How to score a cross country race

There are several ways to score cross country races. For races between two schools, dual meet scoring is usually used. For larger races where several teams are competing against one another, Invite scoring is used. Both of these methods rely on the finish order only. A third method is occasionally used based on adding the finishers' times. In any case, a specified number of finishers figure in the scoring.

Dual Meet Scoring
A high school cross country team consists of seven runners, with the finish positions of the first five runners from each team added up for the score with the lowest score winning. Although the 6th and 7th finishers aren't tallied, if a 6th or 7th place runner finishers in front of the 5th runner from the opposing team, the opponent's score will be higher (pushed back) because of the occupied finish position(s). These two finishers are called "pushers." In close races, they often determine the winner. If two teams are tied after the top five from each team are added, the team with the highest placing finish position of their 6th finisher is the winner. If only one team has a 6th finisher, then that team wins. If neither team has a 6th finisher, the finish positions of the top 4 from each team are used to break the tie. Some larger schools have a varsity race with seven from each team competing and a JV race with no limit to the number of runners allowed. The JV race is scored by throwing out the finish positions of all finishers past the 7th from each team. Most schools will either run everyone together or allow more in the Varsity (up to 10, for example) but score only the top 7 from each team. With dual meet scoring a team can "lock" the race by finishing their top three in front of all the finishers from the opposing team. Even if the opposing team placed all seven of its finishers in front of their fourth finisher, they'd still win by 29-30.
Here's how that looks.
4+5+6+7+8 =30 (9 and 10 are pushers)

Invitational (Invite) Scoring
The only difference between dual meet scoring and Invite scoring is the number of schools involved. Again, there are five scorers and two pushers. Because of the additional schools involved, a team can't lock the race with a 1-2-3 finish. Because of this, there are teams with three strong finishers and slower 4th through 7th runners that do very well in dual meets, but not invites.

Cluster meets
Our league runs all the schools together as a cluster meet, but with dual meet scoring. Each dual-meet matchup will be extracted from the overall results as if the other teams were not in the race. The exception may be the league finals where we'll probably use Invite Scoring.