Citrus Valley sophomore Claire Graves, above, talks about how she and her cross country got the final spot into CIF-SS Division 2 Finals, but it would not have been under a different tiebreaker
It has not been as much of an issue before, but it certainly is now. In cross country, every division (boys and girls) required a tiebreaker to decide the final spot from CIF-SS Prelims to CIF-SS Finals.
A brief explanation: The number of prelims heats, 2, 3 or 4, depends on the number of automatic entries for prelims. From those heats, there are 16 teams that qualify for CIF-SS Finals.
In years past, many divisions had either 2 or 4 heats, which made it easy to have top eight in each heat in two-heat division and top four in each heat for four-heat divisions.
In the instances where there were three heats the top five in those heats would advance automatically, and the final qualifier would be the sixth-place team with the best team time.
This year, with the realignment of the divisions, every division had three heats and requires a tiebreaker. And that’s how Citrus Valley girls advanced to CIF-SS Finals, but it’s not necessarily the best way.
An alternative tiebreaker, that I heard from Rich Gonzalez of PrepCalTrack.com, is to take the times (down to the fractions) of runners from the top six teams in each heat, merge them together and re-score. The best score among those sixth-place teams would advance. Rich Gonzalez reports that he did that in Citrus Valley’s division and Newport Harbor would’ve been the team advancing instead.