What is Cross Country

Cross country is a simple sport.

Everyone starts at the same time, from the same place, and heads toward the same finish line. The runners who cross the finish line first are the winners and the teams with the most runners across the finish line first are the winning teams. That's all there is to it. No ball-handling skills are needed and there are no politics. It's a great way to get in shape for other sports and meet some of the nicest people. Everyone knows what it takes to participate in this sport, and there is high mutual respect among runners from all teams.

That said, here is how cross country is scored. There are between 5 and 7 runners on a varsity cross country squad. How can this be? Is it 5 or is it 7? Like golf, the low score wins. As each runner crosses the finish line, their team's score goes up by their finish place. Once the first 5 runners from a team finish, no more points are accumulated for that team. If a team has a full complement of 7 runners, the finish positions of the 6th and 7th finishers will increase the other teams' finish positions. Since the low score wins the meet, these two runners push the score up for the other team(s). The 6th and 7th finishers are thus called "pushers." If a team has more than seven runners entered, the finish positions of any runners over the seventh finisher are not used.

When we have meets with another school we don't limit the team size to 7 runners but we only consider the first 7 runners from each team in the score. Many of the invitational meets are individual grade-level match-ups and are not scored. Others have Frosh/Soph, JV and races by school size.

Conference, League, and Divisions
Coronado is part of the City Conference that's composed of the Western, Eastern, and City leagues. This year we are in the Eastern league with Clairemont, Crawford, High Tech High (SD), La Jolla, OLP/Saints, and San Diego. We don't compete against schools in the other two city leagues, but we all use the same course at Morley Field.
There are 5 CIF divisions based on school size that have nothing to do with the league structure. Division 1 schools are the largest; Division 5 the smallest. Of the schools in our league, we are in Division 4 along with La Jolla, HTHSD, Crawford, and Clairemont. OLP and Saints are in Division 3. San Diego is in Division 1. Most of the invites have divisions for their meets that have nothing to do with the actual CIF division structure. However since they seem to insist on calling these arbitrary divisions D-1 and D-2 it's sometimes confusing.

Because Cross Country is an endurance sport, and our competition starts the same week that school begins, runners are encouraged to begin a summer training program as soon as possible. We'll be meeting throughout the summer, so you should get on our mailing list. During the first month of our season, we'll attend several Invitational meets for those runners who have been training and are ready to compete. Beginning with our first league cluster on 28 September through 2 November, we'll be in the league season. After the league finals on 2 November, we'll take up to the top 7 boys and the top 7 girls to the CIF championships at Morley Field on 12 November.

Tentative Cross Country Meet Schedule
It's a bit early to nail down the dates for several of these meets.

19 Aug: Vaquero Stampede El Capitan (tentative)
TBD: Wolf Pack Invite (Santee)
TBD: Cumming/Latham Invite (Rohr Park, Chula Vista)
TBD: Mt. Carmel Invite at Morley Field
28 Sep: First League Cluster meet at Morley Field
5 Oct: Second League Cluster meet at Morley Field
12 Oct: Third League Cluster meet at Morley Field
TBD (tentative) Jaguar Invite at Kit Carson Park or Mt SAC
26 Oct: Fourth League Cluster meet at Morley Field
2 Nov: League Finals at Morley Field
11 Nov: CIF Finals at Morley Field (top 7 max)
25 Nov: State meet, Fresno Woodward Park
              Must qualify for out of CIF Finals.

Here's a closer look at the meets we'll attend.
20 Aug: Vaquero Invite (Tentative)

This meet has traditionally been the season opener for many SD section schools. Typically it's run on a fast course around Lindo Lake, but because of a construction project to beautify Lindo Lake, it will be at El Capitan HS this season. Since it's an early meet, all races are only 2 miles long with Frosh/Soph and Jr/Sr divisions.

25 Aug: Wolf Pack Invite
The Wolf Pack Invite at West Hills HS is another short course early-season meet. There are eight divisions based on grade-level and gender. Ninth-grade boys and all girls run 1.5 miles. Sophomore, Junior, and Senior boys run 2.1 miles.

9 Sept: Ian Cumming / Tim Latham Invite
For decades there were two very similar meets at about the same time at Rohr Park. One was hosted by the Sweetwater coach Tim Latham, the other by the Otay Ranch Coach Ian Cumming. Now, they've both retired, and the events have merged into a single meet.
For the boys, there are races for Frosh/Soph and JV at 2.5 miles and a varsity division at 5000 meters. There is a JV division at 2 miles and a varsity division at 2.5 miles for the girls.

17 Sept: Mt. Carmel Invite at Morley Field
Mount Carmel is our most prominent local race, with entries coming from all over California and out of state. There are two divisions by school size for all grade levels. Boys run 2.95 miles, girls run 2.75 miles. The big difference between the boys' and the girls' race is the boys run up the Upas street "killer hill" twice, the girls once. Around 90 percent of the course is over the Footlocker National Championships course.

Eastern League Meets
From 28 September to 2 November we have a league meet every Wednesday except for our bye on 19 September. More about that later. The first and third clusters on 28 September and 12 October are scoring meets where we'll be scored against three of the other schools. The other two on 5 October and 26 October are non-scoring. The finals on 2 November will be run like an invitational with all teams scored against all others. The course used at Morley Field for all the City Conference meets is 3.11 miles long. Here's a map.

The Bye Week and Mt. SAC
The bye week for all teams is purposely scheduled to coincide with the Mt. SAC (Mount San Antonio College) meet in Walnut California. Mt. SAC is the largest cross country meet in the world. All schools in California are divided into five divisions with D-1 being the largest schools and D-5, the smallest; we're in division 4. Division 3, 4, and 5 schools will be run on Friday, October 21st. Division 1 and 2 schools run on Saturday, October 22nd. At this point in time, I don't know if we'll take anyone. Another option for that week would be the Jaguar Invite at Kit Carson Park.

11 Nov: CIF Finals
The CIF Finals will be the final meet of the season unless we advance to the state meet. To Advance to the State Finals as a team, we would have to place among the top three teams for our division. An individual can also advance if he finishes among the top five runners on a team that is not advancing and is among the top 12 finishers in the race.