is known as the declaration roster.
  • Just because you are a member of Alpha Crush Running Club does not make you eligible to compete. The "roster" of athletes kept on a piece of paper, in a spreadsheet, in a Coach's head are used for club administrative purposes, but not for team advancement in USATF competition. 
  • A paid entry into the Association Championships is required to be on the declaration roster for Region and National competition.
  • You do not have to compete in the Association championships to be eligible to compete in the Region and National competition.
  • Of course, the rules about individual advancement and team advancement still apply.
A note about USATF "individual advancement"
The term "Advancement" applies to USATF Association and USATF Region meets.
  • In USATF competition, athletes that finish in, for example, the Top 30 in a given age division advance to the next round of competition. This is known as "individual advancement."
  • Regardless of how the team places, individuals who qualify can advance to the next round.
A note about USATF "team advancement"
The term "Advancement" applies to USATF Association and USATF Region meets.

In each age division we can have up to 8 athletes on a team with an unlimited number of teams, e.g team A, B, C, etc.  Only the top 5 runners on a team are scored.  The scoring is based on the order they finish.  The finishing place for the 5 finishers are totaled and the team with the lowest score wins.

The number of teams that advance to the next round is meet-dependent (see details below.)

When it comes time in the next round to determine the makeup of the team, we can choose any 8 athletes from the same age division on the declaration roster.  
  • It does not have to be the same runners who ran previously. 
  • Even if only 5 athletes run in previous meet, up to 8 can be selected for subsequent meet.  
  • An athlete can be on Team C in the qualifying meet and on Team A in the subsequent meet.  
  • Performance in previous meets (how fast they run) typically determines team placement in subsequent meets.  
  • The athlete must have been entered in the previous meet to be eligible to compete in the next round of competition.  Even if they don't compete, they must be entered and paid in
  • If we had two teams entered in a particular age division, we can advance up to 16 athletes.  
  • However, if you are advancing due to qualification as a team, and not as an individual, to compete in the next round you must be part of a 5-8 person team.  Suppose we had two teams qualify, but only 10 athletes are able to attend the next meet.  Sure, we could make two teams of 5 runners each, but that would be too risky, since if one runner drops out or can't compete, the team would not have the required minimum runners.  What we would do, instead, is create an 8 person team with the fastest runners and the remaining 2 would not be able to compete.
An athlete can compete in the Region championships as a team member (not as an individual) even if they do not compete in the Association championships provided they were declared (i.e. "entered") into the Association meet. This means the athlete would need to have a paid entry in the Association championships to be eligible to compete in the Region championships as a team member. Athletes cannot compete as an individual in the Region championships if they did not compete in the Association championships.  This same "Association to Region" pattern applies to the "Region to National" championships.

A note about "individual advancement" in conjunction with "team advancement"
  • To recap, individual qualifiers are always eligible to compete in the next round of competition and for every team that qualifies, any 8 athletes from the declaration roster can be selected to fill the team for the next round of competition.
  • Example: Assume we have 5 individual qualifiers and a 1st place team in a round of competition
  • Strategy 1 - Build the fastest possible team
    • In this strategy, for the next round, we fill the 8 person team with the fastest athletes in the club for that age division. Typically, we start with the individual qualifiers and use declaration roster athletes as needed.
    • Any individual qualifiers that are "left over" run as individuals in the next round
    • Using this strategy, 8 athletes would compete in the next round.
      • The team would be comprised of the 5 individual qualifiers plus 3 from the declaration roster
  • Strategy 2 - Send as many athletes as possible
    • In this strategy, for the next round, we fill the 8 person team with as many athletes as we can who did not qualify as individuals
    • All individual qualifiers would run as individuals in the next round
    • Using this strategy, 13 athletes would compete in the next round.
      • We would select 8 athletes from the declaration roster that did not qualify individually; they would run as Team A
      • We would enter the remaining 5 individual qualifiers.
      • These remaining 5 would need to be entered as two Teams, B & C, with, for example, 3 on Team B and 2 on Team C.  Since we only qualified to have one team and because 5 athletes comprise a team, we would not be able to place 5 on Team B, as that would be against the rules and affect scoring. By placing the 5 athletes on two teams, they would run as individuals, which is allowed.
USATF Rules of Interest
USATF Rule 7.9(b) Team Scoring
  • Ties between two or more teams shall be resolved in favor of the team whose last scoring member finishes nearer to first place. [This means our 5th scorer breaks the tie.]
USATF Rule 306.3(c)
  • All members of the same club listed on the team declaration roster [in] at the Association finals are eligible to compete on the club's team (minimum of 5, maximum of 8) in the next round of Qualifications up to and including the National Championships as long as the team qualifies. 
  • In order to declare a team, a club must enter a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 athletes by the entry deadline. 
  • The composition of the team at each round can change if you submit a change form at the registration at packet pickup at least 2 hours prior to the race and any athlete changed must be listed on the declaration roster [in].
  1. The jersey or singlet worn by the members of a team in cross country shall be basically identical for each member in color and style, and must be clearly visible throughout the race, i.e., worn as the outer garment if other apparel items are worn underneath by one or more team members. Because of the nature of cross country running, the preferences of individual athletes in certain weather situations will allow other apparel items to vary widely without penalty.
  2. Individuals not complying with paragraph 1 may be disqualified from scoring for a team.
Note: Do not confuse Rule 255 [Cross Country] with Rule 302.3(d) [Track]:
Track Relays: All participants shall wear a top of the same color. At Regional and National Championships, all participants shall wear a top of a same color as well as shorts of a same color. The Games Committee shall assign an individual to review colors of team uniforms in the clerking area. 

Competitive Meets / Qualifying Standards

USATF GA Association Junior Olympic Cross Country Preview
  • When: October 28th, Inman Elementary School, Fayetteville, GA
  • Requirement: None, open to all.  USATF membership not needed.
  • Qualifying standards: No qualification needed, no qualifying times needed.
USATF GA Association Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships
  • When: November 11th, Heritage Christian Church, Fayetteville, GA
  • Requirement: USATF age-verified membership.
  • Qualifying standards: No qualification needed, no qualifying times needed.
The following USATF meets have qualifying standards for entry per USATF Rule 306.3.

USATF Region 4 Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships
  • When: November 18th, Heritage Christian Church, Fayetteville, GA
  • Top 45 individuals and top 7 teams advance from Association Championships
  • Per USATF Rule 306.3(a), these numbers may be adjusted by the Association chair and Regional coordinator respectively for the purpose of accommodating their local situations.
    • In 2017, these advancement numbers were increased from 30 to 45 individuals and from 5 to 7 teams.
USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships
  • When: December 9th, Apalachee Regional Park, Tallahassee, FL
  • Top 30 individuals and top 5 teams advance from Region Championships per USATF Rule 306.3(d).
  • Per USATF Rule 306.3(e), the number of qualifiers from Regional meets is fixed and no alternates may advance.