Different format would’ve kept Citrus Valley girls cross country from CIF-SS Finals

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.

Citrus Valley football will be considered for at-large CIF-SS playoff berth

Yucaipa went into Friday’s regular season finale looking like a good shot to grab the CIF-SS Inland Division’s one at-large playoff berth.
All Yucaipa needed to do was to beat Redlands.
But, things didn’t go according to plan and Yucaipa lost to Redlands, creating a three-way tie for fourth with Citrus Valley, Yucaipa and Redlands. While fourth place in an eight-team does not get an automatic berth into the playoffs anymore, the tie did need to be broken in order for one of the teams to be considered for the at-large berth.
And it was Citrus Valley that won the coin flip. That leaves the Blackhawks (4-6) likely vying with Hemet (6-4) from the Mountain Pass League and Temescal Canyon (3-7) of the Sunbelt League for the division’s lone at-large berth.
We will know early on Sunday morning which team made it in, and then later on Sunday the playoff draws will be announced.
Who will get it? I don’t know for sure. On the surface, you would think Hemet based on overall record.
But, there are other factors.
Here is the at-large criteria from the football playoff bulletin:

Criteria utilized by the At-Large Selection Committee:
(a) Head-to-head competition of teams under consideration (4 points)
(b) Overall strength of the league from which the team is entered (1 point)
(c) Overall win-loss record (1 point)
(d) Strength against common opponents (1 point)
(e) Strength of schedule (2 points, using overall win-loss record of opponents)
(f) Free lance teams will be part of the pool for the filling of at-large berths

Head-to-head competition? There was none.
Common opponents? I think Temescal Canyon and Hemet shared one, and both teams lost to Temecula Valley.
Strength of league? The Citrus Belt is considered the strongest league in the division, so Citrus Valley would have the advantage there.
Strength of opponents? That advantage goes to Temescal Canyon. Record of TC’s opponents are 61-39, Citrus Valley’s are 56-44 and Hemet’s are 44-56.
So, with strength of schedule weighing more (two points) than other criteria, the pick could be Temescal Canyon.